Proverbs 25:24

It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
– Proverbs 25:24

This Proverb is the same as Proverbs 21:9 (see commentary), and joins a group of proverbs on the same theme (Proverbs 19:13; 21:9, 19; 27:15-16). The contrasting parallel of the corner of the housetop and the wide house is contrasting solitude and society. Generally, we do not think it better to be alone in isolation, but it is preferred to the company of a contentious spouse.

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Proverbs 21:19

It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
– Proverbs 21:19

This proverb is similar to Proverbs 21:9. The word for wilderness means earth, or land. The word is common throughout the Old Testament. It can refer to the planet, the geographic land belonging to a nation, or even to ground, as in, the soil. It is put in this proverb over against living with a contentious woman, so wilderness or desert captures the idea of living in solitude, perhaps even without a house, being preferable to a house and the society of a mad woman. Wisdom teaches it is better not to be married than to be married to a quick-tempered and argumentative spouse.

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Proverbs 21:9

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
– Proverbs 21:9

This proverb is one of the “better-than” statements in Proverbs. For instance, in various ways, Proverbs states it is better to be poor and wise than to be rich and foolish. The formula compares two conditions and declares one better and therefore preferable to those who have wisdom. It doesn’t exclude other possibilities. It’s better to be poor and wise than rich and foolish, but it does not follow that being both rich and wise is not better still. It does prevent the assumption so common among people—it’s better to be rich than poor no matter the other conditions that attend.

The phrase corner of the housetop likely refers to a small visitor’s quarters on the roof of the house. The word for wide means in society, or in company, and house is just that. The parallel means the roof is a lonely place of solitude and the house is a place of society. Generally speaking, loneliness is not a desirable or better condition. But loneliness is better and desirable when the society includes a brawling, or contentious, woman. The same sentiment is expressed in Proverbs 21:19, where living in the desert is better than a house with a contentious wife. We could add, it is also better to live with a leaking roof than a quarrelsome woman (Proverbs 19:13; 27:15-16). A selfish, mouthy, hyper-critical wife destroys a man’s peace, deprives him of love, and ruins whatever prosperity he has gained. So, it is better to be poor and live on low means with a good and prudent wife from the Lord than the alternative (Proverbs 15:17; 17:1; 19:14; 31:10-12). And, it works the same way around for the woman with an angry husband.

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Proverbs 19:14

House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
– Proverbs 19:14

Proverbs commends the wisdom that manages an estate well and passes an inheritance to children (Proverbs 13:22). Wisdom never guarantees wealth or inheritance in this life. This proverb contrasts two different kinds of blessings, going from lesser to greater. Though with inheritance God’s grace must be acknowledged, it is even more so in getting a prudent, or wise, wife (Proverbs 18:22). This proverb also provides a contrast from the previous one that relates two conditions of an unhappy life.

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Proverbs 19:13

A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
– Proverbs 19:13

Proverbs begins with Solomon’s fatherly admonitions to his son to forsake the way of folly and embrace the way of wisdom. The first nine chapters teach us a father should make every effort to bring up his son in the way of wisdom, but, ultimately, the son must choose to refuse folly and pursue wisdom. When a son chooses folly, it is a grief, heaviness, and sorrow to his father (Proverbs 17:21, 25). Here it is a calamity, which is a ruin. The man who has foolish children is robbed of joy.

The word for contentions means brawling, or strife. A woman who is querulous and quarrelsome is like an incessant dripping that must drive a man mad (Proverbs 27:15). No one can live with constant complaining, criticizing, and nagging and also have joy or peace of mind in life. The Proverbs mention other conditions that are better to live with (Proverbs 21:9, 19). Having either condition, or both, makes life a misery.

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Proverbs 18:22

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD.
– Proverbs 18:22

Proverbs as a whole only speaks of two acquirements as receiving the favor of the Lord. The first is wisdom, which means the obtaining of life, i.e., spiritual, everlasting life (Proverbs 3:4; 8:35). The second is a good wife, or good marriage (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14). A good wife is also paralleled with wisdom in being of superior high value (Proverbs 8:11; 31:10). A good wife is an inestimable blessing in a man’s life (Proverbs 12:4; 14:1; 31:11, 23). Solomon elsewhere spoke of living happily with a good wife as a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

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Proverbs 14:1

Chapter 14 continues the second major section of Proverbs. It is also part of the first subsection of Chapters 10-15, which are primarily two-line, antithetical proverbs on various topics. The proverbs in this chapter touch on the use of words, contrasts of folly and wisdom, wisdom at home, friends, etc.

