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Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon

Bookshelves clamor with sex manuals. One small, beautiful book outclasses them all, but lies misunderstood and largely neglected. The Bible calls it the greatest poem ever written. 1:1 says, “Solomon’s Song of Songs.” The Bible says this is better than anything written by Shakespeare, Browning, or Angelou.
This book isn’t written chronologically, but is written in present time with a series of flashbacks. One element of the poem is the Chorus, which is imaginary, and is used by Solomon for transitions or to make a point.
How to interpret this poem has been debated for centuries. The most common has been the Roman Catholic Church’s interpretation that it’s an allegory. (An allegory is a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; it’s figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another. Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the literal. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions, or symbolic representation. An allegory is a device used to present an idea, principle, or meaning, which can be presented in literary form, such as a poem or novel, or in visual form, such as in a painting or sculpture. As a literary device, an allegory in its most general sense is an extended metaphor. As an artistic device, an allegory is a visual symbolic representation. An example of a simple visual allegory is the image of the grim reaper. Viewers understand the image of the grim reaper is a symbolic representation of death.) The Roman Catholic Church’s allegorical interpretation is God’s relationship to His people. As we saw earlier, the Roman Catholic Church views sex as evil, dirty, and only for procreation. So, the Song of Solomon can’t be about what it seems to be about, sex, so it’s an allegory about God’s relationship to His people. In fact, its inspiration and validity was questioned by St. Augustine, who was a Neo-Platonist and was most influential in the Roman Catholic Church interpreting the Bible through Plato’s understanding of the world, who was a pagan. Plato believed non-sexual relations were better than sexual ones—hence, platonic relationships. St Jerome agreed with Augustine, and many still agree today, including many Protestants.
Popular allegories have interpreted this as God and Israel, based on the allegorical interpretation of 1:13, “My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts.” They say this refers to the shekinah glory of God who lives between the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant in Heaven (the earthly Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies in the Temple was a replica of the one in Heaven).
Others allegorize this as Christ and the Church, 1:13 metaphorically being Christ appearing between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
However, I think it should be translated normally: If the plain sense makes good
Sense, seek no other sense, or it’s nonsense. The poem is two real people expressing their love for each other, including sexually. This passage has great value. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” All Scripture would include Song of Solomon. I think it is interesting the initials of the book about marriage and sex are S.O.S.
The question is then asked, should Solomon be the one talking about the beauty of a marital relationship? After all, he had 700 wives. The answer is “Yes.” Those were unlawful marriages for political reasons; Solomon’s only true love was to the woman in this Book.
What we have here is God’s guidelines for love, sex, and marriage. These things can’t be evil, dirty, or wrong to preach and talk about because God does! Talk about sex needs to be brought out of the gutter and into the church, public arena, and home where God intended it to be talked about! So, let’s look at this Book.
The first flashback occurs the week before their wedding. Here we find “God’s Desires for an Engaged Couple or, “How to Build a Stronger Marriage Relationship.”

The Anticipation of Sexual Love – 1:2-4
First, the future bride anticipates Solomon’s caress – v. 2a – “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” This refers to tender affection, or “knecking” the stuff people did before they were married. Necking is a sign of a healthy marriage.
Next, there is the anticipation of sexual intercourse – 1:2b-4 “for your love is more delightful than wine. 3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you! 4 Take me away with you—let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.” Jesus and the Church? Really?
The Hebrew word for love in “your love is more delightful than wine” – dodem – means sexual love or arousal. In Hebrew culture, every celebration was referred to as “wine.” (For a discussion of why drinking alcohol is encouraged and not discouraged, read my book, “Have You Lost Your Mind.”) She considers their forthcoming sexual relationships (she was a virgin—how quaint) as giving more joy and pleasure than any celebration. As a birthday is a celebration of life and worship is a celebration of God, a sexual embrace is a celebration of marriage from God’s perspective. Evil? Dirty? What??
She says Solomon’s smell gives an erotic sensation in verse 3. The custom of the day was to rub your body with oil after a bath before a festive occasion. The Egyptians put perfume in small cones that melted over time by body heat and the perfume was gradually released from the container. Psalm 133:1-3 says, “1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,  running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” Studies have shown smell is very important in sexual arousal. God said so 3,000 years ago. Purified oil was highly prized; just hearing Solomon’s name makes her long to be with him. “No wonder the Maidens love you,” imagining what others think about him (love is blind?). She waits with anticipation for sexual love, v. 4b. The Chorus chimes in (remember, it is imaginary) and bursts into song agreeing with her about Solomon. “We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine. How right they are to adore you!”
Our Bride-to-be looked forward to sexual intercourse in marriage. Sex in marriage is not sinful, dirty, or evil. This sets a keynote for the song: sexual love between a husband and wife is proper and beautiful to God. She reflects on being aroused by her husband. Men, you have a responsibility to do that! It’s God’s ordained.

