The book of Proverbs has an extended introduction that lays the foundation for the actual proverbs that begin in chapter 10. In this introduction, Solomon pleads with his sons (and his readers) to grasp the necessity and immeasurable value of wisdom. To do this, he often personifies wisdom and folly (or foolishness) as women appealing for a hearing. Wisdom is a distinguished, elegant, beautiful woman who is as hard-working as she is graceful. Folly is, to put it bluntly, a skanky bimbo.
In fact, chapters 7-9 contain a detailed comparison of these two. Chapter 7 gives us a bird’s-eye-view of a man enticed by a promiscuous woman, who is a picture of that tramp Folly. We’re supposed to look with pity and shame on the poor dolt caught in her web, and we’re supposed to look with scorn and disgust at this conniving, dangerous whore.
Then, chapter 8 arrives like the doors of the wedding chapel thrown open to reveal the resplendent bride in her glory. Lady Wisdom steps forward and makes her appeal to the naïve and ignorant as well. What’s interesting in these chapters is how similar the appeals of the two are, but how drastically different the outcomes of each turn out to be.
The call of the woman wisdom is in stark contrast to the verbal enticements of the adulteress (Prov. 7:14-21). The immoral woman asked for the love of the young man (Prov. 7:18), but the end was death (7:26-27). The Woman Wisdom also calls for the love of the naïve (Prov. 8:21), but the end of walking with her is life (8:35). The woman of chapter 7 is a woman of immoral character (Prov. 7:10-11), while the Woman Wisdom is virtuous (8:4-11). The harlot is a liar (Prov. 7:13-15; 21), while Wisdom is full of truth (8:7). — John A. Kitchen, Proverbs: A Mentor Commentary, 175
Further, in chapter 9, compare the two again:
|Lady Wisdom||Tramp Folly|
|Invitation||“Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!” (9:4a)||“Whoever is inexperienced, enter here!”(9:16a)|
|Offer of Satisfaction||“Come, eat my bread, and drink the wine I have mixed.” (9:5)||“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten secretly is tasty!” (9:17)|
|Future||For by Wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. (9:11)||But he doesn’t know the departed spirits are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol. (9:18)|
In order to distinguish between them, we need wisdom, which Solomon has written and compiled the book of Proverbs to provide (Proverbs 1:1-6).
For us in the New Testament, we have an enemy who is an expert liar and deceiver; he even masquerades as an angel of light in his no-holds-barred quest to assault Jesus’ adopted brothers. What we have in Jesus is not only the perfect Teacher, the fulfillment of the wise King Solomon prepared us for, but also the perfectly Wise One who models for us exactly what living life before God in His wisdom looks like. He has given us His Spirit to guide us into all truth, so that we are not led astray by the Devil and his skanky tramp foolishness.