Scripture Focus: Proverbs 9.1-6; 13-18
1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has set up its seven pillars.
2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servants, and she calls
from the highest point of the city,
4 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
5 “Come, eat my food
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of insight.”
13 Folly is an unruly woman;
she is simple and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who pass by,
who go straight on their way,
16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.
Reflection: RSVP to Wisdom or Folly
By John Tillman
Two banquets are prepared.
Two invitations go out.
Two hostesses beckon.
Which banquet will you enter? Who gets your RSVP?
In Proverbs 9 the character of Lady Wisdom has prepared a banquet for the simple, for anyone who will come. There is no cost. There is no requirement other than to enter and be transformed from simple to wise.
Lady Folly mimics Lady Wisdom. She positions herself in the same location. She targets the same market. She calls to the people in a similar way. She offers food and drink as well, saying “Stolen water is sweet,” (As if Lady Wisdom’s was not free of charge). It would be easy to fall into a dualistic view of these women, as if their powers, intentions, and offers were roughly equivalent. However, as much as Lady Folly may try, the contrast between them is stark. They are nothing alike.
Lady Folly, sits by her door, waiting for the lazy, the foolish, and the senseless. Lady Folly implies that her stolen water is sweet and free for the taking, but she conceals that it is drugged—poisoned! The guest of honor, at the head of the table, is death. Rather than experience freedom or life Lady Folly’s guests are being murdered. They will be left for dead on the floor.
Lady Wisdom stands, serving all who come with honor. Her food and drink are homemade, lovingly prepared. Lady Wisdom’s banquet is better than free. It comes with benefits. Learning and insight are the side dishes and walking in the way of life is the dessert. At the head of the table, the guest of honor is the Lord, the Holy One. Those who dine with him will forever be with the Lord.
In a metaphorical poem, like this one, the choice of which banquet to attend is only made once. Choose wisely, and the story ends happily and forever after. However, we relive and repeat this story every day, perhaps multiple times a day. This means that even those who were victimized by folly, can choose this day to attend (in both senses of the word) to wisdom.
Each day and each moment, Lady Wisdom calls out to us and Lady Folly’s voice tries to drown out her call.
Every day we receive two invitations. One to Lady Folly’s banquet of death. One to Lady Wisdom’s banquet of life. By God’s grace, choose life.
From John: As we talk about Lady Folly and Lady Wisdom this week, we’ll share this poem dramatizing the two ladies. It’s worth the repetition and meditation.
Music: “Again and One Mo’ Time” Aaron Smith
Divine Hours Prayer: The Morning Psalm
Happy are they who dwell in your house! They will always be praising you…For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. — Psalm 84.3, 9
Read more about Lady Folly
The seductress…Lady Folly. The woman is crafty. She is wealthy and intelligent. She has an aim and meticulously sets her trap.
Read more about The Undeserved Banquet of the Gospel
Christ invites all to the banquet. We will surprise someone by being there, and be surprised in return.