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Proverbs chapter 9

New American Standard Bible

1Wisdom has built her house, She has carved out her seven pillars; 2She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; She has also set her table; 3She has sent out her attendants, she calls out From the tops of the heights of the city: 4'Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!' To him who lacks understanding she says, 5'Come, eat of my food And drink of the wine I have mixed. 6 Abandon your foolishness and live, And proceed in the way of understanding.' 7One who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And one who rebukes a wicked person gets insults for himself. 8Do not rebuke a scoffer, or he will hate you; Rebuke a wise person and he will love you. 9Give instruction to a wise person and he will become still wiser; Teach a righteous person and he will increase his insight. 10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you. 12If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you alone will suffer from it. 13 A woman of foolishness is boisterous, She has a lack of understanding and knows nothing. 14She sits at the doorway of her house, On a seat by the high places of the city, 15Calling to those who pass by, Who are going straight on their paths: 16'Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,' And to him who lacks understanding she says, 17'Stolen water is sweet; And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.' 18But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Proverbs chapter 9 mean?

Chapter 9 further highlights the distinction between godly wisdom and worldly foolishness. This returns to prior depictions of wisdom as a woman calling to be heard (Proverbs 8:1–4), and a seductive, sinful woman seeking gullible people as her prey (Proverbs 7:7–27). The chapter can be divided into three sections, each with six verses. The first continues to depict Lady Wisdom, the second contrasts the responses mankind has to wisdom, and the last section presents Folly as an inverted version of Wisdom herself.

After depicting Wisdom in detail in chapter 8, Solomon describes her as preparing a large home and a grand feast. The invitation Wisdom offers is for those who lack sense to improve, by obeying God and seeking truth. Those who accept Wisdom's invitation put themselves on a path to life and success. As with other proverbs, this is an expression of common sense, not an overly literal guarantee. Those who pursue truth and godliness are more likely to thrive and less likely to suffer consequences (Proverbs 9:1–6).

The middle portion of the chapter notes the different reactions mankind has to godly wisdom. Those who sincerely seek truth respond to correction with humility and love. They apply the lessons of wisdom to make themselves wiser. In contrast, those who are arrogant will sneer at godliness, and react with hatred and insults to those who correct them. This passage repeats the fundamental idea that true wisdom can only begin when a person properly respects and reveres God (Proverbs 9:7–12).

The chapter ends by describing a twisted mirror image of Wisdom. This woman, Folly, also invites others to join her. Rather than encouraging godliness, Folly lies and says that illicit pleasures are better than God's creations. Those who fall for her seduction fail to see that her path leads to death (Proverbs 9:13–18).

This concludes Solomon's overall praise of wisdom, begun in the later verses of chapter 1. After this, the book of Proverbs records many of the individual statements of wisdom made by Solomon. Each of these is a proverb in and of itself. Most of the rest of the book of Proverbs is a collection of these discrete, common sense generalities.
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