9 Lady Wisdom has built her house; she has supported it with seven pillars. 2 She’s prepared a feast: She’s slaughtered her animals, poured a spiced wine, and set her table. 3 She has sent out her servants with the invitation to come to the party; she, too, calls out from the highest point of the city:
4 Lady Wisdom: Whoever is young and gullible, turn in here. You are welcome in this place!
Then, turning to those who are naive, she says:
5 Lady Wisdom:Come in. Come, eat my bread, and drink my spiced wine. 6 Give up your gullible ways, your naive thoughts, for true life. Set your course for understanding.
7 Whoever tries to discipline a scoffer should expect a hail of insults in return. Whoever tries to correct an evildoer is likely to get hurt in the process. 8 So do not correct a scoffer unless you are ready to be hated, but correct the wise and you will be loved. 9 Give instruction to the wise, and they will become wiser. Teach upstanding people, and they will learn even more. 10 Reverence for the Eternal, the one True God, is the beginning of wisdom; true knowledge of the Holy One is the start of understanding.
11 Lady Wisdom: Through me your days will be lengthened, and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, wisdom is its own reward. If you mock what you don’t understand, you alone will suffer the consequences.
13 Compared to Wisdom, the Lady Folly is rowdy and loud, naive and ignorant. 14 She sits by the door of her house, on a bench at the highest place in the city,
Lady Wisdom has built a house, prepared a feast, and now invites the young, the simple, and the naive to come to her party. She wants her house full of guests and spilling over with life, yet hers is not the only invitation. There is competition in the streets. Another woman vies for the attention of the young and impressionable. She, too, wants her house full, but of deceit and seduction; and when it is, death and misery join the revelry.
Wisdom addresses a broad audience. First, there are the wise who already know and worship the one True God, who do what is right in God’s eyes, and who experience the resulting benefits. They need only to be reminded about God’s ways. Second, there are the mockers and fools who reject God’s teaching and consistently do what is wrong in spite of its consequences. They need to be confronted and called to change their ways. Finally, there are the naive who straddle the fence, one day going this way, another day going that way. Wisdom extends herself to reach them, to point clearly toward the decision they have to make.
15 Crooning to passersby who hurry straight on to their destinations:
16 Lady Folly: Whoever is young and gullible, turn in here. You are welcome in this place!
Then, she turns to the naive.
17 Lady Folly: Stolen water tastes so much sweeter! Bread secreted away is much more satisfying to eat!
18 But those who pause to listen to Lady Folly do not know death is the next stop, that her guests are walking cadavers.
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