What does Proverbs 14:1 mean?
ESV: The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
NIV: The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
NASB: The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
CSB: Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands.
NLT: A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
KJV: Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
Solomon observes a contrast between a wise woman and a foolish woman. The book of Proverbs uses the terms "wise" and "foolish," generally, to describe those who follow God or reject God, respectively (Proverbs 1:7; 3:5–8). Solomon's description here refers to women and their influence on the home, though this does not mean home-based interests are the only ones which can be addressed by women.
In this verse, Solomon is not referring to construction but to homemaking. The wise woman blesses her home, her family. Practical examples of this would include things like partnering with her husband in the godly upbringing of their children (Proverbs 22:6; 29:15; Psalm 127:3–5; Ephesians 6:1–4) and facilitating a physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy environment in the home through things as simple as family hygiene habits, speech patterns, and vigilantly attending to her own relationship with the Lord. A wise woman doesn't waste money or resources, but instead invests them into her ministry for the glory of God and the benefit of her family and others to whom she ministers. A wise woman is one like the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, always mindful of the needs of her household and eager to live out God's call on her life in every season.
The foolish woman, on the other hand, is unconcerned about the needs of her husband and children. She does not honor the Lord nor seek to live out His calling on her life. Rather than build up her family, her actions damage her family.
Proverbs 14:1–10 continues a long series of short, general-case, common-sense statements of godly wisdom. This section focuses on personal diligence, relationship to the Lord, conversation, witness, prudent behavior, and private emotions. Once again, the spotlight focuses on what is admirable versus that which is disgraceful.
This continues a series of literal "proverbs:" short statements of general-case wisdom. The first ten verses of this chapter contrast positive and negative traits related to work ethic, self-control, and seeking wisdom. Then come several verses contrasting the fate of the righteous with that of the wicked. The rest of this passage provides statements on a broad range of subjects.
Proverbs 14 continues King Solomon's wise sayings. In this chapter he discusses a variety of topics such as wisdom and folly, honesty and dishonesty, righteousness and evil, national security and national disgrace, personal security and destruction, the fear of the Lord, generosity, and wise servanthood. This series of astute comments will continue for several more chapters.
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
Accessed 12/6/2023 10:55:34 PM
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