The Bible – Old Testament
1 Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns;
She has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table.
2 She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here; to him who lacks understanding, I say,
Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied and the years of your life increased.”
He who corrects an arrogant man earns insult; and he who reproves a wicked man incurs opprobrium.
Reprove not an arrogant man, lest he hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Instruct a wise man, and he becomes still wiser; teach a just man, and he advances in learning.
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
If you are wise, it is to your own advantage; and if you are arrogant, you alone shall bear it.
The woman Folly is fickle, she is inane, and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house upon a seat on the city heights,
Calling to passers-by as they go on their straight way:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here, or who lacks understanding; for to him I say,
3 Stolen water is sweet, and bread gotten secretly is pleasing!”
4 Little he knows that the shades are there, that in the depths of the nether world are her guests!
1 [1-6,13-18] Wisdom and folly are represented as matrons, each inviting people to her banquet. Wisdom offers the food and drink of divine doctrine and virtue which give life (⇒ Proverb 9:1-6). Unstable and senseless folly furnishes the stolen bread and water of deceit and vice which bring death to her guests.
2  She calls: i.e., indirectly, through her maidens; but the text could also mean that wisdom herself publicly proclaims her invitation.
3  The secrecy implies wrongdoing.
4  The banquet chamber of folly is a tomb from which no one who enters it is released.