Men Must Protect Their Wive’s Dignity and Self-Worth – vs. 5-8
To respond sexually in a marriage, women need a healthy self-image – vs. 5-6,
“5 Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.[c]
6 Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect.

Our Bride-to-be felt inferior to the palace pretties. She was “darkened by the sun,” meaning she had a sun tan. Today, that is a sign of luxury and not having to work, but not in her day. It meant you had to do farm labor, in her case taking care of vineyards, at her home in Lebanon. Some say her being dark means she was African, but she is Lebanese and tanned. She wasn’t able to “take care of her own vineyard,” i.e., her appearance. She was tanned and didn’t dress well, unlike the women who lived in the palace—nice hair, clothes, and no tans. She felt inferior to these women and was afraid Solomon would look down on her for it.
She knew she had natural beauty. In verse 5 she compares herself to the beautiful tapestries Solomon had hanging in his palace. She just didn’t have time to “prune her own vineyard.”
All of us have “imperfections.” Many women can’t handle it (men also). In fact, there is a whole TV, radio, and magazine industry designed to tell us how fat, gray, bald, smelly, and old we are. Watching commercials, an alien would assume every American is too fat, ugly, tall, short, and has the wrong hair color. Madison Avenue thrives on getting us to get rid of these “problems.”
Most women rank “low self-esteem” as their most troubling problem. Thoughts of a person with low self-esteem are: wondering in the afternoon why the phone doesn’t ring; wondering why you have no “real” friends; longing to talk to someone, but knowing no one exists. It’s feeling “they wouldn’t like me if they knew the ‘real’ me. It’s feeling ugly and sexually unattractive. It’s disliking yourself and wishing you were someone else. Low self-esteem is lying in bed feeling lonely and sad late at night. It’s reaching up in the darkness to remove a tear from your eye. It’s depression. Have you been there?
Ninety percent of our self-concept comes from what we think others think about us. Our society tells women they have problems. You’re supposed to look like a fashion model. Pretty women have a lot of money, cars, and suitors. In our culture, a homemaker is looked upon with disgrace (don’t dare to use the old term “housewife”); she’s an unskilled laborer. American women believe what the jerks are saying. Many women feel intellectually inferior. They didn’t go to college, or the right college, or land the prestigious corner office.
It’s only when we think others respect us we respect ourselves. Scientific studies have shown men and women need to feel self-worth. Men and women achieve it in different ways. For men, their self-worth comes from their reputation at work (this is why many die soon after retirement). When men meet another man for the first time, the second question is, “What do you do?” The person will be judged and categorized based on the answer. Many men experience a “mid-life crisis” if they haven’t achieved what they hoped at work. A housewife’s dusting techniques usually don’t make community acclaim, so work isn’t women’s primary source of self-affirmation.
Women feel worthy when they are loved. That’s why God instructs Israel in Deuteronomy 24:5, “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” Men are to stay home for a year and give happiness to their wives. Men do that by showing their wives they love them. Husbands are to submit to their wives by loving them. Ephesians 5:28-33 says, “28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
Husbands, your wife’s self-worth is your responsibility. Do you “kindly” tell her she’s gaining weight? Saying, “Are you getting fat or are those inflatable clothes?” isn’t funny to her. Do you play “assassinate the wife?” You know, ridicule and embarrass her in front of friends. Do you let others know you think she’s “Dumb and ugly?” If yes, you don’t love her. If you ridicule someone’s weakness, like weight, looks, etc., you aren’t funny; you’re mean and heartless. Not to mention stupid because women with low self-worth will not respond well sexually. Never make fun of a person’s weaknesses, only their strengths. Women who feel ugly will hide their imperfect body. Husbands who ridicule under or over developed parts of their wife’s body should expect problems in the bedroom.
The cure for this is to compliment each other. Solomon compliments his Bride-to-be in verse 9, “ 9 I liken you, my darling, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels.” He calls her a horse. At first, that may not seem too self-worth building or much of a compliment. American men who try that may get stomped! A modern paraphrase would be: “You are worth more to me than most my most cherished possession.” In I Kings 10:26 we find that Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen. His mare was the most outstanding of all his horses; it was one in a million and stood out as superior to all others. That statement probably sent shivers down her spine considering she thought she would stand out in the palace for the wrong reason. “You’ll stand out, all right, but because you’re the best!”
Solomon then calls her “my darling.” The Hebrew word means to guard or care for protection, the role of a husband. But it also means to take delight in having sexual intercourse with. This word indicates his love and care for her coupled with his desire to make love with her.
Next he promises to give her the best he can. Verses 10-11 say, “10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings, your neck with strings of jewels.” 11 We will make you earrings of gold, studded with silver.” What she has is fine, v. 10, but he will give her better, v. 11. Little gifts and expressions of his love will continue after they are married. Did you hear that guys?
Marriage vows  usually include the phrase “To love, honor, and cherish.” Is your wife “your darling?” Women, is that who you want to be in your husband’s eyes? Women need to feel secure. A woman who experiences her husband’s love and concern will feel secure to love him unreservedly. It also means to take great delight in your sexual relationship. Do you delight in your wife sexually or your husband sexually? The Bible commands:
“15 Drink water from your own cistern (your wife),
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs (semen) overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”

