Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Proverbs 8-9

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

8:1-21 - Wisdom calls and raises her voice. She stands on the heights, beside the way and on the crossroads, and outside the city gates. She cries out to the people. Learn prudence and acquire intelligence. She will speak noble things and only the right will come out, nothing twisted and crooked. All of her words are right to those who find knowledge. Her words are worth more than silver, gold, jewels or anything you could desire. Wisdom hates pride, arrogance, the evil way and perverted speech. By her kings and rulers rule and govern rightly. Wisdom loves those who love her and who seek her diligently. Riches and honor are with her and she endows with wealth all who walk with her.
8:22-36 - The Lord created Wisdom at the beginning. She was created before God had created anything else, including the earth and the heavens. Wisdom stood beside Him as a master worker "and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race." Listen to Wisdom, for those who do are happy in their ways. Those who find Wisdom find life and obtain the Lord's favor, and all who hate Wisdom love death.

9:1-6 - "Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in town. 'You who are simple, turn in here!' To those without sense she says, 'Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.'"
9:13-18 - "The foolish woman is loud; she is ignorant and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the high places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, 'You, who are simple, turn in here!' and to those without sense she says, 'Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.' But they do not know that the dead are there, and her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

My Comments

Holy shit can I get through ONE reading of Proverbs without having to read about loose, whorish women and the death and destruction they bring upon men?! Just once?!

The only thing I found weird in chapter 8 was the whole Wisdom being a mast worker thing. What exactly was she a master worker on? Because no where does it mention her helping God build anything, she just kinda sits there. I guess her master work was her being God's "daily delight" (which just makes me think of "afternoon delights" and that's just kinda skeezy) and rejoicing before him always. I swear, God has a huge fucking worship complex. He couldn't WAIT to be worshiped so He had to create a being before He made anything else that would sit there and pat Him on the fucking back while He created the world. Wow, Wisdom sure is amazing. All that praising and back patting must have been really arduous work. I'm glad she was there to fill that very important role in creation.

And does this technically count as a third different retelling of the creation myth or would you just count it as a simple addition to the story? I can't decide if this actually contradicts the other two stories. What do you readers think?

Did anyone else notice the strange parallels in chapter 9 between Wisdom and the adulteress? Because I sure did. Wisdom sits outside her house and in the highest place and yells out to passers by that they are simple and should turn in or that they should come in and have some bread and wine with her. So why it is all wise and awesome when wisdom does it, but when this other unnamed women does it suddenly her place is death and her guests are in the depths of Sheol. Seriously, what the fuck? Did they mean for the two stories to be so alike? Or was it an accident? Are they trying to say that some women will try to disguise themselves as Wisdom to trick men into their spider's den? Is that the point? Does this make Wisdom a "foolish" woman because she herself is loud and stands outside gates and on roads calling to wayward men to come to her that they may find knowledge and God? Which seems like an odd thing to suddenly say since we just had all of chapter 8 talking about how awesome she is.

I originally thought well maybe they ARE saying Wisdom is a fool because in most of the lengthy descriptions we've read about Wisdom being awesome and the path to riches have been spoken by Wisdom herself. Most of the time those are direct quotes from Wisdom, like she's just sitting there blowing her own horn. So I thought well maybe they do think Wisdom is too full of herself and foolish because she sits around yelling at everyone about how awesome she is.

But that doesn't quite work because Proverbs 3 and 4 both contain verses where a man, not Wisdom, is speaking about her greatness and the need to "take hold" of her (take note that it is only the men who have used such physical language when talking about Wisdom; Wisdom herself does not use this same language when talking about herself) so I don't think this is the case necessarily. Maybe if this kind of parallel between Wisdom and a loose woman comes up again then we'll have more information and context to work with.

Right now, though, if I had to make a call I think what it's trying to get at is that normal women who are unwitting destroyers of men can disguise themselves as Wisdom and take on her ways and lead men astray. Therefore men have to be extra on guard so that they may not be deceived by these women as well, who use the guise of Wisdom in order to lure men to their death.

Really, though, I'm just tired of reading chapter after chapter about how evil women are and why they need to be kept in check by men. The Bible would really be much, much shorter if they just cut out all the redundant bits.

Friday: More Proverbs, not sure how many chapters yet. It looks like we're going to start in on wise saying of Solomon, so we may be abandoning Wisdom and "loose" women all together. SO I may end up reading more than a couple of chapters if there turns out to be a serious lack of women (which I'm suspecting is going to happen).


  1. But, but, but ... the redundant bits are what provide independent confirmation of itself to show it's internally consistent where it doesn't contradict itself.

  2. If I repeat the contradictions enough they'll start making sense, right?




  3. Good observations about the polarity of women in Proverbs...and about the absent "master work" wisdom. The sexism in these chapters of Proverbs was never so apparent to me as it is now.

  4. If Wisdom had been depicted as a man, Proverbs would be denounced as sexist.

    If Wisdom depicted as a woman, Proverbs is denounced as sexist.

    Wisdom loses no matter what gender it appears in.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  5. It is not the fact that Wisdom is a woman that makes it sexist, it is HOW she is depicted that makes it sexist.


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