I love the book of Proverbs.
I really do, BUT…
I have a little question I’ve been asking myself.
Why in the world does the writer choose to the female imperative when referring to WISDOM?
I have never claimed to be a “wise guy”, and don’t want to start now, but I’m not sure that Solomon, who was given the gift of wisdom was thinking clearly when he called wisdom a “she”… :o)
Wisdom calls out in the street;
she raises her voice in the public squares.
She cries out above the commotion;
she speaks at the entrance of the city gates:
“How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance?
How long will you mockers enjoy mocking
and you fools hate knowledge?
If you respond to my warning,
then I will pour out my spirit on you
and teach you my words.”
Proverbs 1: 20-23
I have read the book of Proverbs many times, and love the practicality of it. Much of the wisdom we see is just plain common sense. Some of the words are warnings born from experience; other exhortations come from proven history. Proverbs are not promises–they are words of encouragement meant to help us discern right from wrong, good from evil, and my personal favorite:
To recognize God’s BEST for us as opposed to mediocrity.
My struggle with this gender reference probably comes from my own insecurities. I am smart enough to know that wisdom and knowledge are different, yet go hand in hand. I cannot boast a college degree, but I can say that Proverbs reminds me of the vast difference between possessing an education and possessing wisdom.
I really don’t think there is a lot of significance in the fact that wisdom is called a she, but as a woman, I have to admit that I am much more confident with GOD as my Heavenly FATHER, and with His plan regarding the roles of men and women. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that God created men to be the leaders of our homes, our churches and our government… (WOAH–Hold on there, coach–I am not trying to start a controversy here, I’m just stating my position.) That position has served me well in my relationship with God and with my husband, and it’s the place I am most comfortable, and I am not apologizing nor am I passing judgement.
I am married to a man with a Ph.D. and I have a high school diploma. Does that make him smarter than me? He definitely stores a lot more information in that brain of his than I could ever even fathom. (Or would want to! 😊). We have been married 33+ years now, and he has NEVER made me feel less intelligent than him. When someone asks us how that works, i.e., “How is it that you two are compatible when he has so much more education than you?”, my brilliant husband always replies,
“I’m not smarter than her, I just have more education than her.”
Don’t you see?! Knowledge can be a path to wisdom. When we study and learn God’s Word, we gain knowledge, but that knowledge is meant to change us, not just fill our brain. Wisdom comes, when the proverbial light bulb comes on…
We see not only what God has to say, but WHY He says it, and what He wants for us. We understand His truths are to guide us. His warnings are to protect us. His encouragement is to inspire us. ALL BECAUSE HE LOVES US!
I certainly am not suggesting that there is something wrong with this part of the Bible: I ABSOLUTELY believe that God inspired every word to be written. I trust the Words–and the Maker.
Maybe when I get to heaven, I’ll get my question answered, but for now, I will ponder what the commentators (and my husband) say. The common explanation is that the writer is using prose, and is comparing wisdom and folly. He tells of the foolish woman, and then speaks of the opposite, being wisdom.
I’m choosing just to be thankful that He provided the words that this woman needed to hear…
And I’ll memorize this verse in Proverbs for my Scripture Memory Challenge. Won’t you join me in hiding God’s Word in your heart?
Give yourself a Valentine: God’s Word, HIS story is the greatest love story ever told.
~~Love, hearts and valentines,