We are simple, but how do we make the right choice?
Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars; She has slaughtered her meat, She has mixed her wine, She has also furnished her table. She has sent out her maidens, She cries out from the highest places of the city,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
“Come, eat of my bread And drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.”
He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”
A foolish woman is clamorous; She is simple, and knows nothing. For she sits at the door of her house, On a seat by the highest places of the city, To call to those who pass by, Who go straight on their way:
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
“Stolen water is sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of hell.— Proverbs 9:1-18 NKJV
This chapter is interesting in that Solomon wrote of both Wisdom (i.e., the Holy Spirit of G-d) and of an adulterous woman that provided a similar greeting. Both say “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.” When reading this I ask the question, how is someone supposed to distinguish between the two when they appear to be the same? Even when looking at the Hebrew word used for simple, it is the same exact Hebrew word. So what is Solomon saying?
Since the Hebrew word is the same, we can say that the simple person is available to both choices. This is comforting to know that those who are simple minded, while they may naturally choose the invitation of the adulteress, they also have the choice of Wisdom. Both of these choices are simple enough for those who are simple. So how does a simple minded person know the right choice? Let’s look closer at the text.
The initial greeting from both is the same “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here.”, but the place from where the message comes is different. Wisdom cries out from the highest places of the city, while the adulteress cries out from a seat by the highest places of the city. This is the first key indicator. When we are invited to participate in something, where is that invitation coming from?
The next thing we want to look at is the next part of their invitation. Wisdom says to those who lack understanding “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.” This is a great invitation. As for the foolish woman, she invites those who lack understanding with the following greeting, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” This invitation is very different than that of Wisdom’s. The second part of the invitation in an invitation to sin. She spews out a lie that stolen necessities are sweet. She also says that things done in secret are pleasant. We have one who invites us to forsake sin and other is luring us to sin.
We have to be careful what we allow ourselves to get involved in. We are all simple and can fall prey to the deceptions of the enemy. However, we are all simple and can partake in Wisdom’s invitation. We have a choice that is simple if we just look at some details. We have to look at the whole picture. Where is the invitation coming from? Is the invitation from the original source from where Wisdom resides or from something that is only by the source and is an imitation? Next, what is the invitation for? Is it for edification unto holiness or for temporal satisfaction that is sin leading to death?
We must be careful, but the choice is simple for us all.