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Types of Women in the Book of Proverbs

MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor writes on moral integrity especially for women and encourages appreciation for the men in their lives.

Types of Women in the Book of  Proverbs

Types of Women in the Book of Proverbs

Authorship of the Book

The authorship of the Book of Proverbs is generally ascribed to Solomon (Proverbs 1:1) King of Israel for 40 years (circa 970 to 931 BCE) and reputed to be the wisest of all. However, chapter 30 was written by Agur, son of Jakeh (30:1) and chapter 31 by King Lemuel (31:1). It is believed that some of the proverbs throughout the book were quoted from the sayings of other wise men.

Given that King Solomon, the greatest contributor to the book also “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” of different nationalities (Proverbs 11: 1, 3), it is worth hearing what he says about women. The objective of the book as stated in the first chapter is partly to give insight and make the reader wiser. Young men are often addressed, but women can also learn from what men say about them.

In each subtitle of descriptive words, the first word is from the King James Version. Synonyms are listed as they appear in the New King James and New Living Translations. Verses quoted are from the New Living Translation.

(1) Brawling. Contentious. Quarrelsome.

It is better to live in the corner of an attic or alone in the desert (21:9, 19) than in a lovely home with this type of woman. She is also labelled angry and complaining (21:19) and is “as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day” (27:15).

Most likely, she has suffered some emotional damage caused by selfish desires or by the cruelty of others. Her way back to wholeness includes self-inventory, confession, repentance, forgiveness and acceptance of divine principles for living. When she finds inner peace, she learns how to be at peace with others (16:7).

Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com

Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com

(2) Fair. Lovely. Beautiful.

Chapter 11, credited to Solomon contains this sole reference to a physically beautiful woman, and it makes only one point, namely; that beauty is wasted if the woman does not have discretion (word used in all three versions). It’s like placing “a jewel of gold in a swine's snout” (11:22).

Ta`am, the Hebrew root word for discretion is also translated as taste and judgement. It is clear that after all his experience with women, Solomon is insisting that good judgement in a woman is more desirable than physical beauty.

(3) Gracious

Gracious is used in all three versions. Chên, the Hebrew root word is translated in Strong's Concordance as kind, favored, pleasant, precious. This woman is known for developing and maintaining her honor (dignity, reputation) or respect with the same passion that wealthy men build and maintain their riches (11:16). She is the composite of real beauty in a woman.

Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com

Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com

(4) Strange. Immoral. Promiscuous.

She is the personification of Folly; and described with other words like simple, brash, clamorous and ignorant (9:13); whorish, a harlot, an adulteress; a prostitute who will bring a man to poverty, and whose sexual rendezvous with a married man can cost him his life (6:26).

Men are advised that they need wisdom to steer them away from the seductive words of this woman (2:16). “Her lips are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil” (5: 3). She is reputed to be an evil flatterer (6:24). Those who allow her into their hearts will be led down the wrong path (7:25), into a dangerous trap (22:14).

Agur describes her in a scenario which he admits is beyond his understanding. He views her as capable of eating a man, wiping her mouth and then asking, “What’s wrong with that?” (30:20)

Men are warned to avoid her, but how do other women react to her? They are advised to befriend her (11:30), advise her (12:26) and empower her (27:17). She is encouraged to seek the company of the wise, to learn and develop good judgment (4:5).

5) Virtuous. Excellent. Worthy.

Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com

Courtesy of photos-public-domain.com

She is a crown to her husband, as opposed to a disgraceful wife who is like cancer in her husband’s bones (12:4). In chapter 31, King Lemuel further describes her as: capable, precious, trustworthy, industrious, energetic, strong, organized, business-savvy, wise and kind. His summary reads:

“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!” (31:29)

She is the sermon topic for many modern day preachers, and is usually presented as the role model for other God-fearing women. What's great is that she presents excellent womanhood as more than spiritual and moral. She is also exemplary in her social and economic skills.

6) Wise.

This woman is the personification of Wisdom. Wise is also used in all three versions (14:1) and refers to the woman who builds (manages) her home and family with diligence, as opposed to the foolish woman who self-destructs with extravagance and idleness.

