When reading the Bible it is a great tool to know who the author is, their style and purpose for writing AND to know the audience to whom they pen their words. Example: Often times we read Proverbs 31, before we finish the last verse we are rolling our eyes (us women) and with exhausted breath we exclaim, “MEN!” Thinking Solomon writes this as a jab towards women while painting the framework for the domestic super-heroine. With a cape of noble character flowing, as she stands at the city gate, arms strong, at O dark hundred, holding in one hand a spindle and in the other the deed to the field she just bought, whilst onlookers swoon in envy. Yes, the Proverbs 31 woman is a champion among women!
HOWEVER, the opening verse begins with: “The sayings of King Lemuel, an oracle his MOTHER taught him.” (Emphasis mine) The very next verse causes us to reach for a Kleenex, “O my son, son of my womb, O son of my vows…” Some say that the Proverb was written by two different authors, but scholars find no evidence to support the switch of authorship, so I say, the portion of scripture that you either love and embrace or avoid and look away from, were the words of a woman, to the audience of a man. That man felt these words strong enough for himself and strong enough for others.
Interestingly so, among the Jewish culture it is not the young women who are taught to memorize this, verse by verse, but the young men. Now as you re-read the 31 verses of the 31st Proverb, can you see it slightly or even dramatically different? Now can you hear the cheering of a faint voice in the background, the voice of a woman who lovingly desired her son to succeed, succeed as king, succeed as one who speaks up and judges fairly and one who helps his wife succeed (see verse 28, he praises her, he commends her to shine) and thus succeeds as husband. (Go MOM!)
Knowing the author, knowing the audience.
Proverbs by a woman.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)