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PROVERBS CHAPTER 9
Wisdom’s call to her people unto blessed communion and fellowship with herself, set out under a similitude of making a feast, Proverbs 9:1. Her preparation, Proverbs 9:2, and invitation, Proverbs 9:3-5. She dehorteth from evil company, Proverbs 9:6. Her counsel concerning reproof and instruction, Proverbs 9:7-9. A description of the fear of God, Proverbs 9:10, with the benefits thereof, Proverbs 9:11,Proverbs 9:12. The nature of a foolish woman, Proverbs 9:13-15. Her invitation, Proverbs 9:16, and arguments to insnare the simple, Proverbs 9:17. The miserable state of them that are deceived by her, Proverbs 9:18.
Hath builded her house, for the reception and entertainment of her guests, as appears from the following passages. This house is opposed to the harlot’s house, mentioned Pro 7:8; and it is to be understood, either,
1. Of the heavenly house, or the palace of glory; or rather,
2. Of the church, which Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, hath erected and established in the world, in which this following feast is made, which is called God’s house, 1Ti 3:15; Hebrews 3:3,Hebrews 3:4.
Seven, i.e. many pillars; whereby is intimated both the beauty and the stability of the church. Pillars; prophets, and apostles, and ministers of holy things, which in Scripture are called pillars, as Gal 2:9, and elsewhere.
Hath killed her beasts, i.e. made provision for the guests; which is meant of the ordinances, gifts, graces, comforts, and eternal felicities which God doth offer and give to men in and by the church.
Hath mingled her wine; either,
1. With spices, to make it strong and delightful, this mixed wine being mentioned as the best, Proverbs 23:29,Proverbs 23:30. Or,
2. With water, as they used to do in those hot countries, partly for refreshment, and partly for wholesomeness; whereby also may be intimated that wisdom teacheth us temperance in the use of our comforts. Hath also furnished her table with all necessaries, and now waits for the guests.
Her maidens; her servants, to invite the guests; ministers of the word, whom he calls maidens, partly for the decency of the parable; for wisdom being compared to a great princess, was fit to be attended upon by maidens; and partly to show that God by his word did work sweetly, though strongly, and did allure and draw rather than drive sinners to repentance.
Upon the highest places: either upon the tops of the houses, which were flat; or rather, from such high seats as those from which judges delivered their sentences, and officers made proclamations, for the conveniency of the people’s better hearing.
Simple; ignorant, and weak, and subject to delusion, and willing to learn; to show that wisdom rejects those scholars who are proud and self-conceited.
Understanding, Heb. heart, which signifies understanding, Jeremiah 5:21; Hosea 7:11.
The foolish, i.e. the wicked, and their courses and society: you must either forsake them or me, for we are irreconcilable enemies.
In the way of understanding; which leads to it, and is prescribed by it.
He that reproveth a scorner: the connexion may be conceived thus, Having invited the simple, he forbids the invitation of scorners; or thus, He showeth who he meant by the foolish, Proverbs 9:6, even scorners and wicked men, as they are here called; and he presseth his last advice of forsaking them, because there was no good, but hurt, to be got by conversation with them.
Getteth to himself shame; partly from the scorner, who will revile and deride him; and partly from others, because he is frustrated in his design and hope, and by his imprudence hath brought an inconvenience upon himself.
A blot; a censure or reproach.
Reprove not a scorner; an obstinate and incorrigible sinner, who scornfully rejects and despiseth the means of amendment. Thus physicians deny physic to persons in desperate condition.
Lest he hate thee; whereby thou wilt not only expose thyself without necessity to his malice and rage, but also make thyself utterly uncapable of doing him that good which possibly thou mightest do by other more prudent and proper means.
Rebuke a wise man; who is opposed to the scorner, to intimate that scorners, howsoever they are thought by themselves or others to be witty or wise, yet in God’s account, and in truth, are fools.
He will love thee; both for that faithfulness and charity which he perceiveth in thee, and for that benefit which he receiveth from thee.
Give instruction: in the Hebrew it is only give; for as receiving is put for learning, Proverbs 1:3, so giving is put for teaching, both in Scripture and in other authors; of which see my Latin Synopsis.
A just man; called a wise man in the former branch, to intimate that good men are the only wise men.
Of the holy; either,
1. Of holy men, whether such as all saints learn, or rather such as the holy men of God, the servants of this wisdom, teach from God’s word; or rather,
2. Of holy things, the Hebrew word being here taken in the neuter gender, as it is Numbers 5:17, and elsewhere; for this seems best to answer to
the fear of the Lord in the other branch.
Is understanding; is the only true, and necessary, and useful knowledge.
Thou shalt be wise for thyself; thou dost not profit me, but thyself by it; I advise thee for thine own good.
Thou alone shalt bear it; the blame and mischief of it falls wholly upon thee, not upon me, or my word, or ministers who have warned thee.
A foolish woman; by which he understands, either,
1. Folly, which is opposite to that wisdom of which he hath been so long discoursing; and so it may include all wickedness, either in principle, as idolatry, heresy, &c., or in practice. Or,
2. The harlot; which, with submission, seems most probable to me, partly because all the following description exactly agrees to her, especially what is said Proverbs 9:17, as also Proverbs 9:18, which in effect was said of the harlot before, Proverbs 2:18; Proverbs 5:5; and partly because such transitions from discoursing of wisdom, to a discourse of harlots, are frequent in Solomon, as we have seen, Proverbs 2:16; Proverbs 5:3; Proverbs 7:5.
Is clamorous; speaks loudly, that she may be heard; and vehemently, that persons might be moved by her persuasions.
Knoweth nothing; to wit, aright, nothing that is good, nothing for her good, though she be subtle in little artifices for her own wicked ends.
Which notes her idleness and impudence, and diligence in watching for occasions of sin.
Who were going innocently and directly about their business without any unchaste design; for others needed none of those invitations or offers, but went to her of their own accord. And besides, such lewd persons take a greater pleasure in corrupting the innocent.
Simple; which title is not given to them by her, for such a reproach would not have allured them, but driven them away; but by Solomon, who represents the matter of her invitation in his own words, that he might discover the truth of the business, and thereby dissuade and deter those whom she invited.
Stolen waters; by which he understandeth, either,
1. Idolatry, or other wickednesses, which in Solomon’s time before his fall were publicly forbidden and punished, but privately practised; or rather,
Are sweet; partly, from the difficulty of obtaining them; partly, from the art which men use in contriving such secret sins; and partly, because the very prohibition renders it more grateful to corrupt nature.
Knoweth not, i.e. he doth not consider it seriously, whereby he proveth his folly.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 9". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13