Holmes provides proverbs from different centuries, cultures, and countries to show that the perception that women talk more is a universal stereotype. Holmes provides research studies and facts to prove the amount of a talk depends. From this article we learn that the context of communication and situation is a first reason of gender language use. Second, the social confidence and topic familiarity are other reasons why women speak less than men.
What should we learn from the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31? Proverbs is a book based on metaphor. It is packed with word-pictures of universal truths. Throughout Proverbs, wisdom is anthropomorphized as a woman.
As early as Proverbs 1: Proverbs 31 provides a detailed metaphor of feminine wisdom in the context of a family and a community.
The most quoted section, verses 10—31, is a chiastic poemthat is, a poem that cycles through repeated thoughts in a particular order.
The chapter speaks of the worth of a good wife to her husband, the manual labor that she does, her fulfillment of responsibilities to those who need her, her ability to provide for her family, and her wisdom in caring for herself so she can share her strength with others.
These ideas are presented in a kind of circular pattern throughout the section. The chapter begins with King Lemuel recounting advice his mother had given him.
She exhorted him to not fall to weaknesses that would compromise his position as king, but to care for the poor. Although verses do not directly follow this warning in the original, they do illustrate a fitting description of what kind of woman Lemuel should seek.
For her worth is far above jewels. A good, supportive, trusting wife is a blessing to a man.
A woman who partners with her husband, who is reliable and looks out for his interests, gives a man a security that is greatly lacking in the world. She is worth more than a substantial paycheck. To bring in the metaphor, wisdom provides the same benefits—it is worth more than money, you can always trust it to make the right decision, and it provides blessings for those who have it.
She gets up in the morning and gets things done. In the time of Solomon, this involved making fabric and sewing clothes, but verse 27 certainly applies directly to us today—taking care of our responsibilities is a characteristic of wisdom.
Another characteristic of wisdom is the grace to help others. The Proverbs 31 wife ensures that those under her care receive what they need—food, clothing, protection.
And she is able to serve others out of the excess of her work and the leaning of her heart. She has so internalized her role as a provider that it extends past her immediate responsibilities and into the community.
She knows how to use her strengths to her best advantage, and she fully realizes how valuable her efforts are. The Proverbs 31 woman not only knows her worth, she knows her responsibilities to herself.
She would not be able to provide for others if she neglected her needs—both physical and spiritual. She makes sure her appearance reflects her respected position as an influence in her community.
Her greatest strength is her wisdom—her accurate judgment about the world and her influence in it. And she is quick to share the wisdom she has gained to encourage others to reach their potential. She can integrate her life—both domestic and professional—with her ministry in such a way that her husband has the freedom to serve.
In fact, her reputation is so established, that it bleeds off onto him. The Proverbs 31 wife is a fierce provider and protector for those she cares about. She is wise to the ways of the world, but lives by the wisdom of God.
As in the rest of the Proverbs, these specific examples provide a metaphor for the larger truth. How any individual woman exemplifies these characteristics will depend on her situation, gifts, and abilities.
The key is in verse 30, just as it is in the beginning of Proverbs, in 1:Summary. The Book of Ecclesiastes is an essay on the topic "Is life worthwhile?" Ironically, the writer answers this question in the negative.
He considers the various ends or goals for which people live and finds that each of these reasons brings only vanity and frustration: "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing.
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