Proverbs Chapter 9

by Charles E. Bryce

Greetings everyone. Let’s start now in the book of Proverbs chapter 9 as we continue in the Bible Study through this inspired word of God. Proverbs 9:1:

1 Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars:

Once again, as we go through this first part or section of the book of Proverbs, God is repeating and emphasizing and underlining the importance of wisdom in our lives. Wisdom that involves the spiritual as well as the physical part of our lives. And here in chapter 9 verse 1 there is an analogy here—a type, a dual meaning quite possibly.

1 Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars:

Now, I think it’s quite possible that this is talking about the true Church of God and the seven eras of that true church that has existed over the last approximately 1900 to 2000 years. While it would certainly be true that Proverbs 9:1 is also talking about wisdom and the benefits of wisdom and how wisdom is a good foundation for a home, and how wisdom is perfection denoted by the number seven—completion—and so on, but when you put all the scriptures together, it makes sense that it also in type and in duality is referring to God’s true house, true church, and the seven eras of that church down through the ages.

You can read about that over here in Revelation 2 and 3. We won’t go into that in great detail, but we will turn there. Revelation 2: the first era that’s mentioned here is Ephesus in verse 1. Verse 8, we read about Smyrna; verse 12, Pergamos; verse 18, Thyatira. It lays out the pluses and minuses of these churches. What they did well, what they didn’t do well, and what they need to do to correct what they didn’t do well.

Then over in chapter 3 of Revelation, it talks about Sardis in verse 1. In verse 7, it talks about the Philadelphia era, and then in verse14, the Laodicean era. That’s a whole different subject in itself and it’s a very interesting one. It’s very clear in scripture and in history that God built His church. Jesus Christ raised it up on the Day of Pentecost, as mentioned in Acts 2 in 31 AD, and congregations began to spread throughout the Middle East. And then over the years the church of God came under great persecution, was scattered, and God, of course, did not let it be destroyed because He said the gates of hell will not prevail against it. But it has been persecuted and it has undergone great blessings and great trials over the centuries. And yet here it is today.

As you study this subject, you’ll understand that in Revelation 2 and 3, it talks about seven churches that were actually seven literal congregations on a mail route. And then God used those seven literal congregations as an example of how His church would also exist in eras of time. And then as a particular church era would begin to die out, then the next one would come up in succession: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, all the way down through time until we get to the end when you have Philadelphian era and then the last era that’s mentioned is the Laodicean era.

So God’s church certainly does teach wisdom, and it is His house, and there are seven eras of the church. So that’s why we say Proverbs 9:1 could be possibly referring not just to wisdom and the number seven as it’s tied in with wisdom—the seven pillars—but in type it also could be referring to God’s church and the seven eras of His church.

Now let’s continue chapter 9 verse 1. Wisdom in the form of a person is mentioned here.

2 She has killed her beasts; she has mingled her wine; she has also furnished her table.

Or in other words, she’s slaughtered beasts and made the meal ready of meat. She’s mixed her wine—not watered it down, by the way, but mixed it. There are all kinds of ways that ingredients can be mixed in with wine and give it more aroma and more spice, etc., and she has set her table in order.

3 She has sent forth her maidens: she cries upon the highest places of the city,

She has made known to everyone who will listen that they are invited to come in and partake of wisdom.

4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wants understanding,—

or needs understanding, or lacks understanding

4 —she says to him,

5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have


5 —mingled.

Or prepared. What you see as you read through chapter 9 of the book of Proverbs, you begin to see a contrast developed between right and wrong. You see a contrast develop between possibly the true Church of God and the world around. You see a contrast develop between the true Church of God and false churches, true ministers and false ministers.

Once again, choosing the right way over the wrong way is contrasted in chapter 9. First, it talks about wisdom and later on, as you will see, it talks about foolishness or folly. But there is a counterfeit theme running here when it talks about foolishness and folly—and of course, we know that Satan is the great counterfeiter, and the closer he can counterfeit anything, the more he can use that to deceive people because it’s harder to discern between right and wrong when the counterfeit is so good. So he has counterfeit churches, counterfeit ministers, counterfeit teachings. He has counterfeit holidays instead of the true holy days. Just about everything that God gives to those who serve Him, Satan tries to counterfeit and give to those who serve him, and we see that right here in chapter 9 of the book of Proverbs. So let’s keep moving here.

