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Proverbs 9

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 8, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom.

Wisdom is not about knowing facts.

Wisdom is about knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is knowing when to do it.
Wisdom is knowing how to do it.

Solomon has tried to help us understand this concept of wisdom by “giving it a face” so to speak.

He has described wisdom as if it were a person, a woman.

Though Wisdom isn’t actually a person, it is an attribute of God.

We got to know Lady Wisdom last week as this one who gives guidance to princes, and helped God with the creation of the world.

Now the scene switches back to a man on a road with choices before him.

On one hand, it could be like a man making a choice between two temples – the Temple of Wisdom, or the Temple of Folly.
Both women have locations at the “highest places”, where Temples were often located.
I kind of like the idea of a choice between two restaurants – The Wisdom House Restaurant, and Folly’s Burgers.

The first nine chapters of Proverbs are small “mini-lectures” that Solomon gives to his son.

Video:  The Bible Project – Proverbs Introduction

9:1-12 The Wisdom House

:1 Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars;

:1 She has hewn out her seven pillars

There are lots of ideas about these seven pillars.

Since Solomon is using metaphorical language in the first place (calling wisdom a “woman”), it’s possible there is some significance to these seven pillars.

In my studying, I found at least ten different ideas including things like “the liberal arts”, “seven sacraments”, “seven heavens”, and “perfection”.

I wonder if it simply means it’s a big house.

There is room for lots of diners in this restaurant.  If you want to eat there, you will get a table without a three hour wait.

Here are some of the ideas:

It could simply mean this is a “spacious” house – room for lots of folks.
Sennacherib, king of the Assyrians had a seven-pillared house for the Assyrian new-year festival.
Some suggest the pillars represent the seven “liberal arts”.
In other words, if you want wisdom, get an education.
Though to be honest, there’s quite the dispute over whether there three, four, or seven “liberal arts” (stuff like arithmetic, geometry, grammar, etc.)
Though that’s a pretty subjective thing since some think there are three liberal arts (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectics), others think there are four (Music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy).
Some suggest it’s talking about seven church eras, others the seven sacraments (both which are quite subjective).
The Midrash (ancient Jewish commentaries) suggests it either means the “seven heavens” or the “seven climates or parts of the earth”.
Some suggest that since in that day they only were aware of five planets, it’s the known planets plus the sun and the moon.
Others suggest it alludes to all of creation, which was done in seven days.
This could hint at the structure of the universe.
Some suggest that since “seven is often seen as the number of “perfection” (God created in seven days), that this is the “perfect house”.
Perhaps the idea is that wisdom comes from perfection.
I’m really not sure what to think.  Maybe it’s just a big house.
The Menorah has seven lamps on it.
An interesting suggestion is the seven fold aspect of the Spirit of God described by Isaiah:
(Isaiah 11:2 NKJV) The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

:2 She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table.

slaughteredtabach – to slaughter, slay, butcher, kill ruthlessly

meattebach – slaughter, slaughtering, animal

mixedmacak – to mix, mingle, produce by mixing

furnished‘arak – to arrange, set or put or lay in order, set in array, prepare, order, ordain, handle, furnish, esteem, equal, direct, compare

:2 She has slaughtered her meat

Wisdom has prepared the meal with fresh meat.

She has the drinks ready to go.

She has set the table for the guests.

Sounds like the restaurant is open for business.

When you make a choice of following wisdom in life, you are going to a feast.

:3 She has sent out her maidens, She cries out from the highest places of the city,

highest placesmarowm – height, elevation, elevated place

:4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,

simplepethiy – simple, foolish, open-minded

lackschacer – in need of, lacking, needy, in want of

understandingleb – inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

:5 “Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed.

:6 Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.

foolishnesspethiy – simple, foolish, open-minded

:5 Come, eat of my bread

This is the opening of a restaurant designed for those who lack wisdom.

If you are “simple” and realize you have a lot to learn, there is a kind of “hunger” in your life.


What are you hungry for?

Sometimes when it gets close to dinner, Deb and I will look at each other and ask, “Where should we eat tonight?”  We’re really asking each other what we’re “hungry for”.
Do we want pizza? Burgers? Sushi? Nah, never sushi.
I think that sometimes our greatest problem is recognizing the true needs in our life.
We know we’re hungry, but for what?
Some people are hungry for a sense of self-worth
They wonder whether anyone could ever truly love them.
They continually do things to make themselves feel better about themselves.
They will do things they don’t really want to do, but do it in order to get other people to accept them.
Some folks have an inner pain inside.
They’ve been hurt before.
They’ve been betrayed before.
People who ought to have loved them turned their back and rejected them.
Some folks are filled with a fear of the future.
They are always waiting for that “last shoe to drop”.
They see difficult things happening all around them and are afraid they’re next.
They might have some physical ailments, but they’re afraid of going to the doctor for fear of what they might hear.
What makes it worse for some of us is that we don’t even realize that some of these things are underneath the surface of our lives, and they affect our decisions on a regular basis.

