Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Myth of the Proverbs 31 Woman

 Last night I heard an inspiring and encouraging message given to women at our church. (I was like the church mouse hiding in the balcony running tech.) The base text for the talk was Proverbs 31.20. There are many good attributes in this chapter of the bible. The female speaker pointed out how nearly impossible it is to be as good as this described wife; others have also noted that no woman in the bible lives up to the Prov. 31 standards. However, I was kind of expecting the female speaker to discredit the lofty aspirations because of its authorship.

Not many people read closely the text leading into the chapter. Essentially, this chapter is written by the (future) queen's mother-in-law as perhaps a snipe towards her son's mate: The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.

Might not the mother's-in-law perspective contribute to the lofty standards. I am not discounting the divine inspiration of the writing. I am saying we need to show grace and mercy to women who think they've failed if they miss a beat according to these verses. Just like being disinherited from the Kingdom because we are greedy, envious, quarrelsome, etc., we know God is gracious. The Sermon on the Mount also might be considered impossible standards and yet Christ says, "Knock and the door shall be opened" which will allow us into the kingdom even if we are not consistently poor in spirit. Or we might be persecuted for our own stupid mistakes, and not righteousness' sake.

[Also published on We Are Out of Our Mind blog.]

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