Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 1:21
"At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings"
This is a recurrent theme in Proverbs. Wisdom is not hidden; it is shouting for people to pay attention but few turn aside to look. Wisdom is often portrayed as being at the head of the street or the gates of the city.
gates of the city
This was where the elders of the city decided the business of the city. Usually the businessmen who had become successful were at leisure from doing business every day and could attend to the business of the city. Therefore Solomon could talk confidently that the wisest people would be found at the gates of the city. These people were not politicians; they were people who had actually accomplished something in their life and had lived long enough to know wisdom from folly. Usually the elders of the town were some of the oldest residents, but it was not because of their age that they were at the gates – it was because of their results. They had demonstrated an ability to work hard, to show kindness, to avoid destructive temptations, to handle money without letting it handle them, to keep confidences, to hire, to plan, to build something instead of just criticizing other’s work. It is these types of qualities that Solomon says are essential for wisdom.
Some have suggested that it is not that these men at the gates have all wisdom; it is that wisdom is shouting by what they did. They acted wisely to be where they are, but sometimes they don't themselves really understand the wisdom that they displayed.
There is also the suggestion in 2 Chronicles 17:7-9 that the priest and teachers of the law gathered people at the gates of the city to instruct them as to God's law for ultimately it is God's direction that will bring about wisdom in the heart of man.