Proverbs 9
Barnes' Notes
Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
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.

She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.
Mingled her wine - i. e., with myrrh and other spices, to give flavor and strength.

She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
Wisdom and the "foolish woman" Proverbs 9:13 speak from the same places and to the same class - the simple, undecided, wavering, standing at the diverging point of the two paths that lead to life or death.

Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
A parallel to the higher teaching of the Gospels (compare John 6:27; Matthew 26:26).

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.
These verses seem somewhat to interrupt the continuity of the invitation which Wisdom utters. The order of thought is, however, this: "I speak to you, the simple, the open ones, for you have yet ears to hear: but from the scorner or evil doer, as such, I turn away." The words are illustrated by Matthew 13:11 ff.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
The holy - The word in the Hebrew is plural, agreeing, probably, with אלהים 'elohı̂ym understood (so in Proverbs 30:3). The knowledge of the Most Holy One stands as the counterpart to the fear of Yahweh.

For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.
The great law of personal retribution (compare Matthew 7:2). The Septuagint makes a curious addition to this verse, "My son, if thou wilt be wise for thyself, thou shalt be wise also for thy neighbors; but if thou turn out evil, thou alone shalt bear evil. He who resteth on lies shall guide the winds, and the same shall hunt after winged birds, for he hath left the ways of his own vineyard, and has gone astray with the wheels of his own husbandry. He goeth through a wilderness without water, and over a land set in thirsty places, and with his hands he gathereth barrenness."

A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.
The picture of the harlot as the representative of the sensual life, the Folly between which and Wisdom the young man has to make his choice (Proverbs 9:3 note). "Simple," in the worst sense, as open to all forms of evil. "Knoweth nothing," ignorant with the ignorance which is willful and reckless.

For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,
Contrast with Proverbs 9:1, etc. The foolish woman has her house, but it is no stately palace with seven pillars, like the home of Wisdom. No train of maidens wait on her, and invite her guests, but she herself sits at the door, her position as prominent as that of Wisdom, counterfeiting her voice, making the same offer to the same class (compare Proverbs 9:16 with Proverbs 9:4).

To call passengers who go right on their ways:
Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
The besetting sin of all times and countries, the one great proof of the inherent corruption of man's nature. Pleasures are attractive because they are forbidden (compare Romans 7:7).

But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
Compare the marginal reference. With this warning the long introduction closes, and the collection of separate proverbs begins. Wisdom and Folly have each spoken; the issues of each have been painted in life-like hues. The learner is left to choose.

Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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