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Lady Wisdom’s Banquet

How Proverbs 9 points to greater spiritual realities.

In Proverbs 9, wisdom is depicted as a woman preparing a banquet at her house for those who are “simple” and “lack understanding” (v.4). In her preparations “she has slaughtered her meat, she has mixed her wine, and she has also furnished her table” for a great feast (v.2).

Evidently, this banquet was to be no ordinary meal. Indeed, in Biblical times freshly butchered meat was a mark of a feast and “when a feast was special, a homemaker would add aromatic spices to the wine”[1] to make it even tastier. This is probably what the writer of this Proverb has in mind when he says that wisdom has “mixed” (NKJV, ESV) or “mingled” (KJV, ASV) her wine. Also, this portrayal of wisdom holding a great banquet for the lost is a very fitting and powerful image of greater spiritual realities.

First, notice that in this Proverb Lady Wisdom is placed in direct juxtaposition with Lady Folly. “While wisdom is busy attending to every detail like a gracious hostess, the foolish woman sits at the entrance of her house with very little to do (v.14).”[2] Further, the banquet prepared by Lady Wisdom is meant to attract the simple just as the perfumed bed prepared by the adulteress woman is meant to attract the same in.[3] But while wisdom’s food leads to life (v.6), folly’s food leads to death (v.18). Thus, wisdom’s invitation counters the enticement of sinners.[4]

“But while wisdom’s food leads to life (v.6), folly’s food leads to death (v.18).

Proverbs 9:6, 18

This theme permeates the Scriptures. Throughout the Bible God consistently gives human beings two choices: The path to life or the path to death. God always entreats His image bearers to “turn and live” (Ezekiel 18:32). However, this banquet motif is especially appropriate since the “prophetic pictures of the kingdom of God in the NT are often stated as times of feasting (Matt. 26:29; Acts 10:41; et. al.).”[5] Furthermore, just as wisdom offers up her food and drink, so too does Christ offer up His bread, which is His body, and His wine, which is His blood (John 6:53-56). Jesus Christ, God incarnate, is the very embodiment of wisdom according to Isaiah 11:2 (see also Luke 2:40, 52) and those who partake of His food and drink will never hunger or thirst again. They will live forever. So, the food and drink offered by wisdom in Proverbs 9 is the very same food and drink offered by Christ Jesus.

And this image of Lady Wisdom preparing a very tasty feast with freshly slaughtered meat and wine mixed with spices reminds us of the Psalmist’s words: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).

 

Ryan Hembree | June 18, 2021 – 1:20 PM EST


[1] NKJV Study Bible, Prov. 9:2,3
[2] Ibid.
[3] NIV Study Notes, Prov. 9:2
[4] Ibid., Prov. 9:5
[5] Encyclopedia of the Bible, Banquet.