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
– Proverbs 14:1

The contrast in this proverb is the result of the qualities of wisdom and folly. The wise woman is the woman who possesses wisdom and walks in wisdom. This is no statement on her physical appearance or domestic skills. She understands a house is built and continues through wisdom (Proverbs 24:3-4). The stability of the home centers on the woman. Her wisdom starts with her husband where she can be a source of good (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14), even to being a crown to him (Proverbs 12:4), and his safe counselor (Proverbs 31:11). She is one with her husband in the teaching, training, discipline, and correction of their children (Proverbs 1:8-9; 4:3; 6:20; 23:22). A child that does not heed the instruction and pursues folly instead is equally dishonorable to mother and father (Proverbs 10:1; 15:20; 17:25; 19:26; 20:20). However, the children who rise in wisdom bless her (Proverbs 23:25; 31:27-28). And so her house is well established.

The contrast is the foolish woman. The word used here describes an obstinate silliness. Foolishness describes one who will not stretch to wisdom (Proverbs 24:7) and her words are destructive (Proverbs 10:14). She is quick tempered (Proverbs 12:16) and argumentative (Proverbs 20:3). This fool despises “wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7), runs on at the mouth rather than listen to wise counsel (Proverbs 10:8), and is a know-it-all (Proverbs 12:15). It is no surprise that such a foolish woman ruins her husband (Proverbs 12:4), and he would be better off on a roof or in a desert (Proverbs 21:19; 25:24). She neglects to care for her children and inherits shame (Proverbs 29:15). Thus, her house is destroyed by her own hands.

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Proverbs 5:19

Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
– Proverbs 5:19

This verse is both poetic and plain. It has the plainest statement in this section and informs the context that the intimate, physical relationship between husband and wife is emphasized throughout. A perusal of commentaries yields a number of fanciful interpretations that are purely allegorical. This is unnecessary and obscures the plain, literal, contextual sense of the passage.

The first phrase compares the wife to two animals that were symbolic of grace and beauty. The loving hind is an affectionate doe, or female deer. The pleasant roe is a graceful female mountain goat. Both creatures are surefooted and even on steep and difficult terrain they bound about gracefully. They were considered beautiful of form and symbolized the beauty of a woman. Solomon instructs his son to be smitten with the beauty of his own wife.

Breasts, or bosom, has obvious, plain meaning but also is spoken of in terms of the closeness of husband and wife (Song of Solomon 1:13). The word for satisfy means to drink one’s fill, to be saturated. At all times means the satisfaction is to be both continual and frequent. Solomon once again highlights the blessing and delight of faithful marriage, of which adultery is both a corruption and a poor substitute.

Ravished means to reel or stagger as in from the effects of intoxicating drinks. A husband is affected in every aspect by his wife’s love. The wife’s love encompasses all aspects of affection and action. Loving and being loved deeply is a blessing of faithful marriage and is unique to that union.

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Proverbs 5:18

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
– Proverbs 5:18

Solomon admonishes to be delighted in your wife. The verses in this section emphasize the physical relation of a husband and a wife, but the physical relation is never entirely physical. This is one of the reasons Paul warned the Corinthians against fornication (1 Corinthians 6:15-16). The physical in marriage is one of the aspects of the bonding of husband and wife together. All these work together over time to deepen the bond in marriage physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.

The second phrase is laden with meaning. To rejoice is to be glad, it speaks of more than a resigned contentment. It is a happiness that is shared and enjoyed. The wife of your youth refers to the design of marriage to be one man and one woman for life (Ecclesiastes 9:9). God has designed for husband and wife to live together from youth and share all the experiences of life together. To grow old together and to stand by one another through all that comes. Neither a wife nor a husband should ever be worried about the love and loyalty of their spouse (Malachi 2:14). This is the path of wisdom and the path of a blessed and satisfying life on earth.

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