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Women and Home Building

April 27th, 2009

Focus Passage: Proverbs 14: 1 (NLT)

 1 A wise woman builds her home,
      but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

There is great significance in Solomon’s constant mentioning of the influential role of women.  Why?  Because women in his culture and historical era were not considered to be on an equal plane with men.  They were prohibited from the same education as men and were most certainly excluded from pursing the same professions as men.  Their role in life was basically decided for them and entailed childbearing and caring for the home.

This shouldn’t be shocking to us.  Though a century may seem like an extremely long time to an individual, historically it is only a drop in the bucket of time.  Apply that concept to the fact that women here in the United States were granted the right to vote less than a hundred years ago, and you begin to comprehend the far-reaching impact this mindset has had.  For that matter, even after the right to vote, women in the United States were paid less money for doing the same jobs as men . . . and have often been discriminated against.

Many would say that these facts are still very much true.  Generalizations are difficult to live or die by, but I’d say that there are still many residuals in our culture from thousands of years of another perception.  That being said, it is even more amazing that the writer of Proverbs was attuned to wisdom enough to peer through the cultural normalcy of his day and recognize the immeasurable importance and influence that women have on the family, the marketplace, and the culture.

He makes an interesting observation that seems to only work in an abstract application.  “A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”  I say abstract because it is doubtful that he was speaking of a woman possessing wisdom taking tools and materials and actually constructing a home for her family.  It’s possible, I suppose, but definitely unlikely . . . especially in their ancient culture.  

Likewise, I think it highly unlikely that he means that a woman who walks in foolishness takes her “own hands” and tears down her home . . . literally knocking down walls or taking sledgehammers to foundations.  No, a more accurate interpretation would be that a woman (and specifically a woman’s role in the home in this context– notwithstanding that we will encounter women’s other roles outside of the home in later passages) has immense influence on her “home,” not necessarily her house.  

A house is a building; a home is a family.  Solomon knew that the wisdom acquired or ignored by the female in the home is directly proportional to much of the strength of the family.  Her willingness to walk in wisdom and seek God is like an unseen reinforcement of the spiritual materials that keep a family’s invisible walls of strength, stability, and sustainability standing strong.

I’m thankful that there are these kind of women in my life.  At this moment in my seasonal development, I am ever more aware of the crucial influence my wife has on my home.  We are stable.  We are happy.  We are growing.  We each have a role, but she is our rock.  She isn’t perfect . . . and it’s a good thing because she wouldn’t fit in with me.

She’s more than what we could have asked for . . . the God-given foundational rock in our home.



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