I got this interesting comment on my Prov 31 post:
I am trying to say that maybe we should focus more on the spiritual
stuff and less on our domestic duties. No domestic duties are of course
important, but are they really supposed to be our main interest in life?
If there was a christian man who would think that his job is the most
important thing in his life, wouldn't we protest? So how come christian
woman's main focus in life should be her domestic duties, NOT her
Now I do understand that if one keeps homemaking
blog, one writes about homemaking. :) But in several christian blogs it
seems to me that the only bible verses, only spiritual thing is this
Proverbs 31 Woman -thing. It's hardly the most important bible verse for
That made me think about several things. Personally I think that feminism/progressive ideology is behind the heavy emphasis laid on this particular Bible chapter. Proverbs 31 presents a "superwoman" so to say, an ideal which as some preachers pointed out, is practically impossible to achieve in real life. So when feminists start complaining about traditional family being restrictive to female ambitions, the Proverbs 31 lady is trotted out as a proof that "Biblical womanhood" is all-encompassing, that there is really no contradiction between being a successful businesswoman and a good wife and mother, etc etc.
It's also used (unfortunately) by some preachers and religious groups to browbeat housewives into various money-making activities or to accuse them of laziness if they prefer a creative hobby or lunching out with a friend to selling home-made soap and stuff on the internet. For these types of folks it's always about money. Such is the nature of our age that even Bible verses get corrupted in pursuit of the financial gains.
On the other hand, the world keeps telling women that domesticity is dull, that homemaking, cooking and child-rearing are unimportant and can be easily outsourced so it's only logical that more traditional Christians will point to this chapter as the proof that these things are far from unimportant.
Personally I think that this chapter has both a literal and a figurative meaning. Since we don't live in polygamous households with many servants in an agricultural society, we can't literally follow it as a blueprint for our daily life but we can deduce from it the importance of being a good domestic manager and overall successful in running a household. While I don't believe that it contains a command for every woman to have a business or earn money, it shows that a good wife is financially prudent and that if money must be earned it should be earned from home.
I also don't believe there is a contradiction between spiritual life of a Christian woman and her domestic duties, however, I agree with the point that the spiritual side often gets neglected in our materialistic times. You know there are some articles supporting homemakers which start enumerating the things she does and putting a price tag on them, like driving children to school, cooking dinner, cleaning the bathroom and they end with a salary the housewife should earn.
While all this is important, there are other things a traditional woman does which can't be exactly measured, like providing a sympathetic ear, creating a nice and warm sphere at home, snuggling with her husband on the couch to watch his favourite movie, reading to her children, being there for her friends when they are in trouble, visiting an aged widowed aunt; in short providing comfort and attention to those around her. That's what women have done through the ages, even those who were wealthy and had servants to do their cleaning and cooking. Think about Jane Austen's Emma and the attention which she showed to her father. This is a sort of thing you can't put the price on.
And if we talk about spiritual duties, there is prayer and meditation and Bible studying and reading good books which give us positive examples and help us grow in our faith and encourage us in fulfilling our duties. It all takes time, too. Unfortunately, while prayer and Bible studies are at least still considered more or less important, spending too much time reading is viewed as frivolous and hardly important at all, as opposed to earning money and scrubbing the floors. I agree with the above-mentioned commenter (Housewife from Finland) that it's a pity!