Solomon personifies wisdom in Proverbs 1:20. In her first incarnation, Lady Wisdom stands at the head of a noisy street. Her location and the backdrop from which her words proceed describe the important elements of Lady Wisdom’s call. She calls openly but amidst many other voices.
God’s wisdom is not secret or hidden. Wisdom is practical observation of God’s creation and society in the presence of God’s commands. Unlike secret religions where truth is discerned through ritual and secret codes, God’s wisdom is available to all who listen to God. Solomon, however, desires also to explain why many fail to hear the cry of Lady Wisdom.
Many voices compete for the attention of young people and adults alike. Sports stars, singers, friends, businesses all vie for attention. Wisdom is one voice, a superior voice no doubt, among many voices. The wise learn the voice of wisdom. The foolish fail to hear the voice of wisdom and follow the distractions. Though wisdom cries to all, few hear her.
Wisdom speaks in three distinct and important locations. The first place one finds wisdom is on the street. The street refers to the general occasions of life. The street illustrates the social sphere of life. The wise listen, discover, obey, and practice wisdom even in the casual dealings among people. Relationships of minor or major importance require wisdom. The streets illustrate the day-to-day functions where wisdom is learned and listened to.
The wise also find and practice wisdom in the marketplace. The market illustrates the place of trade, business, and various financial and investment dealings. One grows more wise as he or she gains experience in the marketplace. He also practices the commands to speak truthfully, use honest measures, and practice integrity.
The city gates represent the place of decision making. City elders often gathered at the city gates to settle civil disputes, witness the exchange of property, and establish civil regulations for the community at large. Wisdom belonged at the city gates and would carry a person to that place of prestige when wisdom matured in them. Solomon dangles the carrot of nobility and position for those who excel in wisdom. For all who desire to better their lives, wisdom is available through the knowledge of God.