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SOAP – Proverbs 9 – Wisdom and Folly

Proverbs chapter 9 shows Wisdom and Folly personified.  Personification is showing a concept or an idea speaking and acting as a person. 

That is a common theme in Proverbs and reinforces the message that wisdom isn’t just a good idea or an abstraction.  Wisdom (and Folly) find human words and actions, and are very much a part of the human experience.  In short, Wisdom has hands and feet.

Commentators make much of the similarities between the description and initial call of Wisdom and Folly (verses 3-4 and verses 15-16), but I think the key to this chapter is in the differences:

  • Wisdom leads with action and real preparation (v 1-3)
  • Folly leads with sitting and talking (v 13-14) 
  • Wisdom has built a house (v 1)
  • Folly sits in a doorway (v 13) 
  • Folly talks about stolen food (v 17)
  • Wisdom provides food.  She sets a real table (v 2-5) 
  • Folly talks about sensual pleasure (v 17)
  • Wisdom talks about relationships with others and with God (v 6-10) 
  • Wisdom leads to a good result (v 11)
  • Folly leads to death (v 18)

How am I lured away from the feast of Wisdom, freely provided, through empty talk of how sweet stolen food is?   How messed up is that?

Wisdom and Folly… here is my prayer:  God help us tell the difference.


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