What does it say?

Proverbs 7 begins with another plea to walk in wisdom. Immediately the application turns again to sexual temptation in 7:6-23. The final verses of the chapter are an appeal to take this warning seriously due to the fatal consequences of sexual infidelity.

Poetic eloquence rises to a high level in Proverbs 8 that is a personification of wisdom. Here, wisdom is a “she” in contrast to the “strange woman” or adulteress of the previous chapter.

Chapter 9 summarizes what we have seen in Pro 7-8. The chapter opens with seven things wisdom does followed by seven things wisdom speaks.  From verse 13 to the end of the chapter another warning goes out about the dangers of sexual infidelity.

What does it mean?

The warnings against sexual sin are straightforward and don’t require much explanation. Do not miss, however, that this magnificent personification of wisdom is presented as female! It becomes clear as you reach the end of the chapter that the divine attribute of wisdom is described in much the same way as Jesus Christ is described in the New Testament. Be careful! This is not to declare complete equality between Christ and wisdom personified as a female; only that wisdom personified here foreshadows Christ and appears here in female form to contrast with the adulteress woman. You might say that God transcends gender in this way, or that here we get in touch with God’s feminine side. Don’t grip this too tightly so as to squeeze out the mystery, only to acknowledge that God is perfectly aware of gender and can relate perfectly to both because he is perfect wisdom. It’s also interesting that Christ mentions wisdom as mother in Luke 7:35. The Bible has always been far ahead in relevance!

When Hebrew people speak in “sevens” as in the opening verses of Pro 9, it is to speak of completeness and perfection, not necessarily to give an exclusive list of seven only. We might paraphrase today by saying that when wisdom acts, she acts perfectly and when she speaks she speaks perfectly. All that is said here in these two lists is right, of course, but just not necessarily meant to say that only these literal seven apply.

How will I respond?

Do I struggle with sexual sin or temptation? What is one truth of this reading that I will apply specifically to my life today in order to find freedom and a way to escape? What is the most important truth I learned about wisdom today and how might I apply that to a specific area of my life?