:7 “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.

correctsyacar – to chasten, discipline, instruct, admonish

scofferluwts – to scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly

shameqalown – shame, disgrace, dishonor, ignominy

:7 He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself

Pay attention to the relationship between correction and wisdom.


After graduating from grad school, my first full time job was working as a teller trainee at the Bank of Newport.
I remember one busy Friday afternoon sitting at my teller desk, and waiting on the next person in line
A young gal with an attitude sits at my desk. She wanted to cash a rather large check, something larger than my limit, and I would need a supervisor’s approval to cash it.
The check was probably legitimate, but back in those days one of the ways we would determine whether or not to cash a check was by looking at the person’s bank record to make sure they could give us our money back in case the check bounced.  The gal’s account wasn’t in good shape, in fact she was overdrawn.
It took me awhile before I got final word from my supervisor regarding the cashing of this check.
In the meantime, with a long line of people waiting to be helped, this gal was taking our trademark Bank of Newport balloons (meant for real kids), blowing them up one by one and filling my desk full of balloons.
By the time I got back to my desk and told her we couldn’t cash her check, she let loose with a tongue lashing of me, ridiculing me, calling me an idiot, and on and on.  Boy did I wish I could have disappeared.

Sometimes a “scoffer” needs to be corrected, but don’t be surprised when they work at turning things back on you and making it your fault.

Solomon’s point is really not about correcting the scoffer, but whether or not YOU are the scoffer.

When someone corrects you, do you try to turn it around and say something mean to them?

:8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

:8 Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you



One of the factors that decide whether you are going to gain anything from wisdom or not is whether you are teachable.
How do you respond when someone points out that you made a mistake?  Do you get offended?  Do you pay attention?

Do you blow up balloons?

Itching Ears
Paul warned Timothy:
(2 Timothy 4:3–4 NKJV) —3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

Some people don’t want to hear the truth.

They have “itching ears” because they only want to hear what they WANT to hear.


It’s like your choice of news channels.

Some people make a conscious choice to watch or not watch a certain news channel based on whether they are going to tell them what they want to hear.

People with a conservative point of view tend to watch Fox News.

Those with a liberal slant will watch the other networks.

People will do the same thing when it comes to issues of morality, right and wrong.

You can find teachers, counsellors, and even preachers who will tell you just about whatever you want to hear.

Sometimes people are asking, what’s the actual truth?

Video:  OneTimeBlind – Red Balloon

Gaining Wisdom is like learning Karate from a Sensei.

Video: Karate Kid – Wax On, Wax Off

Just like Daniel-son, you may not understand everything that Wisdom is trying to teach you at the moment, but you still need to learn the principles.

For example, Wisdom says,

(Proverbs 10:19 NKJV) In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

You may not understand now why it’s important to restrain your words, but you need to learn to do it.

What if the “truth” makes you uncomfortable?


Let’s say that you and your family are watching TV in your living room in the evening, and I am walking by your house.  I notice smoke billowing out of one of the upper story bedrooms, and then see the entire upper floor burst into flames.

I knock on your front door.  You answer the door.  I say to you, “You need to get out of your house because it’s on fire!”  You tell me, “I’m busy watching TV” and then shut the door in my face.  I pound on the door.  You tell me through the door to leave you alone.  I finally decide to break down your front door and run into your living room to warn the family that the house is on fire.  You threaten to call the police on me for disturbing your family time together.

This is one of the reasons why Christians feel compelled to share the gospel.  Your house is on fire.

How do you respond to truth?

Will you love and embrace the truth, or shut the door in its face?

One of the most common things Jesus said was,

(Mark 4:9 NKJV) …“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Jesus also promised that if you pay attention to what He’s trying to tell you, you’ll get more from Him.

(Mark 4:24–25 NKJV) —24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

We’ve already seen this several times in the book of Proverbs.

You can get the idea that anyone, believe or non-believer, can follow the advice given in Proverbs and find a better life.

There is some truth to that, but it’s not completely true.

The truth is that wisdom starts with a relationship with God.

:11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you.

:11 your days will be multiplied

Following wisdom doesn’t guarantee a long life, but you will definitely live a longer life than you would without wisdom.

:12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

:12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself

(Proverbs 9:12 NLT) If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

Though others will benefit if I make wise choices, Wisdom’s point is that my decisions will ultimately impact me.
If I make wise choices, that’s good for me.
If I make stupid choices, I’m only hurting myself.

