Okay, here we go!
After all of those questions and research from yesterday, I want now look specifically at verse 11, keeping all of the questions and all of the context in mind as we tackle a very important topic.
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” I have highlighted the sections that I want to look closely at.
The heart or “labe” is the source of emotion, thought and action all combined, in short it is the WILL. The will is what drives emotions, drives thoughts, and leads to actions. This is not an emotional statement that the husband is making, her husband does not have a feeling of trusting in his wife, he has chosen to trust her because she is trustworthy. The word trust here is baw’takh, and it means trust, confidence or surety. His will has confidence in her, and because of that trust he will lack no gain. Gain here means booty or spoils. I think this is interesting because usually booty or spoils are what you might think that a pirate would gain, or a thief. You would not be wrong, and this is a wonderful example of how the dynamic the Hebrew language is. Does a good thief leave anything valuable behind? No. Well, neither will the husband. Because his heart trusts his wife, he will leave nothing behind, he will have no lack of gain.
There is one more word that I did not highlight that I want to bring out now, and that is the word “husband”. In order to grasp the relationship between husband and wife in Proverbs 31, we must take a close look at the role/purpose of the husband.
Husband, or “ba’al” is another strong name, like the cha’yil Ishah (virtuous woman), it means “master” or “lord” as well as “husband”. I don’t want you to think of what the names master or lord might mean to you, rather, I want to show you what they mean to God. Let’s jump back to Genesis 1 and 2, the creation of mankind and the creation of the marriage covenant. What is it that we know of the Ishah and her relationship with the man, Ish?
1: In Genesis 1:27 God Himself places the woman on an equal footing with the man, “God created man (adama- meaning mankind, this word is genderless) in His own image, in the image of God He created him (him is the plural of mankind, again it is not related to a specific gender); male and female he created THEM. God blessed THEM and God said to THEM, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over…” With this premise, or foundation, it would be very difficult to understand God if he contradicted himself in Genesis 2, therefore…
2: …In the Genesis 2 version of the creation of mankind-(adama), man-(Ish) appears physically before the woman does-(Ishah), but this in no way implies that he is somehow more powerful or more important than her, or above her in any way. IF this were true then the plants, animals, starts, and dirt are more important than mankind because they were most definitely created first, laugh out loud. Just as all of creation in chapter one before mankind is on equal footing, so too is this creation on equal footing. I cannot stress this enough.
3: Ishah was made from the man’s rib, therefore she is a part of his very being or SOUL ( When God took the dust of the ground and breathed into it the Breath of Life (ruach– meaning wind or spirit) the result was SOUL, a wholly integrated and inseparable combination of matter and spirit). Does it then follow that because she is only a part of him that she is some how less than he is? No. She is…
4. …”Bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.” How much more equal can two people be that they share the same anatomy? And if you want to imply that because a woman’s body is designed to bear children, or that because she does not develop muscle in the same way as a man that she is somehow less than a man, I’d challenge you to show me how and where that idea exists in the mind of God. Or, more importantly, search the mind of God for yourself and see if that is really what exists there.
5. In summary, all of mankind is given dominion over creation, both male and female (Genesis 1), a specific relationship between a man and a woman is created where God takes the man on a journey through creation before bringing him his wife. The purpose of this exploration was to find a “helper suitable” or a “powerful equal” and the text is clear that “none could be found” (Genesis 2). Entre Ishah- the solution. The powerful equal that God desires for Ish so that he will not be alone in his stewardship of God’s creation. Does this imply that the man is in charge and the woman is subservient? The text does not even touch on such an aspect to their relationship, it relies solely on the pre-established mandate of Genesis 1 that both male and female equally share His image and likeness. The man accepts the woman and calls her “flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bone.”
The key idea I want to draw from Genesis is that of true Lordship. What is the highest responsibility of a master? It is to submit to the needs of those for which he is master. If he had nothing, he would not be a master. The ba’al of Proverbs 31 is not a husband, master, or lord because of subservience or submission on the part of his wife (these words are very different and I use them in contrast to one another, not as synonyms). On the contrary! He is a master and lord because he has submitted himself to his wife. There is a much broader study here that you may go into if you wish, and you will see a perfect example of it in the life and death of Christ, the God who submitted himself to mankind and death on the cross in order to make it possible for us to have a relationship with Him again. This is the action of a lord and it can be done by a man or a woman. There is only one difference between Christ submitting to mankind and a man or woman submitting to another man or woman, and that is that God was never created equal to men and women, BUT men and women were created equal to one another, and can mutually submit to one another in marriage.
In conclusion, lets take a moment and apply these first verses of Proverbs 31 to single men and women. This chapter is written very purposefully for a husband and wife, but it does not follow that we cannot gain understanding for those who are not yet married. You need to ask yourself questions.
How do you view the role of a wife?
How do you view the role of a husband?
Do these views line up with what you have seen in Genesis 1, 2 and the book of Proverbs?
How does a Biblical worldview of male and female change how you might view or treat the men and women around you, one of which may one day be your spouse?
Do you want this kind of relationship ( as seen in Genesis 1, 2 and Proverbs ) with your future spouse?
Now, if you are married, how might a Biblical worldview of your spouse change the way you view or treat him or her? How can it strengthen your relationship? If you think that it weakens your relationship, talk about WHY it does with your spouse and honestly listen to their input.
For everyone, Philippians 1:27, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.” I hope you see that this verse is not spoken to men only. Whether you are married or single, male or female, we must all strive side by side with one mind, and that mind, I believe, is meant to be as Paul said in 1st Corinthians 2:16 “…but we have the mind of Christ.”
Do you have the mind of Christ?