What do you want to do when you see a doe? Pet it? Hmmm.
Little things mean a lot. It doesn’t have to be gold and silver, but that would be nice. Get her some cologne, bubble bath, flowers, candy, a mushy card, negligee, or a poem you write. The greatest gifts are those given just to say “I love you.”
Next he extols her beauty. They are in bed on their wedding night. “15 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.” My darling, your eyes like doves, a symbol of innocence and purity. Eyes are the index of character. It’s a romantic way of praising her virginity, purity, and beauty
She expresses here feelings of inferiority in 2:1 “1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. These were just common desert flowers. He shows that she is superlative. 2:2 says, 2Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.” The man is smooth. Husbands who let their wife know she’s beautiful and special do well for her and themselves.
Shulammite compliments Solomon. First, she compliments his value to her. She’s made herself smell nice for him, v. 12: “While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.” Her perfume is a symbol of her love reaching out to him. She says he has made her what she is, v. 13: My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts.” He brings out the best in her (see, it’s not Jesus).
Solomon has put meaning into her otherwise boring life, v. 14 “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.” South of Jerusalem is a desert wilderness. There’s nothing but parched, hot, dry sands extending monotonously for miles, no plant life at all. Suddenly, you stumble upon an oasis, En Gedi; it’s green, bright, vibrant, and exciting. She said he was the loveliest flower in the oasis. He was very special to her.
She especially compliments him for his thoughtfulness. Remember, they’re in the bridal chamber (bedroom). She says he is kind and considerate, v. 16a “How handsome you are, my beloved! Oh, how charming! Why? What has he done? – v.16b “And our bed is verdant.” The Hebrew means he made a canopied bed made of fine silk. He tried and succeeded to remind her of home, v.17 “The beams of our house are cedars; our rafters are firs.” Where do these firs and cedars come from? Lebanon. Where does she come from? Lebanon. Solomon took the effort to make her comfortable by going to the trouble of getting wood from her home region, and she praises him for it. She verbally notices what he did. Men like that. Men like to hear thank you for doing stuff around the house. They would probably do more if women realized this. For example, if he takes out the garbage, even though that’s “his chore,” the wife should thank him. Remember, he gets his self-worth from what he does. “Well, he doesn’t thank me,” she may retort. Women may like getting thanked for the work they do; but men need it. Women don’t have to say thanks to their husbands; but there are consequences.
Then she praises him for his ability to pleasure her, 2:3-6:

