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Wisdom Riddle or Super Woman?

MuslimQuarterAs part of our Discover the Word recording schedule this week, Alice Mathews led us through a fresh way of thinking about the “virtuous woman” of Proverbs 31.

What Alice described is not the “Super Woman,” who is so intimidating to women and perplexing to men, but a literary device that brings to conclusion the word pictures of Lady Wisdom and the Foolish Woman that show up early in the Proverbs.

What surprised me is the way this last chapter of proverbs came to life when considered as a way of summing up the nature of wisdom for all.

As Alice reminded us, Proverbs 31 begins with an explanation by King Lemuel that these are the words of wisdom that his mother gave him. Verses 1-9 talk about not giving his strength and honor away to that which will consume him. Verse 10 then begins the description of the kind of trustworthy woman who will help him. Written in Hebrew acrostic poetry— for purposes of memorization, it would conceivably be memorized by both sons and daughters.

The woman, Alice suggests, and I think makes so much sense, is “Lady Wisdom”.

The problem for some of us men is that we may have a hard time seeing wisdom in a description of a woman of strength who seems to do everything.  It requires some “gender language translation”—which as it turns out is what women have always had to do with man-centered language, illustration, and communication.

Am wondering whether this is enough to make you want to take another look. If so, see if you think it makes more sense to see in “the virtuous woman” something that is more like a riddle about the wisdom we all need— rather than a single Super Woman who makes all other women feel like they are never doing enough.


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69 Responses to “Wisdom Riddle or Super Woman?”

  1. poohpity says:

    I think the character qualities described could be applied to any person. Confident, hard working, having integrity, compassionate, articulate, trustworthy, respectful, wise and most importantly having reverence for the Lord which is what probably made all the other things possible. This person is probably a joy to be around and seems to enjoy God, life, family, work and giving.

  2. swwagner says:

    I agree with poohpity….the character qualities could apply to any person. However, I feel that there is a an intended significance of equality portrayed here by having a woman be the picture of wisdom. Historically, in most cultures, women have been down trodden and cast to the edges of society…probably a result of the fall of Adam and Eve. However, Jesus, the great equalizer, showed us that women and children are important by ministering to and spending time with them to the dismay of some of the men and leaders of the time.

    This is not intended to be a rational for women to be domineering or deserving of more honor…it just means that God knows the needs of women as much as those of men. I can not begin to count the number of times that God has blessed me in spite of the domineering and harsh men in my life. It is verses like the 31st Proverb that help me know that it is okay for a woman to be educated, successful, and blessed..

  3. Artle says:

    There are a large number of great women in the bible and there have been many great women in our histories. When I read this chapter I think of a few Godly women I have known myself. I am leaning toward King Lem’s mom just wanting the best for her son and the inclusion in scripture giving the sons and daughters of Abraham an ideal to aspire to. What mother would not want her son to find the woman as described. I can slightly see the Lady Wisdom view, but Lady Wisdom would be the driving force behind the wife of Who, if he were to find her.

  4. poohpity says:

    What mom would not want her daughter to find a man deserving of that type of woman. I have learned over the years to be the person you are looking for in another.

  5. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon BTA Friends —

    It seems to me the entire Book of Proverbs contrasts prudence with folly — wisdom with foolishness. While the speaker(s) in the proverbs address a young man, the word is clearly for every soul, male and female. The teaching is given consistently in terms of marital joy contrasted with adulterous misery — contented faithfulness to God compared to chaotic idolatry with other gods.

    The collective people of God are considered the bride/daughter/wife of God — especially in the prophecy of Hosea, who continued his faithfulness to his wayward wife, Gomer. So, the Lord continually takes back his foolish, wayward people Israel.

    Chapter 3 of Proverbs declares Wisdom the most desirable attribute in the world. (Proverbs 3:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) She is always described as a person and always feminine.

    It seems to me there is good reason to interpret Wisdom as the helpmate of the Lord. In Chapter 8 of Proverbs Wisdom speaks for herself: “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.” (Prov 8:22-23)

    The wife described in Chapter 31 of Proverbs is the heart of the life of a faithful household — she is Wisdom in perfect covenant with a ruler of the land.
    It is an image of God with his people — Christ with his church.


  6. poohpity says:

    Over the years there have been many who used pronouns to be a means of oppression especially in the religious community. Describing wisdom as she, cars as she but the use in the negative is not she it is a more descriptive term like an adulterous woman when referring to the nation of Israel when they have turned away from God. You bet that has been offensive to me because I have seen more men than women who are unfaithful to spouses.

    The one thing that brings hope it is not the really good men that use these instances (man centered language) it is those who are domineering, authoritative and abusive to subjugate women. It seems to be those who can look above the gender of the terms to the implication of the message in the context that they were written who have understanding.

  7. remarutho says:

    Dear Pooh —

    I recall in my 20s being furious with the Apostle Paul because he seemed to describe only women as loud and disruptive in the assembly of the faithful. There were surely just as many men who needed to sit down and shut up. :o)

    After some decades, I can settle on the greater work Paul accomplished, breaking out of the Pharisee’s hidebound, knot-headed insistence on male superiority. He also wrote Galatians 3:28, 29.

    Guess I can bear being called a “man of God,” if a man can bear being called the “bride of Christ.”


  8. poohpity says:

    Gosh I have received so much encouragement from Paul including women in ministry but I do see where one can get the impression that you mentioned. It seems as he addressed problems in the church in places like Ephesus and Crete where they had a matriarchal society and worshiped female gods like Diana is where he tried to teach a balance by having the women step back from running everything. Paul seemed to be confronting culture issues that prevented the church from growing.

