Proverbs 9:1
Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
IX.

(o). Fifteenth Discourse: the Invitations of Wisdom and Folly (Proverbs 9).

(1) Wisdom hath builded her house—i.e., in preparation for the feast to which she is about to invite her guests. It is not an unusual custom in the Old Testament to describe intimate communion with God, and the refreshment which the soul of man thereby receives, under the figure of a festival. Thus in Exodus 24:11, when the elders of Israel were admitted to the vision of the Almighty, they “did eat and drink.” The same idea occurs frequently in the prophets also (as Isaiah 25:6; Isaiah 65:13; Zephaniah 1:7-8); and is brought out in the New Testament with great fulness in the parables of the great supper (Luke 14) and the marriage of the king’s son (Matthew 22). Christ, the supreme Wisdom, has “builded His house” by taking man’s flesh at His Incarnation, and thus rearing for Himself a “temple of the Holy Ghost” (John 2:19); and also by building for Himself a “spiritual house” (1Peter 2:5), “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” (1Timothy 3:15). (For references to the Fathers, see Bishop Wordsworth.) In the previous chapter Christ’s work as Creator was described; now He is set forth as Regenerator of mankind.

She hath hewn out her seven pillars.—Suggestive of the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2 Revelation 1:4), typified by the seven-branched candlestick of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:37).

Proverbs 9:1. Wisdom, &c. — Wisdom here, under a most splendid allegory, is represented “as a queen, sitting in her royal palace, and inviting mortals to a banquet, plentifully furnished with the richest dainties, that they may be fed with celestial delights for a blessed immortality. Various have been the endeavours of commentators to apply every circumstance in this description; but it has been well observed, that whoever would do so, will find themselves in a great error, and quite ignorant of the nature of parabolical writings; for parables may be compared to history paintings, which are intended to convey a general idea, which is to be gathered from the collective body of images, not from any particular figure; the minute circumstances are to be considered only as heightenings of the piece; but the conclusion or general maxim is to be drawn from the scope and assemblage of the whole:” see Schultens and Dodd. Hath builded her house — For the reception and entertainment of her guests; she hath hewn out her seven pillars — That is, many pillars, the number seven being put for any perfect number. Hereby the beauty and stability of the building are signified. Or, perhaps, it is to be understood of the erection of a portico, in which the banquet was to be prepared. This house is opposed to the harlot’s house, mentioned Proverbs 7:8, and was considered by many of the ancient fathers, as it has also been by many modern commentators, as representing the church, which Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, hath erected and established in the world, which is termed God’s house, (1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:3-4,) in which the prophets, apostles, and ministers of religion are pillars, (Galatians 2:9,) and in which a feast of fat things is provided for all that will partake of it: see Isaiah 25:6, and especially the parables, Matthew 22:1-14, and Luke 14:16-24, which greatly illustrate this allegory of Solomon.9:1-12 Christ has prepared ordinances to which his people are admitted, and by which nourishment is given here to those that believe in him, as well as mansions in heaven hereafter. The ministers of the gospel go forth to invite the guests. The call is general, and shuts out none that do not shut out themselves. Our Saviour came, not to call the righteous, but sinners; not the wise in their own eyes, who say they see. We must keep from the company and foolish pleasures of the ungodly, or we never can enjoy the pleasures of a holy life. It is vain to seek the company of wicked men in the hope of doing them good; we are far more likely to be corrupted by them. It is not enough to forsake the foolish, we must join those that walk in wisdom. There is no true wisdom but in the way of religion, no true life but in the end of that way. Here is the happiness of those that embrace it. A man cannot be profitable to God; it is for our own good. Observe the shame and ruin of those who slight it. God is not the Author of sin: and Satan can only tempt, he cannot force. Thou shalt bear the loss of that which thou scornest: it will add to thy condemnation.A parable full of beauty, and interesting in its parallelism to the parables of our Lord Matthew 22:3-4; Luke 14:16.

