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Proverbs 9:1-3

Context
The Consequences of Accepting Wisdom or Folly 1 

9:1 Wisdom has built her house;

she has carved out its seven pillars. 2 

9:2 She has prepared her meat, 3  she has mixed her wine;

she also has arranged her table. 4 

9:3 She has sent out her female servants;

she calls out on the highest places 5  of the city.

1 sn Chapter 9 forms the conclusion of the lengthy introduction to the book. Both wisdom and folly will make their final appeals; and both appeal to the simpletons. Wisdom offers life with no mention of pleasure; folly offers pleasure with no mention of death. The first twelve verses concern accepting wisdom: the invitation of wisdom (1-6), the description of the responses (7-11), and the consequence (12). Verses 13-18 concern accepting folly: the invitation (13-17) and the consequence (18).

2 sn Wisdom is personified as a wise woman. She has prepared a house and established it on seven pillars. This is a reference to the habitable world (e.g., 8:31). For the equation of the house and the world, e.g., 8:29; Job 38:6; and Psalm 104:5 (also G. Boström, Proverbiastudien [LUÅ], 1-14). The “seven pillars” have been variously interpreted, but since seven is a number for completeness and sacredness, the idea seems to be that wisdom produced a perfect world.

3 tn Heb “she has killed her killing.” Cf. KJV “hath killed her beasts”; NAB “has dressed her meat”; NASB “has prepared her food.”

4 sn Wisdom has prepared a sumptuous banquet in this house and sends out her maids to call the simple to come and eat (M. Lichtenstein, “The Banquet Motif in Keret and in Proverbs 9,” JANESCU 1 [1968/69]: 19-31). The figures of meat and wine represent the good teaching of wisdom that will be palatable and profitable (implied comparisons). Compare Isaiah 55:1-2 and John 6:51, 55 for similar uses of the figures. The idea of mixing wine could refer to the practice of mixing wine with spices or with water (as the LXX text assumes; e.g., Prov 23:30; Isa 5:22). Mixed wine was the most intoxicating; thus, her wisdom is attractive. All the imagery lets the simple know that what wisdom has to offer is marvelous.

5 tn The text uses two synonymous terms in construct to express the superlative degree.



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