“3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.
5 Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.
6 His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me. actively involved in love play)

She praises the erotic and sensual lovemaking ability of her husband. An apple tree frequently was used as a symbol in Near East for sexual love (remember the story about the apple and Eve). She’s saying, “You’re the only one who can sexually satisfy me.” She praises the protective care he gives—she sits under his shadow. Women need to feel safe and protected. His banner is over her. The banner was used in war to re-group troops. It was used in marches and parades. Do you see what she’s saying? The love he has for her is seen by everyone. Solomon isn’t cold and sarcastic in public; he protects her dignity and self-worth. What’s the result? She gives her love freely. She tastes his fruit. Several interpretations have been presented for this. Some say it means she is refreshed by his presence as an apple does a weary traveler. Others say it’s a symbol of his caresses, she “tastes” his sexual embrace. Actually, it means what you thought it means. Literally, “fruit” in Hebrew is often equated with male genitals. Due to the erotic nature of the poem, it’s probably a delicate reference to oral sex. Yes, that is biblical. She says he has brought her into his banquet hall. Literally, it means “house of wine,” a euphemism for the bedroom, a place of great pleasure. She sees their sexual relationship as a great celebration. She tells Solomon she wants him to satisfy her sexually in verses 5-6. She’s lovesick, or overcome with sexual desire. Raisins and apples were symbols of erotic love. She wants him to satisfy her without delay and tells him exactly what to do. Most Hebrew scholars agree this means to arouse her sexually, or fondle her. It’s common phraseology of Near Easter poetry. She doesn’t make him guess what she likes; she tells him, and men like to hear that. The consummation of their love in sexual intercourse is in a later chapter.
The Chorus returns in verse 7, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. – Sexual arousal is only for marriage, but is great in marriage. I Corinthians 7:1-5 says, “1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” A false headache isn’t a biblical reason not to have intercourse. You can only abstain from sex for prayer. I doubt that reason is given often. Hebrews 13:4 adds, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Adulterous sex is wrong; marital sex is excellent.
The Jews brought all five senses to bear in lovemaking: sight – vs. 15-17; smell – v. 12; hearing – vs. 15-16; taste – v. 3; and touch – v.6
1. Smell—the Jews perfumed everything: walls, sheets, tapestries, and they burned incense. How about an American version? Draw a bubble bath with scented oils for your spouse, light the room in candlelight, give him or her a copy of the Song of Solomon to, relax his or her tired muscles, put the kids to bed, and do the dishes (particularly the husband).
2. Sight – Put special emphasis on your bedroom. Is your bedroom decorated so it’s conductive to romance? “No one will see this room. Why bother?” Is your bedroom the household “garbage dump?” Is it littered with unfolded laundry? Is the bed not made?
Are there dirty socks on the floor? Are there sprays, perfumes, etc. strewn everywhere?
3. Taste and Touch – What are the limits? There are none as long as there is mutual agreement.
Read the rest of this poem. She does a striptease with veils for him, 6:13 “Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?” There first sexual encounter is described in 4:9-5:1
“9 You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart
with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
10 How delightful is your love (he is talking about her ability to please him), my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your perfume
more than any spice!
11 Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 You are a garden locked up (a virgin), my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain (she is sexually aroused).
13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
14 nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
15 You are a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water (her vagina is well-lubricated and she is aroused)
streaming down from Lebanon.”
She says,
“16 Awake, north wind,
and come, south wind! (the two colliding fronts cause more moisture)
Blow on my garden (vagina),
that its fragrance may spread everywhere.
Let my beloved come into his garden
and taste its choice fruits.”

