By Pastor Bryce
For me, I interpret this chapter as “Good Cop Bad Cop.” I love this chapter because it is a clear contrast of the characteristics of a wise person, as opposed to someone who is foolish. The first obvious thing that jumps out at me is, seeing as 2/3 of this chapter is about wisdom, and 1/3 is about folly, it obviously takes a lot of work to walk in the way of wisdom.
The first thing we see is “wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.” This is symbolically saying it takes a lot of work to lay a firm foundation. The wise person takes the time for preparation of what matters. “She slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she also has set her table.” A foolish person would rather save time and energy and take what is not theirs. “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” One thing that we often times see is the “somethin for nothin” mentality and this verse touches on that. One humorous example that comes to mind for me is the age of cell phones. When I was growing up, I was not allowed to have a cell phone unless I paid for it. This meant I had to, heaven forbid, get a job at 16! So, I worked as much as I could to pay for this cell phone, along with car insurance. Times are a lot different today! At 16, I had a flip-phone that I had to work for! Today, there are middle school students that EXPECT their parents to give them an iPhone! What?? I know I showed my age with this reference; however, it’s just a small example of how the American culture has shifted from working for necessities, to demanding ______.
There are many contrasts that could be talked about between wisdom and folly, but the last one that really stuck out to me is from verse 8. “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” A wiseman suppresses pride at all costs for the goal of gaining wisdom. For instance, if someone came up to me and said “Bryce, knock this aspect of your life off, or you’re most likely going to lose your job.” The wise person would say, “Thank you for that. I hate hearing it, but I know you’re right.” The foolish person would say, “Whatever, man! You don’t know my life or anything about me. I’m just fine the way I am.” Sadly, the way of folly always leads to destruction. In verse 18, it says, “But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” He that follows wisdom finds life. He that follows folly finds destruction.