The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Haydock Bible Commentary on Proverbs 9:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2015

Text in red are my additions.

1 WISDOM hath built herself a house, she hath hewn her out seven pillars.

House. The sacred humanity, (S. Ignat. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xvii. 20.) or the Church. S. Greg. Mor. xxxiii. 15.—Here we may receive all instruction, the seven sacraments, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Pleasure had mentioned here attractions: now those of true wisdom are set before us. C.—God sent his pastors at all times, to invite people to embrace the latter. They are all included in the number seven, both before and under the law, as well as in the gospel, where S. Paul styles SS. Peter, James, and John, pillars. Gal. 2. This is the literal sense, on which the mystical is grounded, and both are intended by the Holy Ghost, intimating that the uncreated wisdom took flesh of the blessed Virgin, prepared the table of bread and wine, as Priest according to the order of Melchisedec, and chose the weak of this world to confound the strong, as S. Aug. explain this passage. Sup. and q. 51. W.

2 She hath slain her victims, mingled her wine, and set forth her table.

Victims. Moses ordered the blood to be poured out at the door of the tabernacle, and a part given to the priests, after which the rest might be taken away. The like was probably done at Jerusalem. Lev. 17:4. These victims are contrasted with those of pleasure. c. 7:14.—Mingled. It was not customary for any but barbarians and the gods to take pure wine. Some mixed two, others three, five, or even twenty parts of water. But the scholiast of Aristophanes says, the best method was to have three parts water, and two of wine. Mercury complains that his wine was half water. Arist. Plut. v. Sun. i.—The Fathers often apply this text to the feast of Jesus Christ in the blessed Eucharist. C.—S. Cyprian (ep. iii.) citeth the whole passage of Christ’s sacrifice in the forms of bread and wine. W.

3 She hath sent her maids to invite to the tower, and to the walls of the city:

Maids. Sept. “servant men,” the pastors of the church, inviting all to piety in so public a manner, that none can plead ignorance. S. Greg. C.—To invite. Prot. “she crieth upon the highest places of the city.” H.—Christ enjoins his apostles to preach on the roofs. Matt. 10:37.

4 Whosoever is a little one, let him come to me. And to the unwise she said:

Little one. Simple, but not inconstant, like children. 1 Cor. 14:20. Pleasure addresses the same, (c. 7:7) but for their destruction. C.

5 Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. ‎

Bread was, along with water, the stay and staff of life in ancient Israel (Isaiah 3:1). An abundance of wine signified divine blessing (Prov 3:9-10, Deut 7:13). Bread and wine supplied enough to dine on adequately (Judges 19:19; cf. Lam 2:12).  It is not hard to see how the image came to symbolize spiritual sustenance (Isa 55:1-3). In the present context it seems to symbolize the benefits of wisdom (see Sir 15:3).Of special note is the benefit of “life” and “prudence” in verse 6.

Note how “Lady Wisdom” speaks of “My” bread and wine. This stands in marked contrast to “Lady Folly” who, like Lady Wisdom, also invites little ones to eat and drink (compare 4-5 with 16-17). But it is water (not wine!) that is stolen, and bread acquired surreptitiously (see verses 13-18). 

6 Forsake childishness, and live, and walk by the ways of prudence.

The meal Lady Wisdom offers is here related to prudence, protection against Lady Folly. It gives life, unlike Folly’s banquet that leads to death (verse 18).

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One Response to “Haydock Bible Commentary on Proverbs 9:1-6”

  1. […] Haydock Bible Commentary on Proverbs 9:1-6. […]

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