    If the writer of Proverb 31 had not mentioned in the verse 10 that this was a description of a wife I may have thought differently about it. I have heard that she may have had much help in all the things she does and that would say that another one of her virtues is leading since she would be the wife of a king and had to run the household. I think if we step back and stop comparing ourselves she would be one to admire but not feel less than because we are not like her.

  9. SFDBWV says:

    I would have to say a *wise* man should leave this subject alone. As it seems Alice has set a trap for Mart and all of us men who might comment.

    Not sure if this is a topic for Jerry Springer instead of BTA.

    However being both a man a Bible reader and a confessing Christian I will add my thoughts to the pool.

    Let me begin with a disquieting set of verses found in Ecclesiastes 7:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.

    Would be interested in Alice’s thoughts concerning that string of verses and why it was important for the Holy Spirit to include them in Scripture.

    I have always believed and often stated here that the Words of Scripture are multidimensional in that they can teach from many different layers by saying the same thing to different questions and in fact have many meanings.

    What bothers me the most is how modern people want to make the Bible politically correct and more attune to the way modern people think.

    Even on this blog every time I put up a Scripture verse from my King James Bible, I wonder just how differently it will show up on RBC’s choice of interpretation.

    I will close and tighten the noose around my neck by saying that I believe the virtuous woman explained in Proverbs 31:10-31 is a model of the way a wife and mother should live concerning her place of honor as just that a wife and mother to her husband and family and one who shows wisdom in her actions.

    To say that wisdom is wise seems redundant, but wisdom should not take place of the praise intended for God.

    I’m not sure I can agree with Alice on this one, but the idea is worth a second look.


  10. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    I agree that Ecclesiastes can be disquieting. Perhaps it is meant to convict our hearts on account of the life of this preacher/teacher, who is believed by some to be wise King Solomon of Israel. Whether or not the writer of the book is King Solomon, the man certainly traveled all the way around Robin Hood’s barn to find the truth that:
    “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

    Eugene Peterson offers a contemporary translation of Ecclesiastes 7:9-13:

    “Don’t be quick to fly off the handle.
    Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head.

    Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?”
    Wise folks don’t ask questions like that.

    Wisdom is better when it’s paired with money,
    Especially if you get both while you’re still living.
    Double protection: wisdom and wealth!
    Plus this bonus: Wisdom energizes its owner.

    Take a good look at God’s work.
    Who could simplify and reduce Creation’s curves and angles to a plain straight line?”

    Ecclesiastes is a world-weary man. Neither virtuous nor loose women have satisfied him. Pursuit of study and exploration have not satisfied. Wealth, pleasure and play have not. The word faith does not appear in this Bible book.


  11. Artle says:

    I first looked at this topic as not a lot to think about, but it seems to have consumed my thoughts. Awoke this morning with the idea that this being Lady Wisdom is on target, but falls short of realizing that Lady Wisdom is simply in the heart of a flesh and blood woman. Wisdom and the Church have much in common with the worthy wife and probably why they are tagged as female, bride, etc., but only the woman who reveres God can claim all verses in this chapter. She has a wisdom filled heart and would exemplify the bride of Christ. In truth, there is not a great deal of space between Lady Wisdom Herself and the person whose heart She fills.

  12. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you very much of bringing up this subject, no I never saw this chaptre on the virtuous woman in realtion to the woman of Wisdom.
    A new thought of insight I can start meditating on, and asking the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom, James 1:5.

    This morning I was thinking when listening to Discover the Word, that Mart de Haan must have dutch ancestors, as his name is a real dutch name: de Haan,
    it means: the Rooster.
    As this topic brought me to Proverb 31 my eyes fell on Proverbs 30:29-31
    International version
    29 “There are three things that are stately in their stride,
    four that move with stately bearing:
    30 a lion, mighty among beasts,
    who retreats before nothing;
    31 a strutting rooster, a he-goat,
    and a king secure against revolt.

    So, for you Mart, stately as a king!

    Now Steve, you mentioned the King James version, verse 31, and then it gets really diffuse:
    greyhound also means girded, and rooster also means loins. King James version says:
    31 A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

    I believe that the International version maybe got the idea of the verse, that which is stately in moving:
    The biblos site gives the hebrew words:
    it must be a king with his army,
    vision a king with his army striding like a rooster, heads up.
    We are like the army of the King, striding, heads up, walking behind Jesus, He is the leader.

    Very interesting this topic, Jesus is working on His Bride, a wife, the woman of wisdom?
    Do they all tie together?
    Should we, the body of believers,
    become the woman of wisdom,
    the church as the wife or the body of Jesus, Ephesians 5:25,
    the Bride Rev 19:7
    the pure virgin 2 Cor 11:2
    the mother, the Jerusalem from above, Gal 4:26
    walking as an army with the King?

    It stretches me a bit too far, it is all new for me, I have to meditate upon this.
    But indeed, men have to get adjusted to this female notion, as we will be the Bride indeed, Rev 19:7

    As an epilogue: this topic of the woman of wisdom might be just as much a mystery as is the marriage between a man and a woman Ephesians 5:31,32

  13. narrowpathseeker says:

    I had 5 sons and 1 daughter; 3 sisters and 2 brothers; 10 granddaughters and 4 grandsons; 3 great granddaughters and 1 great grandson; AND all the opposing gender inlaws down the line….and in retrospect….I have to believe that gender really has NOTHING to do with good qualities or bad. I think using gender related scripture to elevate one gender over another is maybe, at best, rooted in false pride. Maybe the scriptures using he or she were Written for whichever(male or female) needed what at any given time in any given situation…rebuke or encouragement or whatever is needed….but I doubt that the Intent was to support vain competition between the sexes.

    HOWEVER, although I truly believe that…please know that I have done just that …many times!! In years past I would grab it and run with it, now if I grab it, I try to let it go as soon as I realize what I am doing.

