Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Proverbs 31 Controversy. Updated.

The great Proverbs 31 debate is still going on. Check Lydia Sherman's posts on the topic:

Questions and Answers About the Proverbs 31 Woman

and Proverbs 31 and Servants.


Lydia wrote one more article about it, so I'm adding it to the list:

Proverbs 31: Career Woman?

She mentions the lady who sold the purple cloth from Acts 16 and who was also called Lydia. Her story is apparently used to promote careers for wives and mothers, too. Ironically, the very fact that she had to earn an income was seen as proof that  she must have had no husband by the men who wrote Bible commentaries in less enlightened times:

...whether Lydia was a maid, a wife, or widow, cannot be said; it looks, however, as if she had no husband now, since she is mentioned as a trader herself ...

(from John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible, vs. 15. Read the rest over here.)


  1. Housewife from FinlandMay 9, 2016 at 5:24 AM

    Lady Lydia is so very wise. The third post is spectacular.

    I actually think that Proverbs 31 woman is somewhat at variance with what Jesus thought in the story of Martha and Mary. And as christians, we should propably focus more on Jesus than on the Old Testament?

    Now I am not saying that we should not try to be as good housekeepers as possible. But what bothers me is that people Proverbs 31 doesn't really talk about any other virtues than diligence. Proverbs 31 woman is not very spiritual one. She is very much like Martha. And Jesus kind of told us to be more Mary-like...

    Now this interpretation suites me, since I am more Mary-like by nature. And my understanding of the Scriptures is very limited. :)

  2. Housewife, yes, NT supersedes the OT. We have clear instructions for Christian women in NT and they never ever mention money-making at all.

    I guess it's the spirit of our age that everything should be about money and profit. BTW, the same John Gill I mention in my post wrote that Prov. 31 woman was the picture of the Church and that her "merchandise" should be understood in a spiritual sense.

  3. Martha wasn't struggling for money but for serving others. Both Martha and Mary are examples for good Christian behaviour. But Mary has a higher vocation which is praying and keeping God's commandments, while Martha has an important task too by being at the disposal of the needy. Mary's share must be a priority while Martha's job is a necessity that shouldn't be abandonned either. Martha wasn't criticized by Jesus for her practical activity, He just tempered her harsh words she had just told Mary. Martha was a very fervent and faithful woman around the 12 Apostles and when Lazarus died, she felt sorry that Jesus hadn't been there to prevent Lazarus' death. Jesus had told Martha that if she had faith enough she would see the glory of God (Lazarus then rose from the dead). Mary's part was superior in its eternal purpose, that is why Jesus said nobody would take away this better part from her. Helping others or doing good works is for this life only and in eternity it will stop but praying and giving glory to God will last in this life and in the coming life too.

    1. Preoteasa Alexandra,

      I really liked your explanation. :-)

  4. Yes, we must strive for a balance.