He says,
“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.”
God blesses their marriage and their sexuality with these words: “Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love.’
She later encourages him to have sex outdoors, they have a fight and make up, and he performs oral sex on her. See if you can find these.

The Godly Wife

Proverbs 31:10-31 is an acrostic. The twenty-two verses correspond to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In the original language, each of the twenty-two verses begins with a different letter of the alphabet. This was a common from of Hebrew wisdom poetry (cf. Psalm 119 which twenty-two stanzas of eight verses each. Each stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet). The form illustrated the truth. In this case, the writer was describing his wife’s contributions to his life from A-Z. This was the whole picture. I don’t think he intended it as a to-do list for women. Instead, it’s a poetic tribute of a grateful husband who recognizes the contribution his wife and the mother of his children makes to his life. He couldn’t get by without her and he knows it!
Ann Spangler in her book “Women of the Bible” points out that in traditional Jewish homes, husbands and children recited Proverbs 31 at the yearly Sabbath table.
She works hard on the job (vs. 18, 24). These verses describe a career woman. She is busy: buying, selling, and trading. It may shock you to realize the Bible does not condemn a woman who works outside the home. The Ideal Woman of Proverbs 31 works outside the home and is commended, not condemned.
For thousands of years, God-fearing women have looked to the noble, or virtuous (KJV), woman of Proverbs 31 as their ideal. Most Jewish women did during Bible times.
However, what about today’s woman? Of what value can this ancient poem be to the diverse, complex life-styles of women today? What value does this poem have to the married, to the single, to the young, to the old, to those working outside the home or inside the home, to those women with children or without children? It’s more relevant than you might at first expect.
When we examine this ancient biblical ideal of womanhood, we don’t find the stereotyped housewife occupied with dirty dishes and laundry, her daily life dictated by the demands of her husband and her children. We also don’t find a hardened, overly ambitious career woman who leaves her family to fend for itself. What we find is a strong, dignified, multitalented, caring woman who is an individual in her own right. This woman has money to invest, servants to look after, and real estate to manage. She’s her husband’s partner, and she’s completely trusted with the responsibility for their lands, property, and goods.
She has the business skills to buy and sell in the market, along with the heartfelt sensitivity and compassion to care for and fulfill the needs of people who are less fortunate. Cheerfully and energetically she tackles the challenges each day brings. Her husband and children love and respect her for her kind, generous, and caring nature.
However, with all her responsibilities, first and foremost, she looks to God. Her primary concern is God’s will in her life. She’s a woman after God’s own heart. Let’s examine the characteristics of this remarkable woman—a role model for women today.
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” The Hebrew word chayil, translated here “noble,” or “virtuous” (KJV), means a wife of valor — a strong, capable woman with strong convictions. This description of the ideal wife doesn’t agree with those who associate femininity with weakness and passivity.
“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” Her husband trusts her management of their resources. Her industriousness adds to the family income.
“She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” This woman doesn’t do right only when it’s convenient and profitable. Her actions aren’t based on how she’s treated by others or by what others think. Her character is steady. She’s reliable and dependable.
“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.” This woman enjoys working so much she plans ahead for what she needs in order to accomplish her responsibilities.
“She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.” The trait not to settle for the mediocre is portrayed by a woman who goes the extra mile for quality items.
“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” Although the woman described here has servants to take care of many of the household duties, she sets the pace. She understands that good managers have a responsibility to take care of those under their authority. That’s one of her top priorities.
“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” Every woman doesn’t have to go into real estate and horticulture—the principle here is this woman uses her mind. She doesn’t act on a whim, but logically analyzes a situation before making a decision. Her goals are not only short term—she envisions the long-range benefits of her decisions.
“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” We get a picture of a woman who energetically goes about her duties. She keeps herself healthy and strong by proper health practices—good diet, and adequate rest and exercise. Many people depend on her.
“She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.” She knows her merchandise is good and takes pride in doing a good job. Night or day, no one worries her responsibilities are not taken care of.
“In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.” The example she sets is one of skill and industriousness. Whether this woman would be a computer programmer, a concert pianist, a mother, or all three, she develops her talents and hones her skills through education and diligent application.
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” Although it’s good to donate to needy causes, getting involved in the lives of the needy means far more than writing a check. This woman shows personal concern. She visits the sick, comforts the lonely and depressed, and delivers food to those in need.
“When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.” Providing clothing for the family is one of her responsibilities. She takes this seriously and plans ahead. She doesn’t practice crisis management.
“She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.” This woman has high standards and dresses properly for the occasion.
“Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” This man doesn’t have to spend half his time trying to straighten out problems at home, and his success in the social world comes partly from her support, just as her success comes partly from his support. He’s successful as a leader in the community because of her, which brings honor and prestige to their home.
The original woman of Proverbs 31 couldn’t phone her husband for his opinion on matters. She made many of the day-to-day decisions about their property and goods. He trusted her to manage the estate efficiently.
“She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.” This woman runs a business from her home. Her efforts and industry add to the family income.
“Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.” Not only does this woman benefit each day from her wise and diligent actions, long-term lifetime benefits and rewards lie in store for her.
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” This woman is well read and has the facts. She knows what she’s talking about. Whether about her job, her personal values, or her conclusions on world events, she’s able to express herself intelligently, tactfully, and diplomatically. People come to her for good advice.
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” She’s an organized, energetic person who carries out her responsibilities.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” This woman isn’t a doormat, slavishly trying to appease and please her family, no matter how unreasonable their demands. She’s honored in her home. Here we gain an insight into the character of her husband as well. He teaches their children to respect her and the virtues she personifies. A wife who doesn’t praise her husband and is constantly nagging him and quarreling with him is a burden and won’t receive praise from her husband. Proverbs 21:9 says, “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.”
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” High praise for this extraordinary woman—a role model for women of all time.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Here’s the key to this woman’s effectiveness. Her priorities are determined by God’s will, not her own. She’s concerned about what God thinks, rather than with what other people think. Physical beauty and clever conversation are admirable qualities, but if a woman’s beauty and charm are the extent of her virtues, what happens when time and the trials of life take their toll? This woman doesn’t depend on beauty and charm for her success. She recognizes her need for God.
“Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” This woman is actively doing, not merely talking. She doesn’t boast about her plans for the future or her successes of the past. They are obvious.

