13 The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house;
she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
15 calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way,
16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
And to him who lacks sense she says,
17 “Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Folly is presented in comparison and contrast to Wisdom. Both have a house; both call out from high places; both call to the simple. Yet unlike Wisdom, Folly is merely loud, not wise. She knows nothing. Wisdom possesses ancient knowledge from her close relation to God the Maker. Folly’s sitting at the high places displays her impudence; she sits where she has no right. Whereas Wisdom calls to the simple in order to deliver them from their foolish ways, Folly calls out to the simple precisely because they are so easily led into such ways. Wisdom appeals to the simple to eat of her bread and drink of her wine, which nourish and refreshes the mind and soul; Folly presents what is stolen as sweet. It may well taste sweet for the moment, but Folly is leading her simple followers to their death. Wisdom offers life.
Who will be chosen by the fool? Verses 7-12 observe it will be Folly. We shake our heads at such foolishness, but we need to ask ourselves how often we have chosen Folly as well. We choose what will give us a rush. When our lives become routine, we look for some kind of adventure that stirs us, some kind of escape from our troubles and boredom. Folly understands that. That’s the basis of her appeal about stolen water and bread eaten in secret.
How do we resist her? Self-control helps to a degree, but it gives in after time. What we need to do is grasp the adventure that belongs to any who would follow Wisdom. Remember, Wisdom is a companion of God who created the world with all its mysteries and awe-inspiring beauty. Wisdom leads to life, which is not mere avoidance of death; it is life abundant; it is life that has meaning, that produces what is of real value. It is a life that leads unto glory.
When we turn to Christ, we enter into the kingdom of God which moves forward in mysterious ways, winning converts and battling against the forces of evil such as Folly and the Forbidden Woman. Souls are at stake, and God gives to us the privilege to join in the battle. He gives to us the privilege to be builders of the kingdom. He gives us the joy to be explorers of his nature and of his grace; to search far and wide his ways and how his counsels are being carried out. The one who is able to withstand Folly as she calls out, is the one too excited, too busy, too devoted for Christ and for his kingdom.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org