In the last chapter we saw a steamy scene in which folly, represented by a wayward woman, leads a young man away from the paths of righteousness into a slippery slope that leads to his ultimate destruction. Now as we begin the twelfth discourse, another woman, Lady Wisdom, seeks to lead us toward the paths of wisdom, a road that goes to a much better place.
She is pictured at the place where the paths meet near the city gate, calling out to all mankind urging them to listen to her message. (1-5) She tells the people that her words are trustworthy, true, right and just, as she contrasts them with what is wicked, crooked or perverse; her teachings are right. She will provide knowledge and wisdom which are better than silver, gold or rubies. (6-11)
Next she tells us about herself: She dwells with prudence, and has knowledge and discretion. (12) She abhors pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech because she fears the LORD and that is to “hate evil.” (13) Then she tells us what she has to offer:
Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
I have insight, I have power.
By me kings reign
and rulers issue decrees that are just;
by me princes govern,
and nobles—all who rule on earth. (14-16)
She loves those who love her and those who seek her will find her, and when they do they will receive riches and honor. (17-18) Switching metaphors, she compares herself to a tree (cf. 3:18) that yields superior fruit. This tree of wisdom yields fruit that is better than the purest gold or silver, for it yields righteousness and justice; treasures better than mere earthly riches can ever be. (19-21)
In verses 22-29, Lady Wisdom tells the people that she has been around since the very beginning of time before the creation was complete, and then she says something very interesting:
Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind. (30-31)
This reminds me of the way that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden. They walked and talked with God, they enjoyed His presence, and they delighted in Him and He in them. Of course, they eventually took a different path, the path of folly. In our passage, here is Lady Wisdom calling humanity to return to the paths of God: Who will heed her call?
The chapter ends with wisdom’s exhortation to follow her ways, to receive her gifts, to follow the paths of righteousness and the ways of life; to reject the ways that lead to death. Does this remind you of someone?
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.