The Book of Proverbs claims that God’s own wisdom has been woven into the fabric of the universe, and you are invited to participate. What’s the wise choice when it comes to relationships and money and work, the stuff of day-to-day life? This 32-day plan will walk you through the Proverbs step by step as you train your heart to discern the wise way forward.
- Proverbs 9
“Chapter 9: A Tale of Two Houses”
4th Speech by Lady Wisdom
The structure of this chapter is very symmetric. It opens with a 6-verse invitation to the house of Lady Wisdom (1-6) and closes with a 6-verse invitation to the house of the adulteress (13-18). These two invitations are separated by a 6-line call to practice humility (7-12).
The summons from the two ladies are strikingly similar: “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” (4, 16). Both women make the same appeal, but each for different reasons. One wants to lift the simple up to life, while the other wants to cast the simple down to the grave. Notice that both have houses (1, 14) and both serve bread (5, 17).
Both make a speech (5-6, 17), but each of them differ in nature. Lady Wisdom’s words ring out clear and pure as a bell: “Leave your simple ways.” The words of the adulteress are slinky and provocative as she purrs, “Stolen water is sweet.” The simple reader is left with a choice, but the author has made it easy: this boils down to life or death.
These two similar-but-contrasting invitations wrap around the central portion of the text (7-12). This middle section clarifies the key to choosing wisely— humility! Read verses 7-12 prayerfully. Abide by these words and live. “If you scoff,” the author warns, “you alone will bear it” (12).
This chapter marks the end of the 9-chapter section of speeches from a father and from Lady Wisdom. To sum them up: Choose life! Choose wisdom.