Originally posted in Rabyd Theologian 2.0 on February 10th, 2011
The funny thing is that the Proverbs 31 wife is not actually Solomon’s idea but King Lamuel’s. Solomon gets the credit for compiling the proverbs so that is perhaps why he gets credit for her. Interestingly enough I find more modern women that hate this lady, she is too perfect and that may be Lamuel’s point. She is a figment of desire but does not actually exist.
The thing with all of Solomon’s wisdom is this, you need to remember it is coming from a guy that is married to multiple women. On the one hand, if you’re looking for advice that will steer you toward a closer relationship with your spouse in faithful monogamy, he is probably not the guy. On the other hand his is experience in marriage and that experience shows some wisdom.
In Song of Solomon, the wisdom is pretty straightforward. Be intimate and passionately attracted to each other. The fact is there is not a lot of marriage advice here mostly a poem about having a passionate love life.
Proverbs has many lines involving marriage:
1. Proverbs 5:18-19 reminds men to rejoice in the wife of your youth and let her breasts satisfy you at all times. If there is a more direct reference to foreplay in Scripture, I do not know where it is. As for the wife of your youth thing, which one Solomon? 😉
2. Proverbs 6 is a really clear picture that adultery is bad, very bad. Keep sex and passion in marriage and avoid the temptress.
3. There are several proverbs about finding a good wife and the differences between a good wife and a bad one. Given that Solomon had a lot of time on the new wife lot, both finding and acquiring new wives, I think we can trust his advice.
4. Solomon does not like nagging wives and says it is better to live on a house roof in the corner, than in the house with the nagging wife. Once again, given his experience, we can believe him. On the flip side, he praises the virtuous wife and Lamuel’s chapter sums up what that virtuous wife is like.
I know I am being a little light-hearted with this but I do get a little chuckle when a guy, whose life of marriage is contract followed by contract with maybe one woman he was close to at all, gives marriage advice. But the truth is because he was a polygamist, Solomon would have possessed a good solid knowledge about women and what made a good wife and marriage relationship in a variety of circumstances. His first hand knowledge makes him an expert on assessing the value of a wife from a male point of view. You just can’t help wondering why he did not follow his own advice at times.
Next: Solomon’s Marriage Downfall.