  14. poohpity says:

    narrow, I agree about using pronouns of the Bible as vain competition between the sexes. It either puts one sex down and elevates another if not read in the context they were written with wisdom.

    Steve, you may want to try when using the reference of the KJV putting it like this Ecc 7:23-29 KJV. If we put commas between the verses and then want to use a specific translation the computer reads the input differently. When reading Ecclesiastes I think we have to remember this is like Solomon’s diary and he had 700 wives and 300 concubines and they lead him away from God but it was Solomon who made the choice do to something he was warned against by obtaining them all so his writings seem scream out the mistakes in that. He also was the one who wrote the majority of the Proverbs and denotes wisdom as “she”.

  15. poohpity says:

    Ecclesiastes 7:23-29 KJV. I guess Ecc just does not cut the mustard, lol!!!

  16. phpatato says:

    I can remember looking back at and hearing stories of my maternal Grandmother and thinking that she was that woman described in Proverbs 31. In many ways, I look at my Mom and think the same. I’m probably not the only one who had a Grandmother and Mother who they likened to that chapter as well. They were God-fearing, hard working, family dedicated women back then. A simple generation who learned what to do to make it work. I knew that I could never be that woman but one thing as a wife, mom and now grandmother that stuck with me and is my hope at the end of my journey….verses 28,29. As a wife/mom/grandmom, what more is there to ask for.

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    I think of the bride of Christ represents more as one who will by oath or vow and by spirit, love, honor, and obey, until death do us part.
    That is the position that the church had better take on, or the resulting divorce may be both painful and eternal.
    As far as all this gender confusion existing in the word… we have enough of that already existing in the world, with cross-dressing or gender identity, and sex changes or gender identity, not to mention all those little gay issues.
    So we certainly don’t need the church to also promote more confusion for the world is doing quite well without us helping.

    Steve, you were right this is a set-up.

    Now, I don’t know if I want to arm restle with the guys, or make muffins with the ladies. :0

  18. poohpity says:

    It does not seem like any kind of trap except to trap us to think about wisdom. What I see is that Alice may be trying to show that any person is not determined by the things they do or what the outside looks like, it is reverence of the Lord that brings praise. That is applicable to either gender. (verse 30)

    Most people feel that what they do or look like determines who they are and this proverb can be seen as applicable to either gender if one just substitutes the she with he. It seems to be teaching that because of our relationship with God that determines who we are and that is reflected in our actions. Not what you do but who you know!

    So it is not a trap at all but a better understanding of Wisdom which most do not spend the time to get to know the source or develop a reverence for Him because they are so consumed with things they can see, do, feel and touch.

    Many women would be so pleased to have a husband who reverenced the Lord. There probably would not be so much abuse either emotional or physical. Those qualities seen in Proverbs 31 anyone would have praise and respect for that type of person whether male or female and I fully believe that putting God first in one’s life would produce those characteristics, qualities and virtues.

  19. Loomis says:

    I actually love a strong woman. Every dad and husband should do all they can to build strength, intelligence, skills and talents so the she is a pillar for her family. Ignorance, weakness,no skills is a terrible mark to hit four girls. The humble walk comes from an invested life not an ignored life.

  20. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends–

    It seems to me, Pooh and Loomis, your latest posts get at the world-wide picture for women. People in the USA are concerned with the pay-gap between male and female workers of all kinds — wage earners and salaried. Women earn less because employers know they can pay less to a female.

    But, when viewed as an international issue, there is a huge education gap — a medical care gap — even a dignity gap between males and females. It is not the calling and hopes and aspirations of women that create oppression and even loss of dignity. No, it is the inferior treatment and mistreatment of women all over the world that keep girls from living out a life of full potential as human beings.

    Is a female the property of her father, brother or husband? Or, would Wisdom call us to grant each one, male and female, the full dignity of a child of God? Attitudes on this vary widely according to religion in every nation, including the USA.


  21. BruceC says:


    I think Solomon refers to wisdom a “she” because it symbolizes that all believers should be “married” to the wisdom of God. Just my opinion.
    Have been reading more than posting. One thing we need to be careful of in any “movement” or cause is that the enemy will twist things as many causes have their basis in the world and not in Christian doctrine. The woman’s rights cause is great, but has also been subverted to support a woman’s “right” to take the life of an unborn child.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  22. plumbape says:

    I’ pleading the 5th amendment on this one, lol. Steve I left a comment on the last topic for you.
    I can se the ladies braiding that leather wipe like Jesus did when he cleared the temple. Have never looked at it as Alice described though, I think I like that much better. I better shut up with that.

  23. SFDBWV says:

    There is an old adage “Behind every successful man there is a woman.” I would have to say this is very true.

    From the beginning God recognized Adams need was to have the proper helper and companion. So God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh thereof.

    And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. (fully adult)

    And Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of man.

    Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    The above referenced from Genesis 2:21, 22, 23, 24

    This is one of those marvelous glossed over string of verses in Scripture that I could imagine spending a lifetime examining.

    Eve wasn’t created as was Adam and in fact is the female version of Adam.

    God had already created all the beasts of the field, of the air, and in the sea and all of them were both male and female for the purpose of being fruitful and fill the earth. In fact there is an interesting explanation given in Genesis 1:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 concerning man and woman.

    God speaking from the triune Spirit say’s let us make man in our image and let *them* have dominion over all the living creatures and so He created man in His own image both male and female.

    Then God blessed them and told them to multiply and replenish the earth and gave them dominion over all living creatures.

    Then there is this, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.” And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

    Apparently somewhere during the sixth day of creation is when the fall of man occurred, even though God declared it “very good”.

    It just seems to me we spend a lot of time trying to figure out details all over the Scripture when in fact we haven’t really understood the first couple pages of it.