Masculinity vs. Femininity
Statistical Frauds by Thomas Sowell
The “war on women” political slogan is in fact a war against common sense. It is a statistical fraud when Barack Obama and other politicians say that women earn only 77 percent of what men earn—and that this is because of discrimination. It would certainly be discrimina-tion if women were doing the same work as men, for the same number of hours, with the same amount of training and experience, as well as other things being the same. But study after study, over the past several decades, has shown repeatedly that those things are not the same.
Constantly repeating the “77 percent” statistic does not make them the same. It simply takes advantage of many people’s ignorance—something that Barack Obama has been very good at doing on many other is
What if you compare women and men who are the same on all the relevant characteristics? First of all, you can seldom do that, because the statistics you would need are not always available for the whole range of occupations and the whole range of differences between women’s patterns and men’s patterns in the labor market. Even where relevant statistics are available, careful judgment is required to pick samples of women and men who are truly comparable. For example, some women are mothers and some men are fathers. But does the fact that they are both parents make them comparable in the labor market? Actually the biggest disparity in incomes is between fathers and mothers. Nor is there anything mysterious about this, when you stop and think about it. How surprising is it that women with children do not earn as much as women who do not have children? If you don’t think children take up a mother’s time, you just haven’t raised any children. How surprising is it that men with children earn more than men without children, just the opposite of the situation with women? Is it surprising that a man who has more mouths to feed is more likely to work longer hours? Or take on harder or more dangerous jobs, in order to earn more money?
More than 90 percent of the people who are killed on the job are men. There is no point pretending there are no differences between what women do and what men do in the workplace, or that these differences don’t affect income.
During my research on male-female differences for my book “Economic Facts and Fallacies,” I was amazed to learn that young male doctors earned much higher incomes than young female doctors. But it wasn’t so amazing after I discovered that young male doctors worked over 500 hours more per year than young female doctors.



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