Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Proverbs 19-22

The Facts (Chapter number: Verse)

19:13-14 - "A stupid child is a ruin to a father, and a wife's quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. House and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord."
19:26 - "Those who do violence to their father and chase away their mother are children who cause shame and bring reproach."

20:20 - "If you curse your father or mother, your lamp will go out in utter darkness."

21:9 - "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a contentious wife."
21:19 - "It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful wife."

22:14 - "The mouth of a loose (alt translation: strange) woman is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry falls into it."

My Comments

Geez. We ladies are just a constant source of grief for those poor men. It is apparently better to life on a corner of a roof or out in a desert than it is to have to even share a space with a woman who dares to disagree with you. I mean really? And I imagine the "contentious" woman doesn't even have to be that disagreeable. She probably would be considered "contentious" if she just dared to voice her opinion that may go slightly against her husband's plans.

So now we see father's dealing with the unruly children but it seems there is a twist because the unruly child is being joined by a quarreling (as well as contentious or fretful) wife who is as joyful as constant rain. Supposedly a prudent wife (ie. quiet and doesn't speak her mind) is a gift from the Lord.

It really just seems ridiculous for the Bible to speak of both a father and mother raising a child because it seems a good wife wouldn't step out of place at all. How can a mother who is expected to stay under her husband's thumb going to raise a child or give orders for a child to obey? If anything she might be allowed to enforce the rules the father has set down, but it seems so odd that a mother would be allowed to have any authority over a son. A daughter, sure, but both her and the daughter would technically be under the rule of the father so even then I don't think she'd have much room to be any sort of teacher or authority figure to her children.

So why bother mentioning both parents when the Bible is making it perfectly clear that in a good, God fearing marriage only one parent (the father) is actually supposed to do what he wants and exert any sort of control? Why include the mother at all? Other than just a formality, which is what I think is going on. You pretty much never have a mother mentioned on her own when it comes to rules that involve obeying one's parents. Fathers a mentioned on their own, but mothers pretty much only showed up when mentioned right after the father. And how are children supposed to have any sort of respect for a person who is treated as no better than cattle and is only respected when she stays in line and keeps her mouth shut? The Bible claims that mothers are supposed to be respected along with their father but honestly, how do you expect a child (mostly male children) to respect someone that is treated as less than human. Kids are smart, they can tell when someone is being treated differently. Especially when the person being treated differently is being treated WORSE. The kid/son will realize that in the scheme of things his mother is less than him and will notice that it is her sex that is the reason. Daughters will notice this too, but instead of seeing themselves as better because of their sex they will realize that their lot in life is to be treated as less than by men for the rest of her life.

Kids are not stupid. Why does the Bible seem to think this is the case? If you treat half of the human race as things that are best kept quiet and out of the way kids will notice. Hell, kids notice the differences in the ways boys and girls are brought up today, and things are generally much better than they were in Biblical times (not that that's hard, the Bible sets a REALLY low bar).

It's because these ideas were constantly passed down to children that they continue to thrive. You treat you kids that women are inferior and men are the rulers of all and the kids will grow up believing that and will then teach their kids the same thing. It is a very hard cycle to break. Especially in societies as insular as tribes and clans were back in the BC. You cannot change your views until you go out and learn new ideas and new views from other people.

And I have written about 4 different ending paragraphs and haven't liked a single one, lol. So I have no real way to end this. I blame it on the fact that my all of me is frozen and I am thinking much more about curling up under the covers in bed and watching Farscape than a decent concluding thought. So I shall just leave it here.

Friday: Proverbs 23-27


  1. I think the biblical family can be looked at like this:

    Daddies are like executives, directing things and telling middle-management what to do. Mommies are middle-managers expected to have some competency at cooking, child-rearing, cleaning, that sort of thing, but loyal and obedient to the executive. Children are the peons to be managed and kept out of the executive's way, though managed according to the executive's dictates. When a son is promoted to manhood, then he's able to make his own decisions and mommy will no longer be his manager. If he's in conflict with the executive at that point, the son is wrong (see Proverbs above).

    Haven't you watched Mad Men? This is the 50s ideal as well. Patriarch > Matriarch > offspring (until sons are of age).

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  4. [I had to delete the old comments to edit them. Why can't I edit my comments without deleting them?]

    I honestly tried watching Mad Men since everyone and their mother swears it is the best show to ever exist ever. I really did not understand the appeal. The characters were infuriating and dull, the story was non existent, and I just ended up being angry at the end of every episode I watched. But I do see what you mean, how the 50's family reflects the same hierarchy as these Biblical families.

    I originally had a long rambley comment about women's work and whatnot and then realized after I posted it that some research into what families during this time were actually like would do some good. This does not change what the Bible itself says or implies, but I'm getting tired of making assumptions based solely on what I'm reading here without knowing what the reality was actually like.

    At least after some research I can start comparing the reality vs. the Bible instead of just feeling like I'm talking out of my ass. Making assumptions on Biblical life based on our modern lives is not working out so well, I think.

    So I am going to do some more research online and will report my findings in Thursday's post. It also seems that Proverbs 31 will actually have a description of what women's work is supposed to be so we do have that to look forward to. :)

  5. I also felt that Mad Men was so-so and only watched a few episodes of season 1. Maybe I should have used Leave It To Beaver as the exemplar.


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