The Book of Proverbs, chapter nine, with BAC (Brit-Am Commentary).
Proverbs 9:1: Lawrence of Arabia and the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
[Proverbs 9:1] Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
This verse is the source for the expression,
"The Seven Pillars of Wisdom".
This was the title of a book written by T. E. Lawrence otherwise known as "Lawrence of Arabia".
Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935)
was by profession an archaeologist. At first he worked on different excavations in the Middle East. With the outbreak of World War 1 he became an Intelligence officer in the British Army.
Lawrence was sent into Arabia to encourage the Arabs against the Turks. The Arabs attacked the Hejaz Railway in Arabia, captured the lightly defended but strategically important port of Akaba (in what is now Jordan) and then in 1918 took Damascus. These achievements were co-ordinated with and in conjunction to the general advance of Allied troops. Lawrence dressed himself as an Arab and received a great deal of publicity. It has been claimed that the contribution of Lawrence and his Arabs have been grossly exaggerated and that they mainly took advantage of the vacuum created by Allied successes elsewhere. The fact is that most Arabs had supported the Turks and even those few Arabs who had helped the Allies had been paid relatively well for it.
Lawrence was a prominent Arabist. Lawrence projects the image of a "beautiful spirit" wearing his heart on his sleeve and having difficulty with the ambivalencies of his existence.
This has added to the romantic aura surrounding him.
Lawrence was in favor of the Arabs but subject to British policy and interests. This lead him to support the Zionism movement with varying degrees of both reluctance and enthusiasm. Consequently the sources relevant to this aspect of his career may seem contradictory.
T. E. Lawrence and Zionism
Lawrence of Judea by Martin Gilbert
At that time Arabia was ruled by the Hussein family of which the present King of Jordan is a descendant. [Later the Saudi family together with the Wahabi Muslim extremists conquered it and made themselves its monarchs in 1932.] Declarations favorable to Zionism emanating from the Emir Feisal (on behalf of the Hussein rulers of Arabia) were probably dictated by Lawrence.
Back in London Lawrence became even more in favor of Zionism than he previously may have been.
The verse says:
Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars [Proverbs 9:1].
The word translated as Wisdom in Hebrew is Chochmot i.e. Wisdoms in the plural. After that it continues in the singular. One explanation is that the verse should be read,
# [Each one of the] wise women has built her house. She has hewn out her seven pillars. #
In continuation of this section however it does read as if only one personality is involved i.e. that the word that reads as "Wisdoms" could be understood as referring to Wisdom in the singular as indeed most English Translations render it.
Different commentaries exist. One is that Wisdom is another name for the Torah and that the Torah may be considered as having seven divisions.
Proverbs 9: 2-18 Good Torah Knowledge and Common Sense.
[Proverbs 9:2] She [i.e. Wisdom] has slaughtered her meat,
She has mixed her wine,
She has also furnished her table.
[Proverbs 9:3] She has sent out her maidens,
She cries out from the highest places of the city,
If we keep our eyes open and our eyes alert we may gain wisdom and understanding everywhere we turn.
[Proverbs 9:4] "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
Some of us do not know much. Some of us may be easily taken in by false reports and tricksters. By learning the Bible and going in the straight path our inner being will be strengthened.
We will discern things. Our intuition will react in the right way when we need it to do so.
[Proverbs 9:5] "Come, eat of my bread
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
Good instruction is available from the Bible. This gives us life and vitality i.e. liveliness.
Many great Sages were at first only average, or even sometimes well below average, students.
They learned. They wanted to learn. That is the secret.
The wisdom of the Torah is freely available.
Good knowledge and the application of common sense is part of this wisdom.
We all know most of the time what is right.
It often so obvious that we consider it common-place and disregard it.
[Proverbs 9:6] Forsake foolishness and live,
And go in the way of understanding.
[Proverbs 9:7] "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
Not everybody is prepared to listen to what we say.
We may say things that are self-obvious and intend only the good of those we are speaking to.
This can at times arouse hostility.
[Proverbs 9:8] Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
[Proverbs 9:9] Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
[Proverbs 9:10] The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
This is the bottom line. We should fear the Almighty and seek to do HIS will.
Everything else will follow on after that.
[Proverbs 9:11] For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you.
"Years of life" according to the Sages means not only years to live in but also years worth living, in which we feel alive.
[Proverbs 9:12] If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.
If you learn the Truth of Wisdom (i.e. Scripture) it is going to help you. You will be the one to benefit.
And the opposite also applies. Despise the Bible, common sense, and good knowledge and you will be the first one to suffer.
[Proverbs 9:13] A foolish woman is clamorous;
She is simple, and knows nothing.
Here we are returning to our metaphorical foolish female. This is a parable that is also literally correct.
A bad woman can be bad news.
[Proverbs 9:14] For she sits at the door of her house,
On a seat by the highest places of the city,
[Proverbs 9:15] To call to those who pass by,
Who go straight on their way:
[Proverbs 9:16] Whoever is simple, let him turn in here;
And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
The foolish woman maybe taken to represent the false path.
The Ralbag (Gersonides 1288?1344) says that here she represents the feminine aspect of physical and spiritual luxuriation, of taking the easy path.
We should not accept things as they are. We should strive upwards, take a step forward. God will help us.
A Hebrew is someone who stands on the other side, who passes over.
Jacob does not balk at doing whatever it takes to make things better.
Yisrael struggles with God and man to overcome adversity and Yisrael prevails. Yisrael is the One who Overcomes.
Joseph is always adding and improving wherever he can.
Judah acknowledges that behind everything there is ONLY ONE BOSS!
We will have to answer to HIM!
We need to take heed of the examples set us by our forefathers.
[Proverbs 9:17] Stolen water is sweet,
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
People who sin say they get an extra kick out of doing things that are forbidden or that have an extra degree of prohibition attached to them.
This is all a bluff. You do not need to sin. You do not want to. It is going to harm you and possibly those whom you care for.
[Proverbs 9:18] But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of hell.
It is all a bluff. It is like cigarette smoking, all artificially induced addiction, self-feeding illusion, followed by lack of breath, physical malfunction and cancer.
We are the People: Tribal Hints to Goodness
Abraham who thinks big and acts with largeness of spirit.
Isaac who laughs at adversity.
Jacob who does what it takes; and Israel who Overcomes.
Reuben who sees the outcome (Genesis 29:31).
Simeon who makes himself heard through prayer and effort (Genesis 29:31).
Levi who attaches himself to God through good deeds and good companions and goodness (Genesis 29:34).
Judah who acknowledges the Truth and is grateful for what he has and aware of what he should be (Genesis 29:35).
Dan who gives an account, and measurement, and strives to become bigger and better (Genesis 30:7).
Naphtali who does not surrender but keeps up the struggle (Genesis 30:8).
Gad who expands on what exists and works that there may be more of it (Genesis 30:11).
Asher who is happy and smiling and makes others feel good just to see him (Genesis 30:13).
Issachar who works for his own pay and pays others what is theirs (Genesis 30:17).
Joseph who adds to whatever he does and increases on it (Genesis 30:24).
Benjamin who moves to the right side and does the right thing (Genesis 35:16).
These are the Tribes of Israel.