    One thing is for sure from the beginning there has been male and female alike and they both need each other in order to be whole.


  24. Artle says:

    Steve commented, “It just seems to me we spend a lot of time trying to figure out details all over the Scripture when in fact we haven’t really understood the first couple pages of it.” To further this most important concept, there is no evidence that any of the great biblical leaders actually knew the whole plan of God. Matter of fact the opposite is true, that they were mostly in the dark and this is why faith and trust are so important. Regardless of how much we think we understand, our thimble full of knowledge is still just a thimble full.

  25. Artle says:

    And all our thimbles together are still a grain of sand in the universe of God’s Wisdom.

  26. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    I will be very still and pray very hard for the women who are subjected to circumcision, childbirth without medical attention and being forbidden to attend school so they don’t become too smart for their station in life.

    Then all will be well, I pray. God and men will take care of all that is important.

    God is good all the time. This is according to the ancient wisdom.


  27. SFDBWV says:

    Maru I ran into being edited out right here on BTA because of mentioning the evils of Islam and it may be I get edited again for just saying that.

    There is nothing any of us can do except try and educate people in these Islamic controlled countries and I might say in our own country about the evils you have mentioned.

    Right here in the USA there are already “honor” killings taking place as well as in European countries where Islam is making a foothold.

    Christianity and western cultures have elevated women above millennia’s of women being second class citizens; Islam would have mankind return to the 11th century worldwide and in my opinion it seems that Islam may be God’s punishment for mankind and the religion in place worldwide once the Holy Spirit and the Church are removed from the earth.

    Not a pleasant outlook, but one that our Bible lays out for the future of men and women alike in a world spiraling toward destruction, or as some may say a *cleansing*.


  28. cbrown says:

    Jesus Christ changes everything.In the beginningof the book of Job God says that Job is a righteous man and there is none like him. Yet in the society he lived in he emphasized his sons. At the end of the book he admits that he had only heard of God but now he sees God face to face and everything changed. His view of hi friends and women. He named each of his daughters and gave them an inheritance equal to his sons. Job 42
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Job’s Confession

    42 Then Job answered the Lord and said,

    2 “I know that You can do all things,
    And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
    3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
    Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
    Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
    4 ‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
    I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
    5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
    But now my eye sees You;
    6 Therefore I retract,
    And I repent in dust and ashes.”
    God Displeased with Job’s Friends

    7 It came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. 8 Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will [a]accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord told them; and the Lord [b]accepted Job.

    God Restores Job’s Fortunes

    10 The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. 11 Then all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him one [c]piece of money, and each a ring of gold. 12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He named the first Jemimah, and the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers. 16 After this, Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man and full of days.

  29. plumbape says:

    Brother Steve, ignoring me or to busy with duties?

  30. poohpity says:

    I do not believe it is only other religions that subjugate women, it is alive and well in Christian homes as well but it is called by other names that gloss over the reality.

    Only strong males enjoy the company of strong females niether has to prove their strength. They are more concerned with their weaknesses and allow the Lord to be the head.

  31. poohpity says:

    Yes Steve most miss the important lesson learned in the garden the creation thought they knew better than their creator. Pride has been the down fall of mankind since the beginning and blame but wisdom teaches us that there is only One God and it is not human kind.

  32. remarutho says:

    Dear BTA Friends —

    I sometimes wish I could live up to total submission — as reflected in my post of 8:52 a.m. But, that would require a lobotomy and serious medication. It’s not going to happen, Lord willing. As ForeverBlessed mentioned yesterday, let James 1:5, 6, 7 be a guide for prayer and action.

    Women and men, Christians and non-Christians put themselves in harm’s way to seek the release of women all over the world from the tyranny of ancient traditions that subjugate, mutilate and oppress girls and women — and thereby harm families — and thereby the entire society.

    Truly do not care whether Wisdom is portrayed as female in the Scriptures — so long as we pursue Wisdom with all that we are and all that we have. Wisdom is an attribute of God that we are instructed to seek more than any earthly treasure.


  33. poohpity says:

    If one will recall in Genesis I think they may find that the fall was not on the sixth day because after God created on the sixth day the Bible says, “and God saw that it was good”, nothing about the fall was good it caused them to hide from their Maker. Even though it does not say specially which day after the first seven, one is lead to believe they had been walking with the Lord and enjoying the fruits of His labor before the temptation to be like Him.

  34. poohpity says:

    I think that wisdom teaches us if we listen, that God is God and we are not then act accordingly. Seeking it with all that we are and then following it’s call not turning to the right or the left but staying on it’s path. Learning to discern it’s voice from our own.

  35. oneg2dblu says:

    Two other things we could mention here where the wisdom of God speaks, it says, It is not good for man to be alone, and no man is ever really complete without God.

    Abuse in the Christian community or the rest of the world, is notjust men abusing of women, where people of both genders possess this great evil called pride.

    As pooh has stated pride is certainly the downfall of all mankind, and where all gender fails.

    Strength or weakness is not the issue, hormones are not the issue, but the flesh and what it desires, that is the real issue here, and both men and women live in their flesh, or only a Christian is to deny their flesh and live in the Spirit.

    In the first few pages of the word we also learn that the flesh both male and female, will not take resposibility for its own actions.


  36. oneg2dblu says:

    So… to me the Wisdom of God, is where Christ presents himself to his bride through His Holy Spirit, as He deposits his very presence to dwell within each believer,given to help us overcome the flesh or the world of pride that also lives within us, both male and female.

  37. poohpity says:

    Bruce, I agree that that may be why Solomon uses the word “She” to denote wisdom. So if that were the case then in Proverbs 31 we could see “She” being portrayed as a “Wisdom Riddle”.

  38. SFDBWV says:

    Plumbape/Michael, I almost never comment in the afternoons as I have no time for the computer, but wanted you to know somehow I missed your September 20, 2013 6:13 comment.