She is portrayed as having built her house with seven columns (9:1), seven symbolizing completeness and sufficiency. She invites people to come eat at her table. Whereas her rival Folly feeds destruction, Wisdom offers a menu which encourages her guests to "Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live." (9:6)

Throughout the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom is recommended as an ideal companion. "Joyful is the person who finds wisdom," (3:13) and women who share their wisdom deserve much appreciation.

Poll: Wisdom Personified

© 2018 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on September 07, 2018:

Thanks, Anthony. I appreciate your encouragement.

Anthony.G73 on September 04, 2018:

This is a "great article" Dora. Last couple of lines of "number one"

"When she finds inner peace, she learns how to be at peace with others ( 16:7 ).

It's a real privilege to read the articles you write on.

BBYCGN from Uninhabited Regions on August 22, 2018:

Nice, Dora! Praises to our Good Lord!

Love,

Tamara

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 22, 2018:

Yancosky, thanks for your comment. I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.

BBYCGN from Uninhabited Regions on August 21, 2018:

A most beautiful post on the Proverbs Woman, Dora. By following the truths in God’s Book, along with having a close bond with Jesus Christ, any woman can be a Proverbs Woman. And this type of beauty will last forevermore.

Which denomination of Christian church do you attend, Dora?

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 16, 2018:

Denise, thanks for your observation and kind comment. There's so much for everyone to learn from those Proverbs, but it does seem that women and youth benefit the most. Still, I must agree that whatever the woman learns benefits the whole family.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on August 15, 2018:

A woman can be either a blessing or a curse, depending upon how she treats those around her! It is amazing the gamut of qualities that are addressed in the Book of Proverbs. This book should be required reading for every woman!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 13, 2018:

Thanks, Natalie. Like you, I like the Book of Proverbs; they teach very practical lessons.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 13, 2018:

Bill, behind every spiritual leader like you there is at least one wise woman. You are blessed to know more than one.

Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on August 12, 2018:

The Book of Proverbs has always been one of my favorite books. You do a wonderful job of picking out specific proverbs, organizing and discussing them. Thanks for a wonderful article that is very inspiring.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on August 12, 2018:

Another one of those so very practical hubs, Dora. And of course, it's filled with much wisdom. I didn't do the poll because I couldn't decide which one to choose - wow!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 10, 2018:

Jo, you are so kind. I aspire to deserve sweet comments like yours. Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 10, 2018:

Thanks, Michael-Milec, for underscoring the Bible's positive attitude toward women. I always appreciate your comment.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on August 10, 2018:

From reading your writings and observing your behavior here on HubPages I would say they you probably embody many of these qualities, Dora.

Michael-Milec on August 09, 2018:

Admirable article MsDora.

Looking into the confidentiality and creativity of the women as seen in the Solomon's writing (keeping in mind also the spiritual essence) one must remember that the Creator entrusted "the women " with unique creative capacity which the outer world will barely ever understand.

Their actions do outnumber their words.

“She keeps a close eye on the conduct of her family, and she does not eat the bread of idleness.”(31:27)

Peace with us.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 08, 2018:

Manatita, your happiness matters to you and your friends, including me. We trust your judgment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 08, 2018:

Thanks, Linda. I intend to respond to that challenge about virtues of men. Hopefully, soon.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 08, 2018:

Thanks, Gunnar. These days, people seem to look everywhere else except in the Bible for codes of conduct. The Book of Proverbs is not even hard to read.

manatita44 from london on August 08, 2018:

Interesting piece from Solomon and friends. I'm glad that right now i'm not in the choosing boat. Seems better to travel alone.

A creative and thought-provoking piece for some. A

look at Solomon is useful.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 07, 2018:

You've shared some good suggestions in this article, Dora. I'm looking forward to reading your article about virtues in men if you decide to write it.

