Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
In this chapter we have set before us the very different proposals of wisdom and folly. And we are shewn no less, how certainly the former leads to happiness, and the latter to misery.
Proverbs 9:1-6 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, 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.
We must still behold Christ under the office character of Wisdom, proclaiming grace and a fulness of blessings to his church and people. The house here said to be built with seven pillars, and the feast here said to be furnished, and the invitation sent forth for guests with the blessedness of those who accept thereof, and are made the partakers of it; these are plain representations of the gospel fulness, and the infinite mercy provided for poor sinners in Jesus. The house which Jesus hath built in the body of his temple, is the whole church at large; and the seven pillars spoken of, whether intended as an indefinite number to represent the whole, or referring by any allusion to what is said of the seven spirits which are said to be before the throne, the sense is the same. The Holy Ghost hath explained the whole of this subject to the church, when saying by his servant Paul, that it is built upon the foundation of the apostles, and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. Ephesians 2:20-21. And that Christ, the Wisdom-Mediator hath prepared and built the whole, the Holy, Ghost confirmed, when drawing a comparison between Moses as a servant in his house, and Christ as the Lord of this house; and determining the glory of Christ therefrom as proving his Godhead by having built all things. Hebrews 3:3-4. Perhaps by the seven pillars may be intended to represent the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Ghost. Revelation 1:4. And we know that the whole gospel is uniformly represented throughout the Bible, under the similitude of a rich feast. Jesus hath prepared it, and it is he which giveth it. He hath mingled it also. For here is his body broken, and his blood shed; his flesh being meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed, to all that partake. And it is mingled as the paschal feast, which was typical of it set forth; for it is received by faith with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. A whole unleavened Christ into a broken, leavened, contrite heart. The righteousness, peace, and, joy, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, are the blessed food of the soul, received, and lived upon by faith; when the poor sinner is made to see and feel his need, and turns in at wisdom's gracious invitation to the rich table. Isaiah 25:6-8; Exodus 12:7; Exo_12:12; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8. The servants sent forth to call in the guests correspond to the gospel call by the ministers, and the plentiful means adopted to bring in the objects, for whom both the house and the feast are prepared: namely, the poor and the needy, the wretched and the miserable. Luke 14:16-24
He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a 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: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.
These are so many various ways of setting forth the happy consequences of those, that at wisdom's call are made wise unto salvation, They find all the blessed effects of that grace in the heart, in following what is here said, and giving themselves up to the guidance of wisdom.
A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing. For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call passengers who go right on their ways: Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
We have in these verses the contrast to what was given in the former part of the chapter. Under the figure of a foolish woman, meaning ignorance altogether, is set forth the rival of Christ, the god of this world, blending the human mind with the delusions of his several temptations. 2 Corinthians 4:4. The similitude of sitting at the door of her house to call passengers, who are going the right way, to turn aside, and the proposals she makes of stolen waters and bread in secret; these are most apt representations of the devices of Satan. For I would have the Reader observe that the call here given, is given to such as are going the right way. Yes! Satan never gives any interruption to his servants, while going the wrong way in his drudgery. While the strong man armed keepeth the palace, the goods are in peace. Luke 11:21. But if wisdom's call be heard among the household of Satan, where the Lord Jesus causeth it to be heard, for we all, (saith an apostle,) had our conversation in times past with the children of disobedience. Ephesians 2:2-3. No sooner doth a poor sinner attempt to run out of his kingdom, than all hell is up in arms to bring him back. And what a correspondence is here made of stolen waters and bread in secret, rendered pleasant to the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. 1 John 2:16. And how surely are the wages of sin death. Romans 6:23.
READER! do not too hastily dismiss this chapter. Can anything be more happily chosen to represent the path of grace, and the broad road of destruction, than the very different representations here made. Pause, and contemplate the vast distinction between them. Behold the house, the feast, the fatness, fulness, and eternal duration of those provisions which Jesus hath made for them that love him. Behold the wretched, empty, unsatisfying, deceitful, and stolen pleasures which sin proposeth; and do not forget the close of all; the dead are there, and her guests in the depths of hell.
Oh! for grace to hear wisdom's voice. Oh! blessed Jesus, let thy seven pillars resting upon thyself be the foundation of my house; and thy table the one at which my soul may daily sit by grace here, and in glory eternally hereafter. And do thou, Lord, I pray thee, who hast spread all, furnished all, mingled all, and given freely all, without money and without price; give me every suited preparation to enjoy all, that I may never listen to the noise of the clamorous women, but be unceasingly eating of thy bread and drinking of the wine which thou hast mingled. Yea, Lord, may my whole soul be so hungering, and thirsting, and longing for the everlasting enjoyment of thee, that daily by faith here, and ere long in the fruition of thee in glory, I may live to thee, and with thee, and upon thee forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 9 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/proverbs-9.html. 1828.
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9