Proverbs 9:9

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
– Proverbs 9:9

One of the marks of attaining wisdom is being teachable (Proverbs 1:5). It is an attitude that contrasts with the scorner previously mentioned. Growing wiser and increasing learning show that wisdom is never attained to the full, but it a lifelong pursuit for the serious. Being teachable means receiving correction (Proverbs 3:11; 17:10), wise counsel (Proverbs 13:10), and direct commandments (Proverbs 10:8). For all this, the wise grow wiser.

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Proverbs 9:8

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
– Proverbs 9:8

Since scorners only respond to wisdom with mockery and abuse, wisdom passes by such. Scoffers and scorners put wisdom far from them because they will not receive reproof. Reproof is a correction and a necessary part of wise instruction. We are born into the world without wisdom and must attain it. However, if we will not abide our foolish notions beings corrected, we will never attain it. Wisdom passes the scorner because wisdom is not scattered like seeds on the pavement, but rather is stored up for the righteous who will heed the wise rebuke (Proverbs 2:7; 13:18). That the wise will receive rebuke and love the corrector shows that human never hold wisdom infallibly. We may always grow wiser and that is a mark of being wise (Proverbs 9:9).

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Proverbs 9:7

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.
– Proverbs 9:7

Verses 7-12 give the two responses to wisdom’s invitation—the scorner’s response and the wise man’s response. Verses 7 & 8 speak of the scorner and verses 9-11 speak of the wise man. Verse 12 summarizes both. The scorner, or scoffer, is one of the foolish characters in Proverbs. The word means to mock or make mouths at. It captures the foolish character as a problem of attitude and not ability. They take “delight in their scorning” (Proverbs 1:22). Scorners despise correction (Proverbs 13:1) and thus do not find wisdom (Proverbs 14:6). Reproving and rebuking such only gains trouble and abuse for the effort. Scorners despise the corrector as much as the correction (Proverbs 15:12).

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Proverbs 9:6

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
– Proverbs 9:6

Any true call to wisdom necessarily means a departing from that that is not wisdom. The foolish, or the simple ones, are not fit companions and coming to wisdom means leaving their company. This is consistent in the call to wisdom throughout Proverbs (Proverbs 4:14-15; 13:20). Turning to understanding, i.e. discernment, is a turning into the way, which is a road put here for course of life. It is not momentary or isolated. It is a change of life.

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Proverbs 9:5

Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.
– Proverbs 9:5

There is reward for turning in to wisdom’s house. Her feast is enjoyable and satisfying. The baked bread and mingled wine are no light snack. This is the sort of feast that nourishes and brings rejoicing. So wisdom’s call is not vain nor her promises empty. The wise father has instructed the son that wisdom gives health to life (Proverbs 3:8; 4:22).

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Proverbs 9:4

Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
– Proverbs 9:4

The word for simple means silly or gullible. It describes one uninitiated in the ways of the world, and so easily led (Proverbs 14:15). Wanteth understanding means lacking intelligence. These are the early stages toward becoming a fool and scorner if wisdom is not received by them. Wisdom calls for those who need wisdom to turn in to her. This means to turn aside from the way you are on and to go to wisdom and her way. The rest of the call continues in the next two verses.

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Proverbs 9:3

She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,
– Proverbs 9:3

Empty talk is one of the marks of folly (Ecclesiastes 5:3; Proverbs 14:23). Wisdom prepares and invites when ready. As before, wisdom issues an open invitation. She cries openly from an elevated and visible point to all the city.

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Proverbs 9:2

She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.
– Proverbs 9:2

Consistent with the teaching of wisdom, the hostess has thought ahead, considered, and prepared her feast. The meal pictured will be nutritious, delicious, and enjoyable. The words of wisdom are rich and palatable. Good food provides strength for the body and the teaching of wisdom provides strength for life. The mingling of wine refers primarily to mixing with spices to enhance and brighten the flavor profile. Fresh meat and a well-ordered table make for a meal that is an experience of beauty and goodness, not a utilitarian eating for subsistence. Thus it is with the words of wisdom to those who love them.

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Proverbs 9:1

Chapter 9 completes this particular character sketch of wisdom using the motif of a banquet and the juxtaposition of the foolish woman’s banquet. Both characters are making appeals to gain a hearing as they are portrayed as hostesses inviting diners to their feasts. Verses 1-6 picture the feast of the wise woman. Every detail speaks of honor and dignity. It is a noble banquet. Verses 7-12 admonish the simple to receive wisdom and live. The progression of either wisdom or folly is shown. Verses 13-18 describe folly’s banquet. Folly is contrasted with wisdom and folly is depicted as a wicked hostess. She also calls to the simple to come in and the character of her guests is unmasked.

Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:
– Proverbs 9:1

The previous chapter ended with wisdom among the godhead and the first six verses in chapter 9 return wisdom to the world of men. She is once again among the people of the earth. Here she is a hostess who has prepared her noble house for a feast and invites the simple to come in. Her house is built up or established. The seven pillars have been subjected to various and sundry fanciful interpretations. Seven is the number that often represents completion or fullness. From the context, it indicates her house is complete and fully suited to furnish all guests. In other words, all who come to her house have no need of supplementary provision. Pillars are columns that provide structural support to the roof and can function in an aesthetically pleasing way. The pillars indicate that wisdom’s house is a noble and stately house.

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