Seven pillars - The number is chosen as indicating completeness and perfection. God revealing Himself in nature, resting in His work, entering into covenant with human beings - these were the ideas conveyed by it.

CHAPTER 9

Pr 9:1-18. The commendation of wisdom is continued, under the figure of a liberal host, and its provisions under that of a feast (compare Lu 14:16-24). The character of those who are invited is followed by a contrasted description of the rejectors of good counsel; and with the invitations of wisdom are contrasted the allurement of the wicked woman.

1. house—(compare Pr 8:34).

her—or, "its" (the house).

seven pillars—the number seven for many, or a sufficiency (Pr 6:31).Wisdom’s call to her people unto blessed communion and fellowship with herself, set out under a similitude of making a feast, Proverbs 9:1. Her preparation, Proverbs 9:2, and invitation, Proverbs 9:3-5. She dehorteth from evil company, Proverbs 9:6. Her counsel concerning reproof and instruction, Proverbs 9:7-9. A description of the fear of God, Proverbs 9:10, with the benefits thereof, Proverbs 9:11,12. The nature of a foolish woman, Proverbs 9:13-15. Her invitation, Proverbs 9:16, and arguments to insnare the simple, Proverbs 9:17. The miserable state of them that are deceived by her, Proverbs 9:18.

Hath builded her house, for the reception and entertainment of her guests, as appears from the following passages. This house is opposed to the harlot’s house, mentioned Proverbs 7:8; and it is to be understood, either,

1. Of the heavenly house, or the palace of glory; or rather,

2. Of the church, which Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, hath erected and established in the world, in which this following feast is made, which is called God’s house, 1 Timothy 3:15 Hebrews 3:3,4.

Seven, i.e. many pillars; whereby is intimated both the beauty and the stability of the church. Pillars; prophets, and apostles, and ministers of holy things, which in Scripture are called pillars, as Galatians 2:9, and elsewhere.

Wisdom hath builded her house,.... Or "Wisdoms": of which see Proverbs 1:20; Christ, the Wisdom of God, is meant, in whom and from whom all wisdom is. Various are the opinions concerning this house built by him. Some take it to be the whole circle of sciences, and the seven pillars to be the seven liberal ones, as Aben Ezra; though rather, as others, it may design the schools of the prophets, in which young men were trained up in the knowledge of divine and spiritual things. Some would have the whole universe to be meant, and the seven pillars to be the seven days of creation, as Jarchi; or the seven planets, as others: it is an odd notion of Grotius, that the human body is intended, with its five senses; and, to make up the number seven, adds the voice and memory: rather the human nature of Christ, which is a temple, a tabernacle, a house in which the Godhead dwells, is built by Wisdom, made without the hands of men; and then its seven pillars are the graces of the Spirit, by which it was supported and adorned; see Isaiah 11:2; Some understand it of the temple of a regenerate man's heart; in which God, Father, Son and Spirit, dwell. But there are two other senses, which bid fairest one of them to be right; either the heavenly glory, the house not made with hands, Christ's Father's house, in which are many mansions for his people; and which is a city whose builder and maker is God, and is prepared by Christ; and stands firm upon the promises of God, the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ, and the grace of the blessed Spirit: or rather the church of Christ on earth, the house of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth; this is built by Christ upon himself, the rock and foundation; the materials of it are true believers, precious and lively stones; built up a spiritual house, and a fit and suitable habitation for God through the Spirit. Such a house there was under the Old Testament, and such an one there is under the New; and which is continually building up by Christ by means of the word and ordinances, and will continue to the end of the world; see 1 Timothy 3:15;

she hath hewn out her seven pillars; ministers of the Gospel, compared to pillars for strength and stability, and for their being instrumental in supporting the interest and church of Christ; in allusion to the pillars in Solomon's temple, Jachin and Boaz; see Galatians 2:9. These are said to be "hewn", being polished, beautified, and adorned with the gifts and graces of the Spirit by Christ, and thereby fitted for their work and service; and said to be "seven", because there is a complete and sufficient number of them, which Christ has provided, and always will provide for his churches, as long as they continue in the world. Though it may be these seven pillars may denote in general the firmness and solidity of this spiritual building, the church, and the continuance of it by the power of God; or they may have respect to the seven states of the church in so many periods of time, to last to the end of all things, signified by the seven churches in the book of the Revelation; so Cocceius (c).

