Chapter 12 is full of sage advice; it’s tough to limit my comments to so few.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
(Proverbs 12:1 NIV)
Solomon weaves a consistent theme of humility, wisdom, and instruction (including discipline) starting in chapter 1 and throughout the rest of the chapters. The English translation of “stupid” loses a bit of its meaning compared to the Hebrew. The Hebrew word means “beast” or “brute”, like cattle – strong, but lacking any kind of intellectual sense.
“A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”
(Proverbs 12:4 NIV)
Solomon addresses most of his proverbs in the masculine gender, as if he were continuing to speak to his sons. Even though most of these proverbs are expressed in the masculine, they are true for both men and women. This one is no exception.
Solomon writes this as both an encouragement to men to find women of such character, as well as to women to be of such character. The understanding is that the man would be of such character and integrity that he would recognize these same character attributes in a woman he would ask to be his wife.
Solomon’s portrayal of this woman is not based on her beauty, but on her character. She is not a “trophy wife” in the sense of her beauty, but she is a “trophy wife” in the sense of her capabilities, her interaction with others, and her support and encouragement of her husband.
The opposite of this woman is one who brings disgrace and shame to the family, lowers the family’s standing in the community, and chips away at her husband’s happiness (as well as her own).
Peter expresses this idea of the husband and wife supporting one another in their marriage in 1 Peter chapter 3. Peter addresses the wives, then in verse 7, addresses the husbands: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7 NIV – bold and underlined emphasis mine)
“Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up.”
(Proverbs 12:25 NIV)
Left to ourselves, we sometimes see the world with all its troubles and issues, and we get discouraged, fear the unknown, and play “what if” games in our minds. Satan has a heyday with these thoughts, and uses them to further discourage us.
Thankfully, the Lord gives us truth to dispel these thoughts through His Word, and through the encouragement of others. Jesus’ message to the masses at the Sermon on the Mount was that of encouragement and hope.
Listen to Jesus’ words to us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
(Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)
May you sense God’s favor and encouragement as you go about your day.