Proverbs 9:13-18

The Foolish Woman

13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.

1. Solomon now speaks of a foolish woman.

a. This is in contrast to Lady Wisdom mentioned so often in the previous chapters. (8:1) Now he speaks of Lady Folly.

b. This lady personifies FOLLY…

c. Folly is just as earnest to destroy lives as God’s wisdom is to save!

2. The temptation is to equate this lady with the harlot of previous chapters. The language used of her is quite similar.

a. v. 14-15 – she sits at the door of her house calling men in.

b. v. 17 – stolen waters are sweet—cf. 5:15—admonition given to a man tempted by the harlot. “Be satisfied at your own fountain. Don’t steal from another man’s fountain!” — Stolen waters = adultery.

c. Warnings against adultery and the harlot have been repeatedly woven through the last five chapters of the book.

d. Thus, it is easy to think of this lady folly as a harlot.

e. Everything said of her certainly would apply to a harlot, but that might be too narrow an interpretation.

f. It is probably better to understand this woman to be the counterpart to Lady Wisdom… thus, Lady Folly.

g. She should be understood in a broader sense as MORAL FOLLY in general, not a specific form of folly, such as adultery.

3. She is clamorous.

a. Clamorous: to roar; to be in a stir, be in a commotion; to be boisterous, be turbulent.

b. This lady is loud. She makes a lot of noise and commotion. She has anything but a meek and quiet spirit.

c. While God’s wisdom is likened to a still, small voice, Lady Folly is loud and boisterous… like the thunder and the fire—but the Lord is not in it!

d. Zech. 4:6 – “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”

e. Like the harlot, she is loud! (Prov. 7:11)

f. There are 1001 voices in the world today—all crying out in loud voices and spewing forth their folly. They are not quiet about it either.
• There are some quite vocal organizations out there promoting the murder of babies; sexual perversion; loudly demanding their rights to promote their filthy, blasphemous art and music; witches and wiccan groups loudly parading through the streets demanding their rights; groups demanding that the Bible or any trace of religion be eradicated from any public place…
• Then there are other philosophies crying out to us in loud voices… through TV ads… radio… talk at the water bubbler… saying such things as:
• Life is about making it rich!
• Anything goes. There is no right or wrong. Whatever turns you on.
• Truth is relative…
• You can be saved and still live for the world…
• Those promoting these foolish ideas and philosophies are loud and clamorous! The squeaky wheel… and they seem to get all the grease—all the attention.
• And if you really want to see how LOUD and clamorous these folks are, but try to oppose them! They will scream at you: Archaic! Bigot! Hate monger! Unloving! Relic from the dark ages!
• Folly can be quite loud and clamorous!

4. She is simple.

a. Simple: simple or naïve.

b. This woman is folly… and folly is naïve.

c. Those who follow her are naïve too.

d. The devil is a master at packaging. He can package his worldly folly in such a way that it LOOKS appealing…

e. But those who go for it are naïve.

5. Yet she knows nothing!

a. Those who know the least seem to shout the loudest.

b. She really has no truth… no wisdom… nothing of any value to offer.

14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city. 15 To call passengers who go right on their ways:

1. She’s right there in the midst of all the city’s activities…

2. Just like Lady Wisdom, Lady Folly is found in the high places of the city… at the door of her house…

3. Prov. 8:2-4 – Lady Wisdom was seen in the high places calling out to all who pass by to listen to her. Lady Folly does the same thing.

4. The people who pass by are hearing two different voices calling to them.

a. Let’s not be naïve. Our young people are hearing those two voices today too… more than we might want to think.

b. As sheltered as we try to keep them, these voices are heard everywhere.

c. They are being called to walk the straight and narrow AND to follow the crowd down the broad way to destruction!

d. They are being called by the Lord to come to Christ and submit to His yoke… and they are being called to throw off that old yoke!

e. They are hearing on the one hand, “to me to live is Christ” and on the other hand, “to live is to have fun.”

f. The many voices of the world are calling out to our children AND to us.