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

It says in verse 5. Now what kind of bread is this? Well, in spiritual terms, it’s talking about the bread of life. Let’s turn to John 6. Just briefly note what John 6:48 says. It says here in John 6:48, Jesus Christ speaking:

48 I am that bread of life.

He is that spiritual bread that we must partake of if we’re going to grow spiritually and one day be in the Kingdom of God. We are to partake of His way of doing things, His mind, His sacrifice, His life being lived over again inside of us. We’re to feed on His words, which are His mind in print, and partake of that meal, spiritually speaking. Eat of that bread.

49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

51 I am the living bread—

Jesus Christ says

51 —which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

So His sacrifice covers all sins of all mankind upon deep repentance and change, and His sacrifice is that bread that we can partake of and have our sins blotted out, and then His life is that bread we can partake of and therefore have the strength to live His way, and one day be resurrected into the Kingdom of God and be a part of the family of God along with our elder brother and savior and king and high priest and the captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ.

So that’s the bread we want to partake of. That’s the bread that ultimately comes from wisdom. Now, also verse 5 refers to the bread that comes from practical Christian living principles that come from wisdom as well, that lead us to Jesus Christ. So there are dualities here. There are themes, there are types that will deepen our understanding of the book of Proverbs, and especially of chapter 9, if we will keep them in mind. Let’s go back to Proverbs 9:6:

6 Forsake the foolish,—

Or forsake foolishness. Just idle–headed, empty–headed, dumb, ridiculous, stupid, selfish actions and thoughts and words. Satiating the flesh, gratifying the flesh, just throwing all caution to the wind and being careless and loose. That doesn’t take us anywhere except into deep trouble. That is immature, that will end up hurting us and hurting other people, and so we’re told here, “Don’t go that way. You’ve been called to a better way of life if you will respond to God. Take the wise way of life.”

6 Forsake the foolish, and live;—

Don’t incur the penalties and the traps and the pain and the suffering and the obstacles and the downfalls, and the failures that come with foolishness. Forsake that and live.

6 —and go in the way of understanding.

7 He that reproves a scorner gets to himself shame: and he that rebukes a wicked man gets himself a blot.

Well, scorner, scoffer, they’re about the same thing. Of course, if somebody is saying or doing something wrong, and you see it, and you have to kind of stand your ground, we might have to disagree with that person. We might have to say, “No, we’re not going to stand by and watch you say that or do that.”

But if you carry that to the point to where you begin to reprove a scorner, you begin to rebuke a wicked man, you begin to really set into a process of trying to correct a scorner or a scoffer or a wicked man, you’re not going to be able to be successful in that endeavor because that individual has a rotten attitude. He will not be easily entreated, or she will not be easily entreated. They will not listen to instructions in righteousness, and so if you try to go in that direction and push it, you’re going to see that Proverbs 9:7 comes to life and is absolutely correct. It will backfire.

7 He that reproves a scorner gets to himself shame:—

He is going to suffer.

7 —and he that rebukes a wicked man—

only harms himself, is a better translation

7 —gets himself a blot.

Says it well, but only harms himself makes it even plainer. So why bother to do it? Because you can’t win for losing. You can quickly tell this individual is not going to listen to anything, but will take it the wrong way and then will begin to be a problem for me to deal with. So just simply stay away from people like that and steer clear of that kind of situation is what Proverbs 9:7 is telling us.

8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate you:—

That’s going to be the result. He’s going to take it the wrong way. He’s going to spin it the wrong way. He’ll dig in his heels and he will become an enemy, or she will become an enemy. So if they won’t take a gentle reminder, if they won’t take a gentle hint, if they won’t take a kind of a gentle type of feedback or input from you, if it’s going to turn into getting stronger than that, you better think twice because you could end up creating an enemy, and you could end up developing a relationship with somebody that is nothing more than just hatred that they will have toward you.

