Updated: Feb 6
Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, “You that are simple, turn in here!” To those without sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
This is an optional Old Testament selection from the Episcopal Lectionary for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B 2018. In the numbering system that lists each Sunday in an ordinal fashion, this Sunday is referred to as Proper 15. If chosen, it will next be read aloud in an Episcopal church by a reader on Sunday August 19, 2018. It is important because Solomon wrote of the wisdom he possessed and did not attribute it to the Father, but to a goddess.
In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena was recognized as the deity who reigned over wisdom. Her Roman equivalent was called Minerva, also a goddess. In ancient Egyptian mythology, perhaps the religion most known by the philosophical minds of the Israelites, Seshat (the counterpart of the god Thoth and his wife Ma’at) was the goddess of wisdom, knowledge and writing.
Because all of these mythological deities are feminine (except Thoth), wisdom should be grasped as a talent that comes from the Earth mother, such that it is a talent of the brain and the powers of physical observation.
In this proverb that is attributed to the writings of Solomon, based on his wisdom possessed, he gives strong support towards that conclusion of wisdom being a feminine characteristic. Solomon wrote of “her house,” “her pillars,” “her animals,” “her wine,” “her table” and “her servant-girls.” That proliferation of feminine pronoun use (in addition to “she” used four other times) says Solomon had discerned (a talent of wisdom) that Yahweh was not the voice of reason he heard in his head.
Solomon’s references to a “house” “hewn” with “seven pillars,” where sacrificed animals spilled their blood upon a “table,” is clearly a statement of a goddess, whose temple was worldly.
The “servant-girls” were then priestesses of that temple. To read that they would “call out from the highest places” means they served the deity of wisdom, who is available to those who submit to that divine power. The “highest places” were religious temples to gods foreign to Israel.
“You that are simple, turn in here,” says ordinary people do not possess wisdom. Solomon then proposed that the masses should follow the lead of those who serve the goddess of wisdom, as the judges blessed by the temple priests. The line that is translated to say, “To those without sense,” the Hebrew word “lêḇ” is used, which means “heart, mind, inner man, will, and understanding.” This is the word Solomon used when he asked God for a Big Brain, rather than prefer God’s presence within him.
Knowing that Solomon wrote his proverbs for the Israelites, who were sworn to serve God and remember the Passover via the ritual consumption of unleavened bread and cups of wine, it is not coincidence that Solomon wrote of “my bread” and “the wine I have mixed.” That physical food and drink would be filled with yeast, rising hot and fluffy and fermented to a highly intoxicating alcohol level. Solomon was telling his people to let him do all the work of rule, so they could turn their backs to God and enjoy the wealth and honor of Solomon’s realm. In that scenario, the people were no longer subjected to finding God individually, so their unleavened bodies could become elevated (raised up) to righteousness and their plain blood be infused with the Holy Spirit.
For Solomon to say, “Lay aside immaturity and live,” proposing that the ignorant should “walk in the way of insight,” he was telling the children of Israel to follow him, his ways, and his knowledge.
Rather than asking the Israelites to put their faith in God, he was promoting himself as God’s chosen king, with the insight of a god. Solomon (whether he figured it out or not) was returning Israel to the royal deity worship of Egypt. No longer were the people of Yahweh asked to be priests in individual relationships with the Lord and walk in the ways of righteousness. They were told to let wisdom light their paths.
As an alternative Old Testament selection for the thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s personal ministry to the LORD should be underway – as a different angle on Solomon’s wisdom – the message here is the danger of worshiping individuals as gods. When one sees another human being as holier than oneself, one ceases trying to be holy, submitting oneself to that other human. Israelites did it for Solomon, saying, “No one can be wiser.” Likewise, Christians do it for Jesus, saying, “There can only be one Son of God.”
This is the trap of Satan, which was set before Jesus, offering him the world if he would submit to the will of evil. God set the world that Solomon had at his feet, to test his devotion to Him.
Power and wealth are intoxicating, as were the bread and wine of which Solomon wrote. The world is filled with simple folk, who have no sense for taking advantage of others. The mixed drink that comes from the slaughter of animals is the blood of the innocent spilled so that the elite can laugh at how easy it is to become rich off the ignorance of others. Those sacrificed are the people who bow down before those possessing Big Brains.
The aspect of “immaturity” is that of “foolishness,” where the Hebrew word “p̄ə·ṯā·yim” means “naivety.” It bears the same intent as does “foolish”: “Lacking or exhibiting a lack of good sense or judgment; silly.” (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)
This is the excuse of childhood ignorance, where simplicity is a natural state of learning from one’s mistakes. Those life lessons develop one’s maturity, and from life experience comes true wisdom. Solomon did not suffer the growth pains of normal people, as he laid aside his immaturity for a life led by reason, unclouded by childish emotions. Thus, his view of living was void of any possibility of eternal life.
A minister of the LORD has known the errors of thought and the failures that come from not having true insight. The only true source of wisdom comes from the Christ Mind, which demands a soul be blissfully ignorant to possess it. It is why prophets like Ezekiel answered questions from God by saying, “You know Lord.” A prophet never speaks for self as the Big Brain is never large enough to see all possibilities and answers at once … like God can.