Being A Good Wife!

In our contemporary world, this passage from Proverbs seems incredibly non politically correct, patronising and demeaning of women.  It appears to reduce women to their role as a good wife, all the lovely things they can do for their husbands, and can even come across as a pat on the head for the good little wife.  Being a wife is not the same today as it was when Proverbs was written – and many more are not wives than are.

So do we just reject this passage as old fashioned twaddle?  Or do we seek to find if it has something to say to us today?

This passage is not a charter for trying women to the kitchen sink.    Can it be a picture of love and care?  A vision of how to live together?  Indeed if we read on, this woman is more than a good little housewife, she is bringing in the food, buying and selling and planting, she makes her own money and her ‘goodness’ goes beyond her good looks to her heart – and her husband is called on to praise her and appreciate her.  Can we find in it some pointers for us all – men, women, living with someone or alone, of how to live a good life? I hope so!

Can we be good to others?  Be dependable, whoever we are dealing with?  Can we serve, not just those we love, but those who might perhaps be expected to serve us?  Can we help the poor and needy?  See what needs doing and do it?  I may never be graceful in movement, but can I have a graceful nature, not barging in trampling on others thoughts and feelings?  Can I be sensible and offer thoughtful advice?  Do I honour the Lord in all I do?

These things are attributes to live by, not just as a spouse, but as a member of society.

(Of course Rachel Held Evans has already written brilliantly on this passage)

Proverbs 31:10-31 (CEV)

In Praise of a Good Wife

10 A truly good wife
is the most precious treasure
    a man can find!
11 Her husband depends on her,
    and she never
    lets him down.
12 She is good to him
    every day of her life,
13     and with her own hands
    she gladly makes clothes.

14 She is like a sailing ship
    that brings food
    from across the sea.
15 She gets up before daylight
to prepare food
    for her family
    and for her servants.
16 She knows how to buy land
and how to plant a vineyard,
17     and she always works hard.
18 She knows when to buy or sell,
    and she stays busy
    until late at night.
19 She spins her own cloth,
20     and she helps the poor
    and the needy.
21 Her family has warm clothing,
    and so she doesn’t worry
    when it snows.
22 She does her own sewing,
    and everything she wears
    is beautiful.

23 Her husband is a well-known
and respected leader
    in the city.
24 She makes clothes to sell
    to the shop owners.
25 She is strong and graceful,
    as well as cheerful
    about the future.
26 Her words are sensible,
    and her advice
    is thoughtful.
27 She takes good care
of her family
    and is never lazy.
28 Her children praise her,
    and with great pride
    her husband says,
29 “There are many good women,
    but you are the best!”

30 Charm can be deceiving,
    and beauty fades away,
but a woman
who honors the Lord
    deserves to be praised.
31 Show her respect—
    praise her in public
    for what she has done.

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