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The Elusive Message in Proverbs 31 – Males also are called to Nobility

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Chapter 31 of the Book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible is presented as advice, which Lemuel's mother gave to him about how a virtuous king should reign and also describing how an ideal wife or virtuous woman should behave. The second section of text of this chapter directs women to be industrious and of good report; however, the first section is directed exclusively to men. It seems to me that we normally associate Proverbs 31 with finding a wife of noble character; hence, the popular phrase "Proverbs 31 Woman," while ignoring the advice for men. However, only vv.10-31 talks about the woman of noble character. What about the beginning of the chapter? What about the “Proverbs 31 Man?” On an openminded review of the chapter, it occurred to me that verses 1-9, 23 & 28 talks about male behavior and wise steps towards being a good leader, character and husband.

Men are called to be nobles. We are to be "kings," or leaders, especially in the house and in the church. More so, just as the nobility are set apart from the common people and are to be distinguished with virtues and high standards, we are to be set apart-set apart from the world, or holy to God-and we are to be marked with honor, dignity, integrity, loyalty, righteousness and holiness. A commentary in my Bible says that "Lemuel" means "belonging to God." In other words, the noble man belongs to God, is set apart for God's use only. Proverbs 31:2- 3 -- a noble man guards his heart and sets his priorities straight.

Proverbs 31:4-7 -- a noble man does not get drunk on wine but is instead filled with the Spirit; a noble man does not love the world or anything in the world. Proverbs 31:8-9 -- a noble man stands up for what is right and shows concern for others. Such are the sayings of King Lemuel, a noble man belonging to God. Many biblical scholars believe that Lemuel is another name for King Solomon, whose mother was Bathsheba.

Interesting enough while King Solomon is often given credit for being the wisest man in the Bible, he did not follow the advice of his mother especially in Proverbs 31: 3 Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. There are countless numbers of prominent men whom felt the consequences of playing loosely with the advice of Proverbs 31:3. Interestingly enough, Solomon had numerous wives and concubines and suffered the repercussions thus do many men of current times.

As Christian men fall short of the “Proverbs 31 Man” on so many different levels, it seems hypocritical for men to continue without change in their own lives expect every Christian women to be a “Proverbs 31 Woman.”

Nevertheless, there are Proverbs 31 men and women men but they are not found among the violent, drunkards, or whoremongers we find in our churches and sitting in high places everywhere. We must stop preaching so loudly about the Proverbs 31 woman until we at least take a closer look and begin to teach about the Proverbs 31 man.

Website: www.richardojoneslive.com

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