Gunnar Campbell from Champaign on August 07, 2018:

A nice article highlighting aspects of Biblical womanhood. Too often, our young women are encouraged to behave in ways not only defiling but, ultimately, damaging to their faith and temporal well-being.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 07, 2018:

Thanks, Blossom. Proverbs 1:4 (KJV) mentions in the objectives "to the young man knowledge and discretion" so the book obviously targets young men. And yes, the wisdom in the proverbs is super impactful.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on August 06, 2018:

Love your article. Proverbs has so much to say about wisdom. I was once told that it was written as advice to young men! Not so long ago (in my other hat - not as a writer, but as an artist) I published an adult colouring book: 'Words of Wisdom'. I had a lovely time creating all the drawings, there is so much we can learn from that Book.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 06, 2018:

Thanks, Liz, for affirming the value of wisdom. It makes us and our interactions much better than we would be without it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 06, 2018:

Eric, as you know how to respond to that smidgen, all will be well. Thanks for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 06, 2018:

Janis, thanks for your comment. Sympathy and prayers for comfort on the passing of your sister. Best to the new couple, and may wisdom be an asset in their journey forward.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 06, 2018:

Thanks, Flourish. "Good as he is?" That's funny but yeah! A woman gifted with wisdom is highly favored.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 06, 2018:

Thanks for an interesting article. Wisdom is a very useful gift to have.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on August 06, 2018:

I love my wives. Of course not wives simultaneously. Reading these concepts made me pause and go back again. Using a grain of salt and taking these as not absolutes it seems to me that a woman to be of full interest may just have a smidgen of the wrong stuff.

Well maybe just in the eyes ;-)

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on August 06, 2018:

Thank you for this article, MsDora. The wisdom with which you break down these scriptures from Proverbs is invaluable. I have mostly focused on the most popular one, Proverb 31. We often use lines of it as themes for Women's Day. I didn't realize there was so much more about women in the other Proverbs. For the poll, I chose the fourth one. I substituted the name of the woman my brother-in-law married so soon after my sister died. Pray for me, please. Thanks again, God bless you.

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 05, 2018:

I especially liked wisdom. Loved the comment about 700 husbands. Whew. 1 is quite enough, good as he is.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 05, 2018:

Thanks, Glen. You just gave me an idea for another article. I like that.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 05, 2018:

Jackie, fortunately, this is not one of these prescriptive texts which encourage us to go and do likewise. Yes, we cannot argue with experience and Solomon has plenty of it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 05, 2018:

Thanks, Sean. I appreciate your kind comment. Glad to offer something you approve.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 05, 2018:

Thanks, Solomon. While it is essential for the man to have some means of financial support for the woman, money is not the only thing that makes a man deserving of a woman's love.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 05, 2018:

Thanks, DashingScorpio. I agree with everyone of your statements. As for the question, I wonder if any women might want that experience.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 05, 2018:

Thanks, Louise. The Book of Proverbs is also one of the more practical books. Good choice for a favorite.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 05, 2018:

It is great that in bringing out the faults of these women they also have the remedy! Guess it proves everyone can change and to be told exactly how is really something!

I am still trying to wrap my mind around those 700 wives! Gave him a good volume of experience to help his knowledge on women though, huh?

Glen Rix from UK on August 05, 2018:

I wish we could have a list of the virtues that men ought to cultivate.

Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on August 05, 2018:

I always learn from women, about Love, Spirituality and Wisdom! Thank you, my dear Sister, for being one of them.

Sean

Solomon Kelvin on August 05, 2018:

Wow nice one, I wish its can change most women's mind. Because right now every young girls are after money, if u don't have money, then u are not their class, what a world we are living

dashingscorpio from Chicago on August 05, 2018:

One way men got around the immoral and promiscuous rule was they added multiple wives. It was said King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Can anyone imagine a woman with 700 husbands?

Double standards and gender inequality are biblical staples. However that shouldn't come as a surprise as (men) wrote it. Nevertheless wisdom can be found in all types of places.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on August 05, 2018:

This is very interesting to read. Proverbs is one of my favourite books in the Bible.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 05, 2018:

Thanks, Bill. For men like you, the wise woman wants to be all that she can be.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 05, 2018:

There is some serious wisdom on those pages. Thank you for sharing them. I am grateful for the women in my life each and every day . . . including you, Dora!