Back home at Helping Up Mission where I work in Baltimore, Maryland, we read the chapter of Proverbs that matches the day of the month (today is January 9 – so I read Proverbs chapter 9). Here is something I got out of Proverbs 9:1 and our visit to Amman on Friday. Maybe it will speak to you, today, too.
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.
I am writing these words in Jordan where I am part of the staff of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project. On our day off yesterday, we were invited to have lunch in Amman, at the home of one of the senior Jordanian archaeologists from the Department of Antiquities who has worked with us over the past four years. After a wonderful traditional Jordanian meal in a lovely home, Adeib took us to visit the last site he has been excavating in the Amman area. Here, he showed us a building constructed in the typical “4-room house” plan of Old Testament times. As you can imagine the interior of the rectangular structure was generally broken into 4 rooms. The dividing partitions between these rooms were made from two parallel rows of 4 stone pillars each, which had short and thin curtain walls between them (but none were evident in this structure). They would have held up the ceiling (it was solid enough for a second story) about 7 feet above the floor.
This is the style of house that Lady Wisdom built in this verse. The pillars were not in a row along the front porch, in the style of an antebellum plantation, but were interior wall lines marking off typically 4 rooms on a house’s groundfloor. Lady Wisdom had hewn out her pillars, meaning she cut the stones and her house is very sturdy and stable. Her stone pillars would also have been able to hold a second floor – so it was also a large house. The verse says she has seven pillars (as opposed to the two symmetrical rows of four each in the house yesterday). The number seven doesn’t indicate house design, but references God’s number of perfection and completion. Lady Wisdom has a large, solid and stable house that is totally equipped and appropriate (“perfect”) in every way. And at this house she throws a banquet, inviting any and all to come, especially the simple and those who lack judgment (those who need her help the most).
A final thought about Lady Wisdom’s house. It might not necessarily be someone’s “dream house,” it certainly was not a palace covered in gold and filled with every imaginable gadget and plaything. But it would have everything we need and would be totally adequate for our daily lives. Many of us are so blessed and have so much. In most cases, we are already thoroughly equipped to have a great life, we just need to realize it and embrace it. That’s where Lady Wisdom can help us, too.
Pastor Gary Byers