Proverbs 14:1
Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucks it