I am told that I don't write "to" the men enough. I'll own that feedback. Women tend to be more verbal and it's tempting to speak to the audience that is the more responsive. As such, I really want to go back to a topic I've written about before but bring some more focus to it: the man about whom Solomon was writing in the final chapter of Proverbs.
In Christian circles, so much is said about the "Proverbs 31" woman without actually reading and studying the passage. I can appreciate all the T-shirts, organizations and "Proverbs 31" posters that we Christians like to sell and buy, but every now and then we've got to get back to the basics of the scripture and what it teaches.
Here's one basic: as we see in verse two from Solomon's most well-known passage: the Proverbs were compiled by a man to his son. (We'll come back to that in a moment.) Most scholars I've read consider Lemuel to be a pseudonym for Solomon, so there isn't much new there. However, consider this: this section of Proverbs were learned by King Lemuel from his mother (Verse 1)!
I've always thought it was interesting how we tend to handle this one chapter from Proverbs by ignoring its first nine verses. There is a lot more to it than the virtuous woman. I'd almost forgotten that myself that Chapter 31 doesn't start at verse ten. I highlighted some of the most important teachings for men below:
#1 - The primary audience of for the chapter is MEN...it is a book written to a son. Let's stop beating women over the head with one under-understood chapter. If anything, it is supposed to help us identify a GOOD woman. It doesn't appear to be a manual for us to ridicule women.
#2 - "Do not give your strength to women." means we have to be disciplined and maintain our discipline. The mother alludes to her son displaying kingly behavior and whoring after women is definitely not for kings. We men have to be about our missions.
#3 - Drinking to excess is for those who are perishing. It isn't for rulers and kings, like you are. Get it together and put down the Patron. Most of verses one through nine deal with maintaining sobriety. How fitting in a day wherein so many people retreat to various drugs.
#4 - Defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. Elsewhere, the passage teaches that it's only the righteous who even understand justice. We must stand up for those people who can't speak up for themselves. This is kingly behavior, my brother and kings.
I can't ignore that the bulk of the passage is describing a wonderful woman, wife and mother of virtue. I can only remind the reader that she is seeking to show her son what such a woman looks like and how she carries herself. I don't know where she got all of these great qualities. Perhaps she was taught by her own mother?
Suffice it to say we have no license to run around showing random women how short they fall of the Proverbs 31 standard. The chief pupil, men, is the man reading these words. We must ask ourselves, therefore, are we disciplined, sober and just in all of our actions for these are the character traits to which Solomon, the Koholeth, is trying to inspire us.