Wisdom, Understanding, and Folly

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.” – Jeremiah 17:7 ESV

Isn’t it fascinating that the author of Proverbs, reputed to be Solomon, the wisest man on earth, addresses Wisdom and Folly as female:

“Does not Wisdom call? Does not Understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud: “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man.” ….. “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old. [“The LORD brought me forth as the first of His works, before His deeds of old ….. – from the NIV] Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before He had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there; when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when He established the fountains of the deep, when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress His Command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him, like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.” – Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-27, 30-31 ESV

Even the earth is referred to as “she” in ancient history. Don’t misunderstand me. I believe that GOD – GOD the FATHER, GOD the SON, and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT; the Triune, Three-in-One Creator GOD – are masculine. That’s how they are ALWAYS referred to in scripture, but here in Proverbs the writer makes a point of using the feminine forms to describe Wisdom and Understanding and Folly. It is as if they are creations, too; in fact, in verse 22, it clearly states that Wisdom was brought forth as the first of His works, His acts, of old. We also see in verse 1 where the writer refers to Understanding as feminine: “Does not Understanding raise her voice?” I have struggled with the idea that God would create His companions – the angels, the Seraphim and Cherubim and all of the heavenly hosts – only as males, but and only after that create man and woman, and all of the creatures on earth as male and female.

Are all angels, then, created as masculine as portrayed in the masterpieces of old? Clearly, there are masculine angels, but for example, is the Archangel Michael masculine – or perhaps feminine? We won’t have a definitive answer until we get to see JESUS, but in whatever form, they are definitely created by God, and they are His warriors. Satan is obviously male (based on the scriptures where the reference is always “he”) but remember that one third of the heavenly hosts followed him in his rebellion (that’s where Folly comes in). Before we (women) start to get too proud of the fact that Wisdom is feminine, we need to read what the scriptures say about her sister, Folly:

“The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol [also know as Hell].” – Proverbs 9:13‭-‬18 ESV

I don’t really think it’s worth spending a lot of time trying to figure out the masculine and feminine of all of our GOD’s Creation, because it is as He created it. Worry or concern over it won’t change anything. The important question, the critical question, is this: Do you choose each day to follow Christ, and listen to wisdom, or do you prefer to listen to folly? (Be sure to read that last verse, Proverbs 9:18, again!)

Just some thoughts.

Artist: Adam de Colonia, 1660-1685, oil on canvas

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