:6 go in the way of understanding


A Taste of Wisdom

I want to give you a taste of what it’s like to dine at the Wisdom House Restaurant.
Rick Rigsby has a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.  He was a college professor at Texas A&M University for two decades.
Listen to him describe how he learned wisdom.
Video:  The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout – Rick Rigsby

9:13-18 Folly’s Burgers

As we’ve seen over the last few chapters, Wisdom isn’t the only woman out in the streets inviting simple people to dinner.

Folly’s Burgers has some five dollar off coupons to entice you for a visit.

You may be attracted to the gal out front, don’t forget who’s doing the cooking in the back.

:13 A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing.

foolishkeciyluwth – foolishness, stupidity

The trait of acting stupidly or rashly.

clamoroushamah – to murmur, growl, roar, cry aloud, mourn, rage, sound, make noise, tumult, be clamorous, be disquieted, be loud, be moved, be troubled, be in an uproar

To become loud and animated in speech and manner.

She wants attention.  She makes noise.

simplepethayuwth – simplicity, naivete

:13 A foolish woman is clamorous

The idea is that this woman of “folly” is noisy.

Just because a person makes a lot of noise, does things to get your attention, or has a lot to say, doesn’t make them the person to follow.

Sometimes the wisest person is the person who says very little.

:14 For she sits at the door of her house, On a seat by the highest places of the city,

highest placesmarowm – height, elevation, elevated place

:15 To call to those who pass by, Who go straight on their way:

:16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”; And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,

simplepethiy – simple, foolish, open-minded

:16 Whoever is simple, let him turn in here

Both women make their offers to the “simple”.

When you realize that you are “simple” and lacking wisdom, you will find that there are two choices out there vying for your attention.
For some of us, that’s good news because we’ve started to think that there are only “foolish” choices for us to choose from.
Perhaps we need to open up our eyes or our ears to realize that Wisdom is also calling out for us to make right choices.
For some of us, that’s no help because we are already aware there are two choices.  The issue for us is how to make the right choice and follow through.

:17 “Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

:17 Stolen water is sweet

Stolenganab – to steal, steal away, carry away

watermayim – water, waters

sweetmathaq – to be or become sweet or pleasing

This verse is going to give us two characteristics of “Folly”.


Folly: Shortcuts

You may be faced with the opportunity to take a “shortcut”, cheat, or steal something to get ahead.
Stolen water seems “sweet” because it’s the easy way.

Sometimes the “easy” way is not the wisest way.

While “Folly” may be talking about stealing actual water (Israel is a land where water is critical and not always available), Solomon has already used water as a metaphor for sex.
(Proverbs 5:15 NLT) Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife.

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to sex.  Don’t cheat yourself by having sex before you’re married.  Don’t cheat yourself by having sex with anyone other than your spouse.

:17 bread eaten in secret is pleasant

secretcether – covering, shelter, hiding place, secrecy

pleasantna’em – to be pleasant, be beautiful, be sweet, be delightful, be lovely

The second characteristic of “Folly” is…


Folly: Secrets

Folly says:  Everything is going to be just fine as long as you keep this secret.
The problem is that bad things live in the dark world of secrets.

Shame lives where secrets are kept.

Slavery to sin thrives when things are kept secret.

It’s when we learn to open up and take our secrets out into the light that the true evil of our situation can be dealt with.
You may be ashamed of bringing your secret out in the open, but confession is the only way to find forgiveness.

(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

You may not want to face the consequences of your sin, but until you learn to bring it out into the open and ask for help, it will keep you in enslaved to it.

(James 5:16 NKJV) Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

:18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.

the deadrapha’ – ghosts of the dead, shades, spirits

guestsqara’ – to call, call out, recite, read, cry out, proclaim

depths‘ameq – deep, unfathomable

hellshe’owl – sheol, underworld, grave, hell, pit

:18 her guests are in the depths of hell


Eternal consequences

Don’t think that the choice between wisdom and folly is only about living “better”.
It’s about eternity
Choose wisely in life because your eternity is at stake.
Earlier, Wisdom said,
(Proverbs 9:11 NKJV) For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you.

I didn’t quite give you the full picture of what Wisdom was saying.

When you truly pay attention to the Wisdom of God, you will find eternal life.

We know from the New Testament that eternal life is found in one place and one place only.
Jesus said,

(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

We’ve talked the last few weeks about the choices we make, the “paths” we choose.

Jesus is THE path.  He’s the way.

John the apostle wrote,

(1 John 5:11–13 NKJV) —11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

God wants you to escape the “depths of hell”.

God wants you to know you have eternal life.

That life is found in Jesus.