Monday, April 25, 2011

Proverbs 19:14 commentary

14 ¶ House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

In this verse we have a contrast with the contentious wife of the previous. Here, it is said that fathers may pass down house and riches but a prudent wife is a gift from God. We need to define two words here. First, let’s look at how the preposition “of” is used for our meaning so that we don’t misunderstand the first part of the verse. “Of” can mean “by” or “from” based on context for meaning as well as some other ways there is no need to mention here. Here is an example of “by”.

Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Here is an example of “from”.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

So, to understand the context we see that material possessions (house in this case is linked with riches so it is referring to a physical structure, whereas in some contexts it refers to a dynasty or family) are an inheritance of fathers. But, God is the giver of the gift of a prudent wife. What is a prudent wife?

We’ve had the word, prudent, used about nine times in Proverbs so far so it is an important word. Prudent is first mentioned in 1 Samuel 16:18 in the phrase “prudent in matters”. In Proverbs 12:16 it refers to someone who has self control in their anger. In 12:23 the prudent person doesn’t reveal all they know and certainly not at the wrong time. In 14:8 they are very self aware; they knew themselves very well. In 14:15 they are not naïve and gullible. In 14:18 they aren’t foolish; they know what they’re talking about. In 15:5 they pay attention to being reproved. They can admit it when they’re wrong. In 16:21 they are wise in heart. In linking all of the definitions of prudent in the Bible we can see that being prudent is synonymous with being wise.

If you don’t have a prudent wife you probably didn’t pray for one anyway. If you don’t have a wife now, pray for one from God; the kind of person with which He wants you to be united for life. If your wife isn’t prudent pray for her. I’d have a hard time being a Pastor because my advice would never be very worldly or involve any such animal as “pastoral counseling” in the form of psychology tinged with Christian terms. My first questions to a struggling married couple would be “do you pray together every day?” and “do you both read your Bible every day?”. I wouldn’t be coming up with nifty little exercises to help them appreciate each other, first. I would be wanting to help them appreciate God in their lives daily, separately and alone, first.

Young men, thinking they might like to be married, first understand that a prudent wife is a gift from God. Pray diligently every day for God to place the right woman in front of you. Then, once you have the right woman, pray for her every day, pray with her every day, and both of you let God speak to you through His words in His Book. (You need to really memorize and meditate on Ephesians 5:21-33). If you still have problems then go to your Pastor. But, if you aren’t following the things of God then I doubt you’ll do what your Pastor suggests either.

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