posted on Mar, 1 2019 @ 04:59 PM
“Ever since racing began, fast women and slow horses have combined to ruin the
impressionable young male”.
The Times, London. Opening sentence of a story about the first female (or first winning female, or something similar) professional jockey in
The collector of the Old Testament Proverbs makes his purpose clear from the beginning.
“That men may know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight” (ch1 v2).
Then he further defines this wisdom as “fear of the Lord” (v7). This phrase, when used in the Bible, means respect and willingness to obey.
I’m studying the different characters of Proverbs, as one way of organising and understanding the teaching.
The first character in this book was Wisdom, who teaches the true knowledge, “the fear of the Lord”.
The second is her rival and counterpart, the Foolish Woman.
She appears in the character of a “loose woman”, the kind of woman the gossiping wives used to call “no better than she should be”.
This is because she “forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God” (ch2 v17).
She is a spiritual adulteress, in that she has cut loose from the God of righteousness, her true husband.
Wisdom was offering true knowledge openly, as a public proclamation.
Foolishness has a different approach.
Foolishness can be compared with an adulterous woman, seducing men into wrongdoing.
She sits at the door of her house, hoping to entice the passers-by and induce them to come in.
Or she might spread her net further afield, wandering the streets;
“I have perceived among the youths, a young man without sense, passing along the street near her corner…
And lo, a woman meets him, dressed as a harlot…
She is loud and wayward, her feet do not stay at home…and at every corner she lies in wait.
She seizes him and kisses him, and with impudent face she says to him…
‘I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you…
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come us take our fill of love till morning”.
But what about her husband?
As an Ulsterwoman said to my father (he used to allege); “Me man’s away to Ballynahinch, d’ye naw?”
Or, in this case, “My husband has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home” (ch7 vv4-20).
With this reassurance, the young man follows her “as an ox goes to the slaughter”.
The previous chapter was warning men about the mortal danger of literal adultery;
“For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge” (ch6 v34).
But the man who listens to the Foolish Woman is detaching himself from God’s Wisdom, with results which are more serious.
Wisdom would have taught him to “fear the Lord”, but the foolish Woman is teaching him not[ to fear the Lord.
“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant”.
But the young man does not know “that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol” (ch9 vv17-18).
That is the effect of rejecting the Lord’s righteousness, known in this book as Wisdom.
“Wisdom builds her own house, but folly with her own hands tears it down” (ch14 v1).