PROVERBS A CHAPTER A DAY
Comments are interleaved with text
The words of King L’mu’el, the prophecy with which his mother disciplined him:
No, my son! No, son of my womb!
No, son of my vows!
Don’t give your strength to women
or your ways to that which destroys kings.
MAMA KNOWS BEST
It is not for kings, L’mu’el,
not for kings to drink wine;
it is not for rulers to ask,
“Where can I find strong liquor?”
For they may drink, then forget what has been decreed,
and pervert the justice due to the poor.
AS A TRUE PROPHET SHE STANDS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE
Give strong liquor to one who is perishing,
wine to the deeply depressed;
let him drink, forget his poverty
and cease to remember his troubles.
LOSING AWARENESS IS ONLY GOOD FOR TROUBLED PEOPLE
Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who need an advocate.
Speak up, judge righteously,
defend the cause of the poor and the needy.
THE KING’S POWER MUST BE USED ON BEHALF OF THE POWERLESS. A WISE WOMAN RULES THE RULER.
Who can find a capable wife?
Her value is far beyond that of pearls.
THIS IS AN ALPHABETICAL POEM, EACH VERSE STARTING WITH A SUCCESSIVE LETTER OF THE HEBREW ALPHABET, HERE PLACED BEFORE THE NUMERAL.
Her husband trusts her from his heart,
and she will prove a great asset to him.
She works to bring him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
FROM THE START SHE IS ESTIMATED AS AN ASSET TO HER HUSBAND. HIS WORK IS NOT MENTIONED, BUT SHE BUILDS THE HOUSEHOLD AS A UNIT
She procures a supply of wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
She is like those merchant vessels,
bringing her food from far away.
THIS IS A DIGNIFYING AND HUMOROUS SIMILE EVEN AFTER 2500 YEARS
It’s still dark when she rises to give food to her household
and orders to the young women serving her.
LIKE ALL SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SHE HAS SLAVES
She considers a field, then buys it,
and from her earnings she plants a vineyard.
WHAT SHE OWNS MUST BE PRODUCTIVE
She gathers her strength around her
and throws herself into her work.
She sees that her business affairs go well;
her lamp stays lit at night.
She puts her hands to the staff with the flax;
her fingers hold the spinning rod.
SHE IS THE ORIGINAL MULTI-TASKER
She reaches out to embrace the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
SHE ACTS WITH JUSTICE AND COMPASSION. HER SUCCESS DOES NOT MAKE HER JUDGEMENTAL.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
since all of them are doubly clothed.
She makes her own quilts;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
SHE HAS PRACTICAL AND ARTISTIC SKILLS AND LIKES TO LOOK GOOD.
Her husband is known at the city gates
when he sits with the leaders of the land.
WELL, YES, AT LEAST PARTLY DUE TO HIS WIFE, THIS LUCKY CHAP IS WELL-RESPECTED
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchants with sashes.
COTTAGE INDUSTRY TOO
Clothed with strength and dignity,
she can laugh at the days to come.
IN ANY SOCIETY THAT IS A BLESSING
When she opens her mouth, she speaks wisely;
on her tongue is loving instruction.
SHE HAS WORKED THINGS OUT FOR HERSELF AND CAN THEREFORE HELP OTHERS
She watches how things go in her house,
not eating the bread of idleness.
WE DON’T KNOW HER DIET BUT MAYBE WE SHOULD ALL BE ON IT
Her children arise; they make her happy;
her husband too, as he praises her:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you surpass them all!”
Charm can lie, beauty can vanish,
but a woman who fears the Lord should be honoured!
WE SEE THAT THIS MAN IS OPEN TO THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF WOMEN
Give her credit for what she has accomplished;
let her works speak her praises at the city gates.
IN SPITE OF THIS BEING AN IDEAL IMAGE, SHE SEEMS LIKEABLE AS WELL AS SUCCESSFUL. SHE ENJOYS HER WORK AND HER FAMILY, AND IS A GENEROUS PERSON. IN FACT, WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A PRACTICAL INCARNATION OF LADY WISDOM: COMMON SENSE, LOYALTY, HARD WORK, SHREWD UNDERSTANDING, HAPPY DISPOSITION, FEAR OF THE LORD. WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LIKE? WELL, OF COURSE THIS A PATRIARCHAL VISION, WHICH CANNOT THINK OF A WOMAN SUCCEEDING OUTSIDE THE FAMILY AND ITS DUTIES. BUT THE CITIZENS HONOUR HER AS A WOMAN.