Reflecting on Proverbs 9 1-6, 8-10, 13-18

We are studying Proverbs 9:1-6, 8-10, and 13-18, for Sunday, June 28 – the conclusion to the introductory section of the book of Proverbs, and of our study of this part of the Biblical wisdom literature. [Some notes on the text are here.] Here are some questions we might want to consider as we study the text, on our own or in class:

Compare Wisdom’s speech in Proverbs 9 with the speech in Proverbs 1 we looked at a few weeks ago. What is similar? What is different?

Has Wisdom changed anything about her approach between chapter 1 and chapter 9? How would we describe the change – if we think something has changed?

Whether or not we think anything has changed, do the two speeches give us a different impression of Wisdom? Of Wisdom’s intentions for humanity? How? Why, do we think?

[More complicated, but not really purely theoretical.] Both Wisdom and Folly address an audience that is “simple,” or “naïve,” that is, people who might be easily led to do something injurious because they fail to appreciate “what could go wrong” or “this is too good to be true.” Folly is described in this way herself in verse 13 (the word translated “ignorant.”)

In our culture, we tend to portray “sophistication” or “experience” as the opposite of “naïveté,” and we tend to think of someone “naïve” as also “innocent” and relatively “harmless.” Does our text give us any different perspective on this common assumption? How? Why?

Can wisdom be gained without “learning from experience?” How? Does our text suggest an answer or answers? What answer or answers?

The portraits of Wisdom and Folly are not detailed, but suggestive. Do we have images of the two figures in our minds eye from these portraits? What images are they? Where do these images seem to come from – can we tell?

Do these images seem to tell us something about the text, do we think? Do they tell us something about ourselves as readers of the text, do we think? Do they tell us something about wisdom and folly, do we think? Or, is there any chance they obscure our vision of wisdom and of folly? What do we think? Why?

Do verses 7-10 imply that some kinds of people (“scoffers,” “the wicked”) cannot be taught, do we think? Why, or why not?

What does this mean for these people, do we think?

[More personal] What does this mean for us, do we think?

Men in conversation

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