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                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                        Two Invitations (9:1-18)


1. In his discourses on the value of seeking after wisdom, Solomon has
   varied his approach...
   a. He makes his own appeal as a father to his son and children - cf.
      Pr 1:8; 4:1
   b. He personifies wisdom as a lady who invites people to pay heed
      - cf. Pr 1:20; 8:1

2. His final discourse presents a picture of two women, both extending
   a. One woman personifies wisdom - Pr 9:1-12
   b. The other personifies folly - Pr 9:13-18

[Whose invitation will we accept?  That of Lady Wisdom, or that of Woman
Folly?  Consider first...]


      1. Her beautiful home:  a large house with seven pillars - Pr 9:1
         a. The number seven suggests to many the idea of completeness
         b. Compare the seven-fold qualities of wisdom described by
            James - Jm 3:17
      2. Her sumptuous feast:  meat and wine, a furnished table - Pro
         a. Carefully prepared
         b. Beautifully presented
      -- Lady Wisdom has made great effort in making provisions

   B. HER PLEA...
      1. She wants to be heard - Pr 9:3
         a. She has sent out her maidens (reminding us of Jesus, sending
            His apostles)
         b. She cries out from the highest places of the city
      2. She invites the simple and those who lack understanding - Pro
         a. To eat and drink of her prepared feast
         b. To forsake foolishness and live, to go in the way of
      3. Why She won't invite scoffers - Pr 9:7-9
         a. Correcting a scoffer only shames and harms the one doing the
         b. The wise and just, however, appreciate and will learn from
      -- Lady Wisdom makes great effort to reach those who will listen

      1. Wisdom and understanding - Pr 9:10
         a. To those who fear the Lord
         b. To those who know the Lord
      2. Long life - Pr 9:11; cf. 3:2,16
         a. Days will be multiplied
         b. Years will be added
      3. To benefit one's self - Pr 9:12
         a. Wisdom will bless one's self (for you will have God's aid)
         b. Scorn, on the other hand, will hurt one's self (for you will
            bear things alone)
      -- Lady Wisdom wants you to have the best life possible!

[The invitation of Lady Wisdom is really quite tempting (in a good way).
Especially when we carefully consider the alternative...]


      1. She really makes no preparation
      2. Instead, she is "loud; she is seductive and knows nothing"
         (ESV) - Pr 9:13
      3. The Believers' Bible Commentary describes her as "loudmouthed,
         empty-headed, and brazenfaced"
      -- Compare her lack of preparation with that of Lady Wisdom

   B. HER PLEA...
      1. She sits at the door of her house - Pr 9:14a
         a. Unlike Lady Wisdom
         b. Who sent out Her maidens to be heard
      2. She sits on a high seat by the highest places of the city - Pro
         a. Where Lady Wisdom also cries out - cf. Pr 9:3
         b. Note that Woman Folly cries out from a seated position
      3. She calls to those who pass by - Pr 9:15-16
         a. Especially the simple
         b. And those who lack understanding
      -- Woman Folly competes with Lady Wisdom for the souls of men

      1. That stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is
         pleasant - Pr 9:17
         a. An allusion to illicit intercourse - cf. Pr 5:15
         b. But it is a false promise - cf. Pr 20:17; 5:3-5
      2. The true promise is unknown to the simple lacking understanding
         - Pr 9:18
         a. Her home is the house of the dead - cf. Pr 2:18-19
         b. Her house is the way to hell - cf. Pr 5:5; 7:27
      -- Woman Folly, known best for her adulterous ways, promises much
         but delivers the worst life possible!


1. Whose invitation shall we accept...?
   a. That of Lady Wisdom, who has prepared much and delivers what she
   b. Or that of Woman Folly, who promises much and delivers the
   c. The choice should be obvious, even to the simple and those lacking

2. Thus ends the discourses of Solomon...
   a. Designed to encourage the acquisition of wisdom
   b. Illustrating the superiority of wisdom over folly

In our next study, we will continue our survey of Proverbs using a
topical approach...
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