    I also very seldom look back on old topics, having figured I had said all I wanted then.

    I want you to know I would never ignore you Michael and perhaps tomorrow morning give a more detailed answer to your comment.

    Let me say with a wink that there is an old traditional saying “Once a Marine always a Marine” it has merit. Also look up a guy named Charlemagne a Christian King who is called the father of Europe among other titles.

    Be blessed


  39. remarutho says:

    It seems to me that glossing over the entire issue of gender in order to disclaim historical fact doesn’t “cut the mustard,” as someone said earlier. Something is missing I believe.

    God deals with nations, peoples and whole cultures. Gender is discounted only because God deals with masses of people at once. Thus, God moving in sovereign wisdom speaks to both the Apostle Paul and to the Prophet Hosea:

    “Those who were not my people I will call my people, and her who was not beloved I will call beloved. And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they shall be called children of the living God.” (Hosea 2:19-20; Romans 9:22, 23, 24, 24,26)

    It seems to me God is speaking also to all peoples in our time. Those who have committed violence will not enter the Lord’s presence, but the pure in heart will see God.


  40. remarutho says:

    Slip of the keyboard. Hoped to include Romans 9:25. Maru

  41. Mart De Haan says:

    I thought you might be interested to know that I passed along to Alice that we were having a good discussion about her presentation, and after reading your comments above she told me how much she values a setting like this where ideas can be discussed and tested.

    Alice also added some additional thoughts that might help you to understand her take on Lady Wisdom. She wrote to me: “We first meet her in Prov 1:20, calling young men to turn from foolishness; she reappears in Prov 3:18, then from Prov 8:1 through 9:6. In all cases the writer (Solomon in this section of the book) personifies wisdom as a woman: the Hebrew noun translated wisdom is khokmah which is grammatically feminine – hence the use of the feminine pronoun referring to her in each instance. While Prov 31:10-31 does not specifically identify this woman as Lady Wisdom (a different writer in a different era?), the fact that the 22 verses are meant to be memorized would lead me to conclude that what we have at the end of the book is Lady Wisdom showing up in daily life.

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Michael, after re reading your comment to me under the topic “Life on the Run” and seeing your comments to pooh concerning me on “For a Healthy Heart”, it may be best for me to say nothing and let this matter rest.

    Let me just say for you to live life for yourself and for your family as you best feels is appropriate and I will do the same for mine.


  43. SFDBWV says:

    Mart/Alice, the ant is also referred to as a *her* are we then to also suppose that this isn’t actually an ant being spoken of but rather *Lady Wisdom*?

    In my comments earlier I gave text to the fact that Adam and Eve are of the same person divided only by the biological necessity for procreation as God devised.

    Eve’s punishment for her part in the “fall of man” was to have children in intense pain, Adams was that he would work hard in a futile effort to survive and then die.

    Both Adam and Eve died and so death is part of our DNA.

    Whereas Solomon said he had never found a woman that possessed wisdom in Ecclesiastes 7:28, King Lemuel’s mother gave him a prophesy about how to be a wise King. And then gave him a blue print for the proper wife.

    Why wouldn’t a wife who loved her husband and children take her position of honor alongside her husband and do all she can to assure the success of her family?

    Only “Peg Bundy” would disagree with trying to live up to the standards of this *ideal* wife.


  44. SFDBWV says:

    Mankind (Adam and Eve) are ask by Jesus to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

    Who can do such a thing? But we are to aspire and to strive to that seemingly impossible standard, yet it is still a standard by which we are both measured against and desire to attain; being Christlike.

    This is both a task and a standard for all of mankind, why can’t the “Virtuous Woman” be seen as the same and not confined to just being a parable about common sense?


  45. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Going back to the Garden of Eden, we see that a woman was the very best creation for a man. Of every other created thing she was the best and most important. She was what was dear to his heart. I think Scripture speaks of this when Paul says a man should love his wife as he loves his own body.

    Everywhere in Scripture, or anywhere for that matter, when something is referred to as a woman i.e. Lady Wisdom or the Bride of Christ, or a car or a ship, the speaker isn’t trying to tell women how to behave, but rather it is a way of saying, “this is something very important and you should make it dear to your heart.

    I’m not a feminist and I make no apologies for that. I do think women are mistreated because men fail to see what they are called to do which is to see woman as the creation that they are to love and take care of.

    That is why I identify so strongly with the forgiven woman who came to Jesus (at the house of a misogynistic man) and cried so hard at his feet that she could wash them and let all her hair fall about her instead of pinning it up and hiding it under a scarf so that her hair could dry his feet. The comfort level she had with Him is astounding. She was free to open up her very soul and not worry about being reproved, humiliated and thought of as a potential sex object.

    Men need a friend, a mentor, a leader that they can trust completely and no friend, brother or father perfectly fits the bill. Only Jesus. Women need a man to love them for the soul they possess and no pastor, father, husband or son perfectly fits the bill. Only Jesus.

    I believe the male writers of Scripture were writing to men, although God in His wisdom allows His message to be completely absorbed by women. They weren’t telling women how to be. The weren’t lessons for women on how to be what men want. They were telling men, “Listen up, this message is important. This is about something you don’t have but that you need and that God longs to give you so that it will be special to you.”

    About the wife in Prov 31. This is about being smart enough to see the good that a woman can do for you rather than throwing your life away on a “good time.”

