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Friday, February 11, 2005

The Proverbs 31 maidservant

There’s something in the passage from Proverbs 31, which describes the “excellent wife,” that I have not seen discussed. It’s found in verse 15:

She rises also while it is still night,
And gives food to her household,
And portions to her maidens. (emphasis mine)

(from the NAS version; the NIV uses the words “servant girls” in place of “maidens.”)

Has anyone else noticed this?

I would think that the fact that the noble wife in Proverbs 31 had servant girls would have implications for wives and mothers of today. But what are they? What are they for society?

What relation do they have to expectations? To practical realities?



  • Bonnie-
    I suppose I always took that as a message regarding how we should treat those who work for us, but now that you mention it, maybe I do need a maiden!! YES! YES! I've got to go talk to my husband about this!!

    By Blogger Jan, at 9:45 PM  

  • You raise an interesting point.
    1) this probably indicates that wives (and husbands) should respect the help, if there is any.
    2) it probably indicates, which we know already, that, in most households of today, especially those with children, one person is hard pressed to do all the things that are expected, and the load should be shared. I'd guess that, although the wife of Proverbs 31 transacted business, she did not have the equivalent of a job outside the home, and still needed help.
    3) if Proverbs had a 32nd chapter, on virtuous husbands, it would probably indicate that such a husband had menservants to help him.
    4) Surely there were households in Bible times that couldn't afford servants, maybe even where the wife, or husband, (or both) was a servant in someone else's home. How does Proverbs 31 apply to poor families now? How then?

    By Blogger Martin LaBar, at 9:46 PM  

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