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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 9

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Chapter 9 continues in its praise of wisdom.

Wisdom hath built her house, she has hewn out the seven pillars: She has killed her beasts; she has mingled her wine; and she has furnished her table. And she has sent forth her maidens: and she cries upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she says to him, Come, and eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding ( Proverbs 9:1-6 ).

In other words, wisdom is inviting everybody to come and partake of her. That is why David said to Solomon, "Hey, son, wisdom's the principal thing. Get wisdom." Now Solomon's saying, "Wisdom is inviting people. I prepared a banquet. I've prepared for you. Come and partake of me." And now he says in verse Proverbs 9:7 ,

He that reproves a scorner will be mocked ( Proverbs 9:7 ):

If you have a scorner and you reprove him, what is he going to do? He's going to turn right around and mock you. He's not going to receive it.

and he that rebukes a wicked man [going to get smashed in the nose]. So reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: but if you rebuke a wise man, he will love you for it ( Proverbs 9:7-8 ).

So if you rebuke someone and he punches you in the nose, you know he's wicked. If he loves you for it, you know he's a wise man. One of the proverbs says, "A fool hateth instruction."

So give instruction to the wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom ( Proverbs 9:9-10 ):

Now this sounds very much like verse Proverbs 9:6 of chapter 1 where after Solomon introduces Proverbs and tells you what a proverb is and what the purpose of proverbs are, he begins with the first proverb declaring, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" ( Proverbs 1:6 ). Now he says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." And it sounds like these are parallel statements, but there's a vast difference between the two. And the difference lies not in the difference between wisdom and knowledge, but the difference between the word beginning in the Hebrew that is translated in both places beginning. They are two different Hebrew words with two different meanings.

After telling what a proverb is and what the purpose of proverbs are, to gain understanding and to know the way of righteousness and so forth, he then declared, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." The word in verse Proverbs 9:6 of chapter 1 is a Hebrew word which means "the sum total of knowledge." All knowledge is encompassed in the fear of the Lord. In other words, if a man doesn't fear the Lord, he's dumb, stupid. The fear of the Lord is really the sum of knowledge.

The word beginning here is the Hebrew word for primary or commencement, the starting place. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," the starting place for wisdom. It's the sum total of knowledge but it's the starting place of wisdom. Now the difference between wisdom and knowledge is that knowledge will give you facts. Wisdom will direct you to the correct action in lieu of these facts.

There are a lot of people that have a lot of knowledge, but they don't have much wisdom. They may have a lot of facts. They may have a lot of knowledge stored up in their head, but they're absolutely dumb when it comes to their actions. I am constantly amazed at what dumb things smart men do. Men who have their Ph.D.s and all of this vast knowledge, and yet they don't have any wisdom. They're just off their rockers.

The government keeps a group of men that are almost humanoids. And they sit day after day at these desks in these think tanks, and these guys when they start shaving, just shave all the way, you know. Their heads are bare and big heads, and they just sit there at the desk day after day after day just sitting, and the government pays them royally for this. And they are thinking in these far out abstract concepts. And they may sit there for a month and never say a word to anybody. You can walk in, walk around. They don't even recognize that you're there. And yet, they come up with these outlandish, far out concepts. Pretty soon after several months, they'll go up the board and start writing out formulas and all these kind of stuff, designs. And then the government has other men who have to take these formulas and designs and see if they'll really work.

We have a friend who was in the second phase, and he told us about these little humanoids almost that sit there at their desks, and of these wild kind of concepts. How that they are thinking about how to transmit brainwave patterns from the outsides so that people can see without eyes. You know, just by the transmitting of brainwave patterns that go across the place so they get the illusion of sight and so forth, though they don't have eyes. Or transmit the sound in without the hearing apparatus, normal hearing apparatus; you'll be able to hear. And all these kind of things that they are actually working on and developing and trying to create. Far out kind of concepts.

Now these guys have a lot of knowledge, but they don't have much wisdom. This friend of mine was telling me that quite often they'll be stuck, because, he said, they cannot, many of them cannot add a simple column of figures. Their minds are too complex to deal with simple math. And of course, they don't have any family life. I mean, they just live an isolated kind of existence in their own sort of in their own minds, and they are just trained to get into themselves and into their own minds and concepts. Far out kind of stuff.

So knowledge is having an accumulation of facts. Wisdom is knowing what to do with them. The proper use of knowledge or the application of knowledge. So the importance of wisdom. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning," that's the starting place of wisdom.

Last chapter we read, "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil" ( Proverbs 8:13 ). Fear of the Lord. The word fear bugs some people because we have in our minds the concept of a phobia. But the word translated fear is not a phobia type of fear. But it is that kind of awe and reverential fear as we really think about God, His greatness, His power, who He is. Just that awe that comes over you. So that fear of the Lord, desiring to do what God would have me to do. Love what God loves. Hate what God hates. That desire recognizing who God is. To seek to please Him, that's what the fear of the Lord is about. That's the beginning of wisdom.

and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding ( Proverbs 9:10 ).

We are living in a day and age when we have so confused the issue of good and evil, right and wrong. That people really don't know what is right or what is wrong. We have the Situation Ethics. And now more recently, this value clarification where there is the denial of any kind of universal base of good or truth or right. It's all relative to the situation. But understanding the knowledge of the holy, that which is holy, that which is pure, that's what understanding is about. It's understanding God and what He has declared.

Wisdom is still speaking and it says.

For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If you be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. A foolish woman is clamorous ( Proverbs 9:11-13 ):

He evidently knew much, a lot about women. He had enough wives to have quite an understanding. No doubt in the law of averages, you have a thousand wives you're going to have some really weird ones, contentious ones and everything else. And he'll get to them later on. "A foolish woman is clamorous."

she is simple, she doesn't know anything. For she sits at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, to call the passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in to her: and as for him that wants understanding, she says to him, [Hey] stolen waters are sweet, bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he doesn't know that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell ( Proverbs 9:13-18 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 9". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-9.html. 2014.
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