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Proverbs 7-9 Listen
Stay away from that loose woman (Proverbs 7)
1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
This chapter starts out with a strong admonition to keep the commandments of these words. Notice the poetic, yet intense way this admonition is made in verse 2, "Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye." The Hebrew word for "apple" here is a reference to the pupil of one's eye. That's how focused one is to be on the words being imparted here. Verse 3 emphasizes the same degree of focus when it says, "Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart." It appears that Solomon may have been alluding to Deuteronomy 6:8 (see notes) with that verse, "And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes." That verse, by the way, is part of the passage that forms what is called the Jewish "Shema." The Shema is an integral part of the observant Jew's life.
So what is this principle that Solomon is so adamant about passing on? Here it is: Stay away from the loose woman. We see in verse 19 that he is referring to a woman who prowls the streets while her husband is out of town. She entices men to commit adultery with her. Solomon even explains her system of enticement in this writing from having viewed her tactics from his window. Whoa! Solomon really had a good view of the street from his house!
It is interesting that her tactics are quite deceptive to the foolish man as "she caught him, and kissed him" in verse 13. But then in verse 14 she informs him that she has just come from the temple where she has made her peace offerings according to Leviticus 7:11-36 (see notes). And when you're returning from having made a peace offering, you are going to have some pretty nice cuts of meat with you. Hmmm...an evening of fine food and romance with a gal who's just made her peace offerings before God. One big problem though that the foolish young man is willing to overlook at this point - she's married and cheating on her husband!
Finally, in the strongest words Solomon could muster up, he warns of the consequences when one succumbs to her enticements in verse 26-27, "For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death."
Wisdom is personified (Proverbs 8)
1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.
20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:
21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.
36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
This is an interesting chapter where wisdom takes on the personal attributes...well, really...of God. That's similar to Proverbs 1:24-33 (see notes) where wisdom was there, also, personified. As a matter of fact, as you read this chapter you may forget that God is not being described here, but rather personified wisdom. So, keep in mind here as you read, this is wisdom talking - not God. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word for wisdom used in this chapter is "chokmah," a noun in the feminine gender. Great lessons are contained, but you must understand that the pronoun "I" used refers to a personified wisdom and is not a reference to God himself.
With all of that being said, let's look at a few oft-misunderstood verses in Proverbs 8:
A call to wise living (Proverbs 9:1-6)
1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.
3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
Here again wisdom is personified in the feminine gender. Wisdom is seen here as one calling men to follow her (wisdom) while forsaking foolishness.
How about that scorner! (Proverbs 9:7-12)
7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.
8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.
Can you correct a scorner? Solomon seems to indicate that you shouldn't waste your time doing so. Why?
Here's what the Hebrew dictionary, Brown, Driver & Briggs says about this word, "scorner" (Hebrew: "letz")
The scorner is proud and haughty, delights in scorning, is incapable of discipline, reproof, or rebuke, cannot find wisdom; is an abomination, should be avoided; smitten and punished for the benefit of the simple and banished for the removal of contention; judgment is prepared for him; wine is a scorner.
An important New Testament principle is reinforced in these verses. A scorner is the equivalent of one who is without a relationship with God - a lost person. You do no service to one who is without Christ by correcting his actions of conduct. Those actions are just symptoms of being immune to the influence of God. The first step is to win that person to Christ as we see in verse 10, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:" Only when a person has developed a father/son relationship with God does rebuke over lifestyle issues take hold.
How about foolishness (Proverbs 9:13-18)
13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.
14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,
15 To call passengers who go right on their ways:
16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
Just as this chapter started out with a female personification of wisdom, these last 6 verses of the chapter do the same thing with foolishness. While it appears to be a reference to a woman who is foolish, the Hebrew structure used here is probably best understood to be foolishness personified as a woman - a pretty bold woman whose influence can wipe you out. To recap: Solomon personifies wisdom as a woman in verses 1-6 and does the same with foolishness in verses 13-18.