9:1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved out its seven pillars. 2
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.
9:4 “Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,”
and drink some of the wine I have mixed. 10
and proceed 13 in the way of understanding.”
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.
6 tn Heb “lacking of heart she says to him.” The pronominal suffix is a resumptive pronoun, meaning, “she says to the lacking of heart.”
7 tn Heb “him.”
8 tn Heb “heart”; cf. NIV “to those who lack judgment.”
9 tn The construction features a cognate accusative (verb and noun from same root). The preposition בּ (bet) has the partitive use “some” (GKC 380 §119.m).
10 tn The final verb actually stands in a relative clause although the relative pronoun is not present; it modifies “wine.”
sn The expressions “eat” and “drink” carry the implied comparison forward; they mean that the simple are to appropriate the teachings of wisdom.
11 tn There are two ways to take this word: either as “fools” or as “foolish ways.” The spelling for “foolishness” in v. 13 differs from this spelling, and so some have taken that as an indicator that this should be “fools.” But this could still be an abstract plural here as in 1:22. Either the message is to forsake fools (i.e., bad company; cf. KJV, TEV) or forsake foolishness (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT).
12 tn The two imperatives are joined with vav; this is a volitive sequence in which result or consequence is expressed.
13 tn The verb means “go straight, go on, advance” or “go straight on in the way of understanding” (BDB 80 s.v. אָשַׁר).