So we’re warned. Don’t waste your time on that kind of thing. Notice what the last part of verse 8 says in Proverbs 9:8:

8 —rebuke a wise man,—

Look at the difference.

8 —rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.

I don’t know of two categories that are more different, that are further apart, that are at the absolute opposite ends of the spectrum, that are the antithesis of one another, than that of a scorner and a wise man. They’re completely, totally different. They are mutually exclusive of one another, and it’s found right here in verse 8 that’s made clear. You rebuke a scorner and he will hate you.

But look at the tremendous response from an individual who’s in a good attitude and from an individual who has wisdom. You correct, you suggest, you instruct, you give feedback to—and sometimes even stronger than that, you might even strongly disagree or point out or correct a wise man—and he will love you. Now it might hurt and it might be painful at that time, but he sees the wonderful fruits that will come out of your correction and him responding to your correction. And so he will begin to appreciate what you told him, appreciate the fact that you love them enough to step up and point out an error, point out a wrong. And he will begin to love you for that, not hate you for that. You know why? Because he’s wise. He’s wise, that’s why. Notice verse 9:

9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser:—

He will benefit from it. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to go around just picking on one another and set ourselves up as the great authority to straighten everybody out. That is not the case at all and should not be done. But we’re talking about wise men helping other wise people. We’re talking about people who are humble and who are in a good attitude trying to help other people who are humble and in a good attitude, and you know what? When we have enough love to go ahead and point out a mistake or point out a wrong direction they might be going in, or point out a pitfall down the way that they don’t see—and we do it in the right way and the right attitude, having their benefit and welfare in mind—they will listen to that, they will respond to that, and they will become even wiser.

9 —teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

He won’t resent it. He won’t reject it. He won’t hold it against you. He won’t develop a grudge. He won’t hate you. He will be thankful, and he will say, “You know what, I didn’t see that, I didn’t know that. That’s a blind spot I didn’t realize I had. I never knew that information. I hadn’t understood that point. Now that you have made it clear and plain to me, not as some big know–it–all teacher, but as a fellow human being and as a brother who is saying this in love, and who invites me to do the same for him when the time comes and there’s a need to do so.” You know what? That type of individual when someone is willing to point these things out to a just man, someone who has an attitude of right and wrong and justice clearly set in his character and mind, he’s just simply going to learn. He’s going to grow from it. He’s going to increase in learning.

What a blessing to have relationships like that where we can help one another, we can suggest things to one another, we can point things out to one another, we can encourage one another, we can appreciate one another, we can do it in love and respect and the result is growth, and good fruits, and wonderful blessings and benefits. That is if wisdom is involved in the picture, if God is guiding the whole thing. And He will if we follow what we read here in Proverbs 9.

10 The fear of the Eternal is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

So when you hear about people who are really wise and you hear about someone who’s really smart and you hear about someone who has all of this intelligence and understanding, if God is not in the picture and if it is not hooked to and anchored to and based on standing in awe of the Great Eternal God, then it is not real genuine wisdom, and it is not real, worthwhile, lasting, permanent knowledge that stands up and that works. It’s just worldly wisdom. It’s just worldly knowledge.

Because true knowledge and true wisdom will always flow from standing in awe of Almighty God. That’s the most important part of wisdom and knowledge. It is the first and beginning part of wisdom and knowledge—to recognize, worship, adore, and stand in awe of and fear the Great God in the right way with a healthy fear.

10 The fear of the Eternal is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

So you may have a degree from college, and you may not have a degree from college. You may be well–educated, and you may not be so well–educated. You may have a high IQ, you may have an average IQ. But when it really comes down to what counts, it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with IQ and education and degrees, although those things are fine if used in the right way.

But the bottom line is, our relationship with the Almighty God, our attitude toward our creator, standing in awe of Him, yielding to Him, surrendering to Him and having the attitude of: “Yes, Lord, what will you have me do? Teach me, show me, and give me the strength to do what you want. I stand in awe of you. I am yours. I turn it all over to you. Now teach me, give me knowledge, give me wisdom because I stand in awe of you and I want to use that knowledge and wisdom in the right way.”