    When it comes to the church being the Bride, I think we tend to look at that wrong and I blame that on the huge wedding industry that we have been indoctrinated by in these past years. Jesus is telling men “You should consider yourselves my Bride.” Why does He say this? The answer to this came to me at a ladies Bible study. One woman opened up her home, provided food and favors, atmosphere and Godly wisdom. One lady was so moved by one of the actions of the hostess that she jokingly asked, “will you marry me?” And it hit me how much joy and comfort a wife can bring to her husband. It hit me how a husband might feel on his wedding day to be getting the one thing on earth that he believes is crucial to his happiness. Being a woman, I’d never looked at it in that light before. That is what Jesus is saying. He wants the church to be the one thing on earth that is crucial to making him happy. Not money, power or fame, but by being loved by the one you love. We don’t understand how God views His bride by being one, but by having one of our own.

    In the same way, I never understood how much it meant to be a child of God by being a child, but by having one of my own. When I had a child and felt the love I had for my child, I was overwhelmed by the love and intent of God’s meaning in calling us His children.

  46. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Poor wise man, soldiering on without Messiah! After his pessimistic assessment of the two sexes, “one man among a thousand, but a woman among all those I have not found,” (Ecclesiastes 7:28) his somber conclusion is:

    “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

    I am left to wonder whether The Preacher took as many wives and concubines as reported. The harem was huge, if so. Was Ecclesiastes himself the “one man” he had found? (Ecclesiastes 7:20)


  47. Mart De Haan says:

    You are right that as the Bible unfolds, Jesus the Christ, and life in reliance on him, brings common sense to fulness of meaning. The wisdom of the Proverbs looks forward (and back) to him.

    I think your example of the ant helps to make the point. A proverb about ants–is about ants– while not only being about ants, but about the kind of wisdom that is needed for all of us (in relationship to the God who has now revealed himself in his Son).

    The Scriptures provide many examples of what “a man” (Christlike) is to be. Women have long understood that while these examples are for and about men– with a bit of thought– they are about a wisdom that is for all.

    Seems to me that Lady Wisdom turns the normal process around, dressing in a riddle– to make us think, solve what appears to be a problem, and learn…

  48. SFDBWV says:

    In my mind Adam and Eve are the same person, in fact all people in all the earth are Adam. Both male and female all originated from Adam.

    In all of the verses of Scripture that address how man is to live, it really is genderless in that it speaks to everyone not just 1/2 of them.

    Jesus says in Luke 20:34, 35, 36 that in the resurrection there is no marriage, that we are as the angels; genderless?

    I think that if we look there is no separation between men and women, in being told to be “Christlike”.

    There are many examples given in how a man is to conduct himself in relationship to his wife and family.

    Also there is this marvelous example of the “Virtuous Woman” who exemplifies how to be a good wife.

    Together they make up how God wants for man and wife to *coexist* as one with one purpose that being selfless toward each other.

    From the outset of this spider web I said that Scripture is multilayered and speaks differently to different issues and people on a very personal level; I am not arguing with you Mart or disagreeing with Alice’s view of the Virtuous Woman, what I am saying is that this example of how a wife should be, not be devalued and relegated to just speaking only of wisdom but remain the example I believe it intended to be that of a *Virtuous Woman*.


  49. cbrown says:

    The ant and a Godly woman seem to be 3 things. First, a creation of God, then an example of qualities God values and finally God is a Spirit and he is teaching us through the ant and the woman to abide in Him.

  50. poohpity says:

    Before Christ mankind looked at the things that divide or one thing wanted superiority over another; the Jews wanted superiority over the gentiles, the free man over slaves and the man over the woman but in Christ they all held the same position at the foot of the Cross and become one in purpose, mission and goals. So it seems looking at the wisdom found in “Virtuous Woman” description we can see those attributes found in any person found to have wisdom. I went back through the Proverb and replaced She with Wisdom very eye opening to say the least.

    Being open to learning and just trying to see things through the eyes of another does not take away from what is written but it may take us out of a box knowing that God has so much packed into those pages that we have yet to learn about Him. What an adventure!

    For instance Steve you mentioned Matt 5:48 which is the concluding sentence of that paragraph speaking about loving enemies. We know God is perfect and He loved us while we were His enemies and Jesus seemed to be asking us to do the same.

  51. Artle says:

    I think what troubled me about the Lady Wisdom view and the introduction to the topic is that it seemed to say the virtuous wife cannot exist, that it is too difficult and women should not try to be her and men should not bother trying to find her.

    If it is unattainable for the woman, it is unattainable for the man, so the chapter being all about Lady Wisdom just does not go anywhere useful.

    Alice’s added comment of “….Lady Wisdom showing up in daily life.” brings it back to the reality of the virtuous woman, because the virtues as described are not likely to show up due to the warrior (husband) of the family.

    Perhaps the reason Proverbs revealed Wisdom as a She is that the qualities of Wisdom are not those of the typical man (warrior) of the day.

    It is one of the greatest writings ever penned on the equality of man and woman; second only to Genesis 2:24 which came to me overnight. I need to thank Steve for planting that seed yesterday and Paul for water from his letters to make it grow.

  52. bubbles says:

    I hope it is acceptable and legal to post a quote by an author as long as she is given credit for the words. Please delete this comment if it is against any copy written laws that of which I am not aware. It is a good quote and I want to share it.

    I completed a book study once about the Prov. 31 woman. The author said the following:

    “The Proverbs 31 woman is truly a woman of excellence who models for us the godly traits God highly esteems and exalts. God has preserved His portrait of her in the Bible. She is ours to admire, to inspect, to study, to emulate, and to point others to. She’ll always be there for you to pore over, to visit with, to draw upon, and be refreshed by. Truly, hers was a heart of excellence and we should pursue her excellence.” ~Elizabeth George.

    Her words meant a lot to me and taught me that this is there for us NOT to belittle or shame us, and not for us to despise her as an unreachable standard.

