Proverbs 1:20-33

Lady Wisdom is rather bold as she goes about the streets asking the youth to come to her.  She promises rewards but says that the unwise choices that fools make bring their own rewards.  Lady Wisdom is an odd occurrance in the Bible because an extended personification where the personification delivers a speech is rare in Jewish Literature.  The Lady Wisdom should be seen as an ally with parents.  The warning to youth not to get involved with viloent street gangs in the preceding verses should be coupled with the warning of Lady Wisdom.  Both warnings literally come from the parents of children, but the literary technique of personification adds weight to the parents pleas.

It may be thought that this opening is negative.  Yet love and wisdom do warn of the negative consequences of poor choices.  The graphic depiction of folly’s consequences are not hidden from children.  Some Christian parents want to protect their children and preserve their innocense.  Too often, though, innocense is confused with ignorance.  In such cases as soon as a child sees forbidden fruit and tastes it without warning of its consequences they ruin their lives more effectively.  The public-school trained teenage girl who sees the burden of teen pregnancy may be more prepared than the Christian-schooled child who does not give the idea a thought.  The child who sees grandpa wheezing because of his cigarettes may be less likely to smoke than the sheltered child who has never seen anyone smoke until he first stumbles into a bar.  If sin is accurately presented with its terrible, destructive effects, it can be more of a deterrant than never seeing it at all.

Proverbs 1:20-33

 20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
   she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall[d] she cries out,
   at the city gate she makes her speech:

 22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
   How long will mockers delight in mockery
   and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
   Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
   I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
   and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
   and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
   I will mock when calamity overtakes you—
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
   when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
   when distress and trouble overwhelm you.

 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
   they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
   and did not choose to fear the LORD.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
   and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
   and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
   and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
   and be at ease, without fear of harm.”


  1. Who is speaking in this passage?
  2. Why does te writer use this literary technique?
  3. What is the warning?
  4. Who do you know who shelters their children?  Why?  Is it effective in the long run?
  5. Why do some people warn their children of the consequences of different choices?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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