So therefore anybody, at any age, male or female, from any culture, who yields to God and stands in awe of Him is going to begin to develop wisdom and going to begin to develop knowledge that is genuine and real and that will stand up. What a wonderful, wonderful blessing it is to understand that if we really do understand it and if we really will take time to dwell on it.

11 For by me—

by wisdom, by knowledge, in essence by our relationship with God

11 —your days shall be multiplied, and the years of your life shall be increased.

Things will go much, much better.

12 If you be wise, you shall be wise for yourself: but if you scorn, you alone shall bear it.

In other words, whatever we sow, we reap. We’re responsible for our actions and therefore then we face the consequences, and if our actions are good, great! The consequences are wonderful. If our actions are not good, well then, the consequences are not going to be so good. So we have to be responsible people and realize that consequences are going to follow our actions. So if we have good actions, good consequences will follow. If we have bad actions, then bad consequences will follow, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

13 A foolish woman is clamorous:—

or boisterous

13 —she is simple,—

She’s kind of dumb.

13 —and knows nothing.

14 For she sits at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,

See the analogy here? It starts off with wisdom being described like that. So here’s the counterfeit to wisdom. Foolishness and folly is a counterfeit of wisdom, but it can be very seductive, it can be very attractive, it can be very tempting. And Satan counterfeits God’s way of life with his way of life, God’s wisdom with his folly, God’s fun and God’s interest and God’s knowledge with his gratification and his knowledge, which is false and leads to pain and suffering and ultimately death. And we have to be able to tell the difference between the two ways of life, and the difference between the genuine article—the real thing—and the counterfeit.

14 For she sits at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,

15 To call passengers who go right on their ways:

Or those who pass by.

16 Whoso is simple,—

or naïve

16 —let him turn in here:—

Now wisdom said, “Turn in here and get wisdom.” But folly and foolishness says, “Turn in here and you’ll end up being foolish.” That’s the result of turning into the foolish individual or foolish situation or foolish, false church or foolish, false, worldly activity, instead of the right way, God’s way, God’s church, God’s truth.

16 Whoso is naïve, let him turn in here: and as for him that wants understanding, she says to him,

17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Not the bread of life. Not the pure spiritual waters of truth. But prohibited, forbidden things that tempt us. In other words, human nature and Satan playing with human nature will develop the idea that, well, if it’s forbidden, it must be something that’s good so I want it. You know, the forbidden fruit. What’s really interesting and thrilling and exciting, and what really turns you on is what you’re not supposed to do. And so you sneak around and figure out a way to do it. But you know what, when you sneak around and figure out a way to do it, you’re going to find out it’s empty and it’s rotten and it’s vile and filthy and it stinks, and the result is pain and suffering and ultimately death.

Now, that’s what Proverbs is warning us about. Folly and foolishness and Satan and the wrong way and the wrong institutions of Satan the devil, and even false churches say, and friends in the world who are going the wrong way say:

17 Stolen waters are sweet —–

No! Good, wonderful, free waters are sweet.

17 — and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

No! Bread eaten in the open and shared with others—and thank God for that bread—that’s what’s really pleasant.

So we have to watch out for these counterfeit lies in life, and Proverbs 9 is warning us about that.

18 But he knows not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

That’s the end result of that kind of philosophy, that kind of thinking, that kind of attitude, and that kind of pattern. And when it says hell here, it’s not talking about an ever–burning hell fire, by the way. The Hebrew word is sheol, and it means the grave. It talks about death and then it talks about the grave.

So we’ll stop there and we’ll pick it up next time in chapter 10 of the book of Proverbs. It might be good for you to study ahead a bit, and then when we get into the book of Proverbs, you’ve already done some preparation, and therefore then, perhaps, it will be even more interesting as we start through this next section of Proverbs starting with chapter 10.

This is Charles Bryce with the Enduring Church of God.

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