Good morning! One of the most compelling yet unknown characters of Hebrew Scripture is Wisdom from the book of Proverbs, and we learn much more about her in today’s reading, Proverbs 7-9. She’s been part of our readings the past several days, but Proverbs 8 in particular gives us her voice directly, calling all who live to seek after the wisdom of creation itself.
We start out today with the continued theme of the loose woman who wants to lead people astray. The writer creates a hypothetical story in Proverbs 7 of a foolish young man who doesn’t know better and gets ensnared by Folly. This is the mortal danger of naiveté, underscoring the importance of seeking out Wisdom. Personified as an earnest woman in Proverbs 8, Wisdom sincerely seeks out the best for everyone she talks to. All good things come from wisdom—riches and righteousness as well. While we have creation stories in Genesis and in the Psalms, here we read about Wisdom’s role in creation. We might speak of Wisdom as the underlying laws of the universe, even apart from all the ways she orders and improves human lives. By contrast to Woman Folly in Proverbs 7, by the time we get to chapter 9 Woman Wisdom is the one who has prepared a rest for passersby, including the simple. Those who are looking for biblical examples of positive feminine imagery for God need look no further than these chapters in Proverbs, where Woman Wisdom is present at creation itself and blesses all who follow her with good, long life. Folly is also personified as a woman so there’s nothing essentially better about one gender or another, but modern efforts at (finally) recognizing the full contributions of women in human society can take courage from such an extended positive treatment of Woman Wisdom. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Proverbs 10-11. Thanks for reading!