Seven Pillars

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Wisdom has built her house,
      She has hewn out her seven pillars;

Proverbs 9:1

Dennis and I were reading Proverbs 9 yesterday (Yes, we are back to reading Proverbs – we cannot get enough wisdom).  I had written a note in my Bible (yes, I write in my Bible) and it simply said, “Seven Pillars??”.  I thought the chapter might expound on what the seven pillars were but no.   

Does anyone know?  What are the Seven Pillars that Wisdom built her house on?

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9 thoughts on “Seven Pillars

  1. Spotted your blog entry in passing on my dashboard tag surfer. Hope this helps:
    IVP Bible Background Commentary suggests:

    9:1. seven pillars of wisdom’s house. There have been many theories suggested for wisdom’s seven-pillared dwelling. They include the firmaments of heaven, the planets, the days of creation, the books of the law and the seven sages of ancient Mesopotamia. In addition, the Ugaritic epic of Baal and Anat contains a reference to the dwelling place of the high god El. He is said to abide in “the seven chambers of wisdom, the eight halls of judgment.” Murphy’s suggestion that the book of Proverbs and its chapters comprise Dame Wisdom’s house is also attractive. In the Sumerian lament over Eridu, Eanna the temple of Enki (the god of wisdom) is described as having seven niches and seven fires.
    Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary : Old Testament, electronic ed., Pr 9:1 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000).

  2. Okay…this is all good but do they have names? My limited thinking wants a label. I was thinking along the lines of one pillar is Knowledge (often spoken of in regards to wisdom) and one pillar being understanding…

  3. Here’s another suggestion from the Word Biblical Commentary:

    The book of Proverbs is the (only) house of Woman Wisdom. The evidence for this can be drawn from Prov 14:1, however that be translated; see the Comment on 14:1: “Wisdom has built her house, but Folly tears hers down by hand.” To this may be added the observation in 24:3 that a house is built by wisdom/understanding. Wisdom’s columns are the teachings of Prov 1–8 (here the previous studies of P. Skehan are reflected). They are there to be studied and absorbed. But this backward glance does not cut off the rest of the book. As 14:1 and 24:3 suggest, the rest of the collections are part of Wisdom’s residence.
    Rowland E. Murphy, vol. 22, Word Biblical Commentary : Proverbs, Word Biblical Commentary, 58 (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002).

  4. Hi there,

    I found your blog on tag surfer. I love questions like this that cause us to dig into the bible. I am no scholar, but I like to try to interpret the bible using the bible when questions like this one come up. Throughout the bible, the number seven tends to mean spiritual perfection, completion. Also, Proverbs is a book that uses alot of figurative language and simile. Wisdom here is being compared to a house with seven pillars, a complete and perfect dwelling. My bible has a cross reference from Proverbs 9:1 to several verses such as Ephesians 2:20-22 “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone.” Also see 1 Corin 3:9 and 1 Peter 2:5.

    Another verse comes to mind which is 1 Corinthians 1:30 “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

    I think Proverbs 9:1 is an invitation to perfect wisdom which can only come from God through the Lord Jesus Christ, our cornerstone and perfect foundation!

    God Bless you today,
    Scotti
    21(F)in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into (G)a holy temple in the Lord,

    22in whom you also are being (H)built together into a (I)dwelling of God in the Spirit.

  5. i think the pillars could be the sermon on the mount…either the beatitudes or the actual breakdown of the 3 chapters. Jesus does mention that those who follow these things would be “like a wise man who builds his house on the rock”.

    i’ll be searching with you. really good question!

  6. I have been told that the seven are figurative and used several times in the Bible as a number of perfection..9:1 is to entice the reader to want to look closer at the wisdom..LOL that is what it did! as opposed to the woman of folly.

    But I also found a verse I Timothy 3:15 which references the pillar as pillar and foundation which is the truth of God. interesting! Thanks for the dig..now I am digging a little deeper here as I am leading a womens retreat in April, and using Proverbs as the main thing..there is so much more for women to grasp than just 31..not that there is anything wrong with that! Love ya!

  7. pastormike33

    Maybe the point is not the names of the columns as much as there are columns. The security of the house is the point. It is fixed on columns and not temporary (like a tent). The wise Sophia is not going from house to house like the foolish Folly. There may be some significance to the things that God hates in Proverbs 6 — seven things! Consider that the term house is often used as a metaphor for the body. Just some things to think about!
    I am working on a lesson for 3rd-6th graders on this text! Hope that they find it as fascinating as of the commenters above! 🙂

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