Thursday, September 22, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge, Day 8

(23) Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
If some of you are creepy enough to stalk me, and know that I missed yesterday's, I apologize. I sat down to start writing it, but then I needed to keep my younger siblings happy outside for a while, and then I never got back to the computer. My siblings have a way of doing that to you.... ;)
Anyways, back to the whole reason this post exists.....

I find it interesting that in the middle of a proverb devoted solely to what a virtuous woman looks like, we find a verse that talks only about men, and has nothing to do with women. Or so it seems.

Ok, to start off, what does it mean "Her husband is known among the gates"? Why is that important?

Back in the Old Testament times, public business and cases were done at the city gates. They served as the city's courtroom. So when it says that he is known among the gates, it means that he spent a lot of time there. People saw him there often, regularly enough for him to be dubbed as "one of the usual comers", and people knew his name. Or, at least his face. Namely, he was a noble and renowned man.

Ok, what does having a "noble" husband do with being a godly, virtuous woman? I think that there are two reasons that lie behind this.

The first is that a "Proverbs 31 woman" would be wise enough not to consent to marry a drunkard of a thief. She wouldn't throw her life away to misery, just to gain the status of "married", or no longer a "hopeless single". She'd guard her heart. She'd take the question of whom she'd marry very seriously, and not lightly. I think a brilliant example of this is Lydia, from Pride and Prejudice:

In case you don't know the story(and you have not lived if you don't. JK), Lydia meets dashing young Mr. Wickham. He seems all good on the surface, until her sister finds out that he already tried eloping with Mr. Darcy's sister. But Lydia doesn't know that. And Lydia, being a silly, foolish girl, who lives to flirt with officers and any man that crosses her path, agrees to elope with him. 

The reason for me bringing this up is that Lydia didn't guard her heart. She was ready to throw it away at the first chance she got, and she ended up marrying a jerk-wad because of it. Don't let that happen to you. Guard your heart with sincerity, and trust God to tell you who the right man is in His own time.

The second reason is that a man's wife is a huge, tremendous influence on him. If she is "the plague of his life", then he obviously isn't going to go too far in life. In fact, he'll probably end up dying early because of it. But if she is the "joy of his life", then chances are, he'll go pretty far. I don't mean that he'll end up being President of the United States, or whatever, because obviously not everybody is called to be that, but he'll be "Known at the city gates". In other words, he'll be happy, noble, and satisfied with life. He won't be a miserable wretch.

Here's an interesting excerpt from an article I found:

{The following is from High Call High Privilege by Gail MacDonald (pages 99-100)}:
By age 31 he had become known as one of America's most effective speakers. One of  Webster's earlier biographers, Norman Hapgood, assigns much of the great orator's success to the quality of his marriage to a woman, Grace Fletcher, whom he married at the age of 26.  Of her the writer says:
She had the goal of keeping alert to those high principles which her husband held.  Her upright New England faith and sweet loyalty must have been one of the strongest barriers resisting the temptations which lay before the impressionable statesman (Norman Hapgood, Daniel Webster, Boston: Small Maynard & C o, 1899, page 64).
When Grace Fletcher Webster died, Daniel remarried a year later.  The biographer said of Carolyn Roy, his second wife:
She brought him money and social position and nothing else that could be traced in his life.
Two  years into that second marriage it was said of Webster:
He steadily declined from a height at which his altering nature could no longer sustain itself.
Daniel Webster began overeating and drinking.  His spending habits soared out of control, and his moral life disintegrated.  By the end of his political life, the man once known for his great integrity had become typed as a political compromiser.  Tragedy mounted upon tragedy, and when he died, he was a beaten and bitter man.
To conclude this, first off: Guard your heart. Don't throw your life away at some worthless jerk. Even if he is "cute", time will fade that away, and his true self will be revealed. Secondly, echoing Day 1's message, be a wife he can boast of. Don't let yourself become(whether literally, or metaphorically) "The Plague of his life". Strive after being a "Proverbs 31 woman", and above all, put God first.

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