5. In order to COUNTER those opposing voices, we need to keep our mind renewed… through the constant reading of God’s Word.

a. Folly is spewed out at us when we watch TV… when we read magazines… when you drive down the road and see the billboards.

b. Lady folly is constantly telling us you can’t be happy unless you’re young, handsome, and rich. (Strike three!)

c. The voice of folly comes at us from all different directions… all day long.

d. That is why our daily devotion time is so important… that is why the local church is so important… Sunday school… Bible studies…

e. Rom. 12:1-2 – either we are renewing our mind through the word or we are being conformed to the world. We are always being affected by one of these two ladies.

16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him.

1. Lady Folly again mimics Lady Wisdom. (9:4 = lady wisdom speaks)

a. Wisdom invites the simple into her house. (9:4)

b. She offers them bread and wine—fellowship with Divine wisdom. (9:5)

c. She challenges them to forsake the foolish. (9:6) All those who enter the house of wisdom HAVE forsaken the foolish.

d. Now, Lady Folly attempts to do the same: invite the simple and naïve into her house of folly.

e. But folly has no bread and wine to offer. She has nothing to offer but empty husks.

17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

1. She has no bread and wine to offer… so she suggests stolen bread and stolen water!

2. The language is similar to that used of the adulterer… but is used in a much broader sense here.

3. She has a corrupting effect on the simple who come to her.

a. She suggests that they steal their bread and drink.

b. Thus, she is promoting outright sin… criminal activity… violation of the law of the land… and violation of God’s law.

c. Cf. 1:10-14 – youth being enticed into a criminal gang of thieves…

d. She is naïve—if she thinks that they can get away with this very long. She must have forgotten the passage: be sure your sin will find you out!

4. She promotes laziness and a lack of diligence.

a. Lady Wisdom promotes hard work and diligence which produces its rewards.

b. Lady Folly says, “Why work hard for something? Let someone else work for it—then steal it!”

5. She has promoted a lie.

a. She said that evil is good. (Something we hear today too!)

b. Stolen bread and water is sweeter… is more pleasant!

c. She says that if you do evil, there will be sweet, pleasant consequences! Not so!

d. This is the lie of the devil. Satan told Eve that if she ate of the forbidden fruit something GOOD would result: you will be like God!

e. Lady Folly packages her products with a great looking outer cover… but it’s a lie.

f. Stolen bread and bread eaten in secret might taste good at first—BUT—(Prov. 20:17)
• Afterwards, his mouth is full of gravel.
• Perhaps this speaks of the guilt and shame to follow.
• Perhaps the consequences of getting caught!
• Cf. Prov. 5:3-4—adultery—it is sweet at first, but soons turns bitter!
• Cf. Prov. 23:31-32 – wine is like that. It looks, smells, and tastes so good at first—but in the end, it bites like a serpent!
• All sin is like that!

18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

1. The young simple ones who enter the house of Lady Folly are ignorant.

a. They don’t know that the DEAD are there…

b. Those who enter don’t leave alive.

c. Her guests are in the depths of hell…

d. She claims to offer something good… sweet… pleasant—but in reality, it is the pathway to hell!

e. Don’t be fooled by the lies and the pretty cover. There is NO form of folly or evil or stealing or sin that is good. It is all bad… and the consequences are always bad spiritually.

2. God is warning us about the real END of folly and the consequences of folly.

a. Many fools enter her house… but few escape alive.

b. God is warning young, inexperienced people to take a good, long, peering LOOK into the ways and consequences before you enter that house. Look a little deeper… beyond the pretty cover… look deep into its inner chambers… it is a house of horror.

3. This section of chapter nine presents two very different voices, each attempting to WOO us into their house… and into their ways…
• The Lord Jesus warns of two very different roads in life too. One leads to life eternal… the other to eternal destruction.
• Perhaps some of you young people should stop and think about which road you are on! Which voice you have followed!
• If you are on the wrong road—get out while you still can!