(c) Vid. Lexic. Heb. col. 623.

Wisdom hath built her {a} house, she hath hewn out her {b} seven pillars:

(a) Christ has prepared him a Church.

(b) That is, many chief supports and principal parts of his Church, as were the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, pastors and teachers.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. seven pillars] “Pillars form an important feature in Oriental architecture, partly perhaps as a reminiscence of the tent with its supporting poles, and partly also from the use of flat roofs, in consequence of which the chambers were either narrower, or divided into portions by columns.” Smith’s Dict. of Bible, Art. Pillar.

Here, however, it is better to suppose that the great banquet-hall is open all along the front, so as it were to invite entrance, the roof being supported by a row (‘seven’ is the usual symbol of completeness) of stately pillars. The magnificent hall in which the lords of the Philistines sat and watched Samson making sport in the court-yard outside, while on its flat roof no fewer than 3000 people were assembled, was constructed on this principle; the two central pillars of the colonnade forming a chief support of the roof (Jdg 16:25-30).Verses 1-18. - 15. Fifteenth admonitory discourse, containing in a parabolic form an invitation of Wisdom (vers. 1-12), and that of her rival Folly (vers. 13-18). The chapter sums up in brief the warnings of the preceding part. Verse 1. - Wisdom was represented as having a house at whose portals persons waited eagerly for admission (Proverbs 8:34); the idea is further carried on. Wisdom hath builded her house. (For the plural form of khochmoth, "wisdom," a plural of excellency, see on Proverbs 1:20.) As the "strange woman" in ch. 7. possessed a house to which she seduced her victim, so Wisdom is represented as having a house which she has made and adorned, and to which she invites her pupils. Spiritual writers see here two references - one to Christ's incarnation, when he built for himself a human body (John 2:19); and another to his work in forming the Church, which is his mystical body (1 Peter 2:5). And the sublime language used in this section is not satisfied with the bare notion that we have here only an allegorical representation of Wisdom calling followers to her. Rather we are constrained to see a Divine intimation of the office and work of Christ, not only the Creator of the world, as in ch. 8, but its Regenerator. She hath hewn out her seven pillars. Architecturally, according to Hitzig and others, the pillars of the inner court are meant, which supported the gallery of the first story. Four of these were m the corners, three in the middle of three sides, while the entrance to the court was through the fourth side of the square. The number seven generally denotes perfection; it is the covenant number, expressive of harmony and unity generally, the signature of holiness and blessing, completeness and rest. So in the Apocalypse the whole Church is represented by the number of seven Churches (Revelation 1:4, etc.; see on Proverbs 26:16). Wisdom's house is said to be thus founded because of its perfection and adaptability to all states of men. But doubtless there is a reference to the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit, which rested upon the Christ (Isaiah 11:2, etc.), and which are the support and strength of the Church, being symbolized by the seven-branched candlestick in the temple. Since the statements of Wisdom, as to her participation in the creation of the world, are at this point brought to a close, in this verse there is set forth the intimate relation into which she thus entered to the earth and to mankind, and which she has continued to sustain to the present day. She turned her love to the earth for the sake of man, and to man not merely as a corporeal, but especially as a spiritual being, to whom she can disclose her heart, and whom, if he receives her, she can bring back to God (Book of Wisdom 7:27). There are not here express references to Genesis 1 or Genesis 2. In יום יום (day for day, as Genesis 39:10, cf. Esther 2:4, יום ויום) we have not to think of the six days of creation. But inasmuch as the whole description goes down to בּני אדם as its central-point, it denotes that creation came to its close and its goal in man. The connection of תּבל ארץ is as Job 37:12, where ארצה for ארץ is wholly, as לילה, חרסה, and the like, an original accusative.
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