    This also reminds me of Rebekah in Genesis. When reading her story, we see a woman who went the extra mile to water thirsty camels. This job would have spent her time. While I realize that carrying water was a woman’s job in the Old Testament, consider the weight of water containers. She possibly carried gallons upon gallons of water depending on how thirsty the camels were. She was willing to be inconvenienced for a stranger. Because of her excellence she answered the prayer of Abraham’s servant, became the bride of Isaac, and was added to the line of Christ.

    This all began because she was excellent.

    God values excellence. What we do should not be for man, but for our Heavenly Father. We should want to give Him our very best because He is our King.

  53. saled says:

    I’ve been thinking about the line where Mart says, “Verses 1-9 talk about not giving his strength and honor away to that which will consume him.” I’m thinking this could be many things other than women and wine. Many musicians have been consumed by their music. Football is in the news for its devastating impact on players.

    Years ago I read a trio of books, the first of which was called “The Emigrants”. The theme throughout the books was that whatever you give your life to, takes it from you. It’s been years, but the story of the young mother of several children becoming pregnant after being told by the doctor another baby would kill her, still brings tears to my eyes. Her life was being wife and mother, and the work of childbearing along with helping her husband establish a farm took her life from her. I think we are all consumed by something; we have to be careful what we give our life to.

    The idea of the virtuous woman being Lady Wisdom works for me. If you had followed me around today, you might think that I put in the effort of the virtuous woman, but not because that is my goal. I love my family and work hard for them, but I barely keep my head above water. Figuratively speaking, I am afraid of the snow for my family. I am relieved to read Provers 31 figuratively rather than literally.

  54. bubbles says:

    saled, if it makes you feel better, I feel like I am in a river going against the current and it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. You are not alone.

  55. poohpity says:

    It is the currents in life that makes us stronger swimmers as long as we trust, believe in God and His provision. God is our life preserver. If we give our life to God and are consumed with Him, do we not experience peace and fear is cast out? Neither one of you are alone, the Lord is right there with both of you.

  56. poohpity says:

    I have a question to ask the women and hopefully giving an honest answer for those who have never been married and think they are missing something. How many of you are happily married? Is not raising children one of the hardest things that you have ever attempted with hardly no thank you’s or praises or children rising up and calling you blessed before they are in their 30’s? (Proverbs 31:28) The grass always seems greener on the other side. Paul says if we can remain unmarried it is better then we have more time to serve the Lord. I know there are some who are very happily married but it seems to be more of an exception that the rule.

    If the men ask their wives if they are happy and the wives are truthful you will find that not many are and I bet not many will even be truthful with their spouses about it.

  57. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    Mart wrote:
    “What surprised me is the way this last chapter of proverbs came to life when considered as a way of summing up the nature of wisdom for all.”

    Dr. Matthews brings in the entire passage of Proverbs 3 through the first verses of chapter 9 – where we hear from a young man’s father as well as his mother. In chapter 4, the father instructs the all the children (Proverbs 4:1 – “sons and daughters” in some trans.):

    Be wise and learn good sense;
    remember my teachings
    and do what I say.
    If you love Wisdom
    and don’t reject her,
    she will watch over you.
    The best thing about Wisdom
    is Wisdom herself;
    good sense is more important
    than anything else. (Proverbs 4:5-7)

    How a child of God meets the challenges of life, inside and outside the heart – inside and outside the family – in the emotional life as well as in the public persona – is sustained and made godly by the grounding of wisdom (an attribute of God).

    What strikes me as important is that by applying wisdom any child of God avoids idolatry – even idolizing the Law of Moses or any other good thing. The teaching also stands the son or daughter in very good stead when the storms of life come. Most importantly, this inner stability keeps the godly person from the evil attacks of anxiety, panic or despair.

    This is a word for our times as well as ancient times, and anticipates the promise we have from Jesus that he is with us always, in joy and in sorrow. (Matthew 28:19, 20)


  58. SFDBWV says:

    Long has the battle raged over literal and figurative interpretation of Scripture.

    People will divide themselves into two camps and as a result both will *see* the same verse of Scripture from a very different approach.

    There are also the middle of the road people who opt to choose whether a verse is literal or figurative depending upon *their* understanding of the Word.

    There is a very dire warning at the end of Scripture about changing the Words of Scripture, doing so should be thought about long and hard before doing so.

    Not trusting the power of *worldly knowledge* over *faith* I tend to stay closer to being in the literal camp.

    After ingesting this matter and seeing how it balances with other Scripture I will say this; the concept that the picture of the Virtuous Woman not meant to be an actual example of a good and faithful wife and mother, but rather a word picture of wisdom, may be a cute church byword, but I reject it as being the intended revelation from the Holy Spirit.

    My friend saled actually summed it up for why I feel this way as it “relieved” her from feeling convicted.

    I am convicted to be the best man I can for my God, my country, and my fellow man, I pray never to be relieved of that conviction and feel I am relieved of the onus of being Christian because the Scripture is only figurative and not literal.


  59. remarutho says:

    May the Lord shield us from any “cute church byword!”

    Literal reading alone of the Word of God is not possible for the living of a godly life, in my humble opinion.

    Lemuel’s mother is guiding him toward justice, kindness and humility, which are abstract virtues. (Micah 6:8) A flesh and blood person, male or female, is just that — and becomes much more when endued with wisdom from God, it seems to me.


  60. SFDBWV says:

    Maru I will join with you in asking for deliverance from “cute church bywords” as they more often sound like the language of the Nicolaitans rather than that of Disciples of Christ.

    Lemuel’s mother is trying to lead him to a virtuous woman for a wife and gives him her example, which sounds to me like Lemuel’s mother was wise in seeing the virtue’s a good wife, should be.


  61. remarutho says:

    Well then, Steve, we may be back to “Super Woman.” So be it. My heart is not convicted that I should or could emulate the woman Lemuel’s mother seeks for him.

    My heart is convicted, as you say, to trust God in Christ for every next step I take as a servant — yes, inside and outside the church — in thought, word and deed. Even the literal fact of death is refuted by our God in the Spirit hovering over the body of Jesus — and giving us all new life in his resurrection.


  62. Artle says:

    I had this typed out before I read the recent Steve/Maru exchange of comments, just so y’all know.

    Maru mentioned the word faith is not in Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes is not aware of the resurrection of Christ or he hides his knowledge intentionally. It’s the “why bother” book of the bible. I imagine everyone feels that way at some time I know I have), but Ecclesiastes does bring us back to God after stating that much study and knowledge and wisdom is unnecessary (Ecclesiastes 12:12 NASB). What is necessary is noted by Jesus in Luke 10:39,42 NASB, and is simply being with him and listening.

    The study of scripture is useful (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB), but not necessary. However we view Proverbs or anything else is not as needful as listening at the feet of Jesus.

  63. Artle says:

    Thanks pooh for explaining how the references work. I still find myself praying in the king’s English, but 1995 words are sometimes easier to read.

  64. saled says:

    Steve, I’ve often thought that I would rather be you than me. You are obviously the male counter part of the virtuous woman and I respect you for that. Understand that my conviction results from not seeing the rewards of my efforts. I think maybe I took Proverbs 31 too literally and used it as a rule list. Get up early, provide a selection of food that interests your family, sew their clothes, help the poor, exercise to keep your body strong, etc. I love all those things. And I considered two fields and bought them: I’m a remedial reading and math ed tech, and I’m trying to develop a business growing shiitake mushrooms. But this hasn’t led to security for my family. My husband spent himself in a labor intensive job for 30 years. You would think that would be enough to draw retirement, but that is more than 10 years away for him. I am the only wage earner.

    No, I think Proverbs 31 is figurative. I think God is looking to lead us through the Spirit rather than a rule list. I am someone who likes rule lists so I can know I am doing things right. But the list leaves out that very necessary connection to Spirit. Getting up early can actually be against the Spirit for me sometimes. But I understand what wisdom is saying here. And Lady wisdom is saying it to my husband as well as to myself.
    And it is true for my husband as well as myself.

  65. saled says:

    Pooh, in the past my husband has asked me if I’m happy. Being married and having children, I realized that it wasn’t actually happiness that I was looking for, but rather security and a sense that life was turning out as it should, peaceful and predictable. It was a while before I came to the conclusion that God doesn’t expect us to create a perfect life, in fact, he seems to intend to throw monkey wrenches at our plans.

    I remember being single feeling heartache about being alone. An article in a Christian magazine helped me. It was written by a single girl who attended Christmas at her parents with her married siblings and their children as well as an elderly aunt. The aunt gave money as a gift, twice as much to the married siblings as to the writer. She said after the gifts were exchanged, her aunt came to her in tears and gave her double the cash gift. She said “You will not get less.”
    And the writer took this both literally and figuratively, she literally got the cash, and she realized that God will not give her less because she is single. It is hard here stuck in time to realize that, and I understand the heartache of it. But yes, Pooh, marriage and children have heartaches also.

  66. poohpity says:

    I believe that we are called to be content in whatever situation we are placed whether married or single, knowing that God has a plan and sometimes our plans are not His plans. I think a lot of times we do not bother to ask what His plan or Will is before we go the way we may want. Yes there will always be rivers to cross over, mountains to climb and stones in the path but we know He is with us no matter what and in His love we will conquer all because we are overcomers through Christ Jesus.

    When the book of Revelations was written by John it was not attached to the Bible that came later. So I believe when he wrote Rev 22:18-19 NIV it only applied to that prophesy which we know by Revelation.

  67. Artle says:

    I believe many women who may not feel they are “Super Women” already fulfill the prophecy of Lemuel’s Mother. The truth is found in verse 30, and the truth is a woman who reveres God which in the OT was the beginning of wisdom. Most translations use the word fear. Whichever word is used no longer matters because now the gift of wisdom is freely given to any who ask (James 1:5 NASB) (Matthew 7:7 NASB).

    So the 2013 version is a woman who believes in Christ Jesus who died for her and He gives her wisdom freely when she asks and with her knowledge of Christ she manages her 2013 responsibilities better than she can without Him. Her children (biological or spiritual) will call her blessed when they realize the gift she has passed on to them through the example of her life in Christ.

    “An excellent wife, who can find; but if in her life you can see Jesus, her worth is beyond compare.”

    Forever reach toward Jesus. Find a way through the difficult scripture to the answer which is always Christ Jesus.

  68. poohpity says:

    In this chapter we see this person had servants verse 15 and did not do things alone. She had help. In wisdom we know that going through life we can not do everything alone we need God first of all and then we ask for help from others. Pride stops us most times from reaching out and asking others to lend a hand. Just as we want to help, there are people out there who also feel it is a blessing to give help and we deny them of their blessing.

  69. bubbles says:

    If I implied that I think I am excellent, I did not mean in any way to do so. Most of the time I feel like a floundering fish flipping about on the sand.

    When I worked in a “Christian” environment, the boss of that place gave us a devotion on Rebekah being excellent. He talked about how God values that and how we should strive for excellence. But most of the time we heard we were not good enough, we did not do our jobs well enough, and that went on and on. He told us we were only individuals contracted out to work for the place for that one year.

    I did the best I could but he made me feel so insignificant, especially since I did not have Christian college education but secular. I heard him say many many times we needed to be excellent and “know” those with whom we worked. In some cases I knew more the families of those with whom I worked better than my own family. I never did understand what he was trying to say. I never felt like my job was good enough for him. He was intimidating and put us down a lot.

    To this day, I still hear his voice in my mind from time to time.

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