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Proverbs 31:10-31 - Worshiping the feminine

Updated: Dec 25, 2021

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A capable wife who can find?

She is far more precious than jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm,

all the days of her life.

She seeks wool and flax,

and works with willing hands.

She is like the ships of the merchant,

she brings her food from far away.

She rises while it is still night

and provides food for her household

and tasks for her servant-girls.

She considers a field and buys it;

with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

She girds herself with strength,

and makes her arms strong.

She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

She puts her hands to the distaff,

and her hands hold the spindle.

She opens her hand to the poor,

and reaches out her hands to the needy.

She is not afraid for her household when it snows,

for all her household are clothed in crimson.

She makes herself coverings;

her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the city gates,

taking his seat among the elders of the land.

She makes linen garments and sells them;

she supplies the merchant with sashes.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She looks well to the ways of her household,

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children rise up and call her happy;

her husband too, and he praises her:

“Many women have done excellently,

but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the city gates.


--------------------


This is the Track 1 Old Testament reading selection fot the seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 20], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If Track 1 has been determined to be a church’s path during Year B, it will be accompanied by a choice of readings, the first of which is Psalm 1, which sings, “They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper.” The other optional accompaniment is from Solomon’s Book of Wisdom, which states, “We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean.” Whichever two will be read aloud, they will then precede an Epistle reading from James, where the Apostle wrote, “Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where we read of Jesus saying, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”


I wrote of this reading when it was last a selection in the lectionary cycle. I published my views on my website, and that commentary can be viewed at this link. I stand by my comments then, although I no longer appreciate much that has to do with Solomon’s Proverbs or his Wisdom. I see the truth of Yahweh coming from the words of Solomon, but those nuggets of truth are more difficult to realize than are those of other Scripture. I invite all to read my relatively short and painless offering of the meanings of wifely virtues, as they still apply today. However, I will now make new observations.


In the first verse of this reading, the first two words (combined as one) in the Hebrew is “’ê·šeṯ-ḥa·yil,” which translates [NRSV] as “a capable wife.” In reality, the two word independently are “ishshah” and “chayil.” The Hebrew word “ishshah” means, “woman, wife, female.” In Genesis 2 and 3, there is no mention of the name “Eve,” as the only references to her is as “ishshah." In Genesis 4, when Cain and Abel are born to “man” and “woman-wife,” we read “and Adam [man] knew,” then in the Hebrew, “ḥaw·wāh ’iš·tōw” (from “chavvah ishhah”). In that, “chavvah” (which means “life”) is where “the first woman” is named, as “Eve.” In that, “the first ishshah” is a better understanding, as “Eve” was not a ‘day six' creation. As for Solomon combining “ishshah” with “chayil,” the word “chayil” means “strength, efficiency, wealth, army.” Thus, instead of “a capable wife,” Solomon meant “a valuable woman.”


In the vast history of the world, a man without offspring, most notably a male heir, is seen as worthless. As such, a man needs a woman to be his wife and produce his heirs. Because man is a mortal creature, his strength comes from being a link in an unbroken chain of souls in a lineage of souls. To be childless means to break the chain; and, that becomes the importance of men whose wives were barren in Genesis (Sarai and Rachel the two most prominent), but Yahweh intervened to show His power, so a “wife” can become the “strength” and “wealth” a man needs.


Because Solomon was the king of Israel, his wives would be deemed “queens.” Before he had his dream about wishing for great powers to understand good and evil, an arranged marriage between young Solomon and an Egyptian princess had taken place. His taking a foreign wife was not a wise decision, according to Mosaic laws. David was chastised in hindsight by scholars for having married Maacah, the daughter of Talmay, king of Geshur. This is wrong because in the genetics of the Israelites the woman born of Israelite lineage will always produce another of that line. Conversely, a woman of a Gentile line will always produce Gentile children, unless some official conversion paperwork is submitted and probably some holy water sprinkled to remove the Gentile from the wife of an Israelite.


In the story of Esther, she was a Jewish woman who had been taken as one of many wives of a Persian king. Like Solomon’s many sexual partners, Esther ended up on the ‘used wives’ pile in the harem of Ahasuerus. This history says, in essence, a “woman, wife, female” is only good for producing babies; but when a husband tires of the same ole same ole and a little strange is the perk-me-up needed, then it is time for another “wife, woman, female.” The woman never gets the luxury of such variety in life.


Because the ancient times have melted down into the modern acceptance of same sex marriage, where sterility is an excuse to adopt the unwanted children of who knows what lineage, with women more often than not preferring to wear the pants and control as many men as possible. To read Proverbs 31 makes more women mad, than those who love to please their husbands ‘the old fashioned way.’ This is why my 2018 commentary went into that direction. This reading has little appeal in these times when Christianity is dwindling into the acceptance of perverse ideas, simply to pay the electric bills of churches and keep food and medical benefits on the plates of its hired hands.


What needs to be read into these words of Solomon, where the feminine gender is applied to Hebrew words creating twenty times “she” is translated into English. That goes along with twenty-seven times the feminine possessive is applied as “her.” All stem from verse ten identifying “ishshah,” which of course is feminine [as "wife"]. It gives the impression that Solomon is in control, as the masculine. So, even though a wife was necessary for Solomon’s strength to come forth, for him to be known, Solomon had to marry with a counterpart, so that two became one, while always realizing that Solomon is still the controlling factor. This attitude needs to be seen as egotistical and unequal. Solomon needs to be seen – for all the wisdom he proclaims to have – as blind as a bat to the reality of marriage.


Because Solomon has delightfully proclaimed the wonders of "wisdom" as his bride, it should be recognized that he is not singing praises to a human woman, because those are a dime a dozen to him. He is singing praise to his true wife, the goddess to his god-ship. This means Solomon saw himself as an “elohim,” where his divine marriage to Wisdom brought him great physical strength, through the powers of a brain to discern things. In Roman terms, Solomon saw himself as a Caesar … a god in human flesh. In reality, his soul was the feminine plaything for his spiritual husband, Satan.


This brings up the polytheistic comparison, from Greek mythology, of the twin gods (Titans) Prometheus and Epimetheus. The two together created a whole, where alone their divine powers were reduced, but together they were strongest. The two names mean, in Greek, Foresight and Hindsight. Prometheus can be seen as the Husband, while Epimetheus can be seen as the Wife. Solomon saw himself as Prometheus, and his thousand wives and concubines as the lessons of the past that had nothing to do with the future. Still, in this comparison, the Titans were the ancient gods and goddesses, which were replaced by the ‘new wave’ gods and goddesses. As such, Solomon could not see the future beyond the realm of worldly reality. So, he could not see how all his selfish plans were the condemnation of his soul. Solomon sold his soul for about fifty years of Wisdom’s service, only to spend eternity wishing he had never been born.


As the Track 1 optional Old Testament reading to be read on the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is see the dangers of self-worship. The feminine essence is everything in the material realm, including the powers of the brain, which see self as more important than Yahweh. This reading being so heavily leaned towards adoration of womanly traits, judged from a male’s perspective, should be a warning not to see oneself as able to judge in the ways Solomon did. Ministry for Yahweh is the subjection of the feminine to the masculine [His], where receipt of the Spirit means to be sent into service for Yahweh [as a Son reborn from the feminine]. Anything short of that obedience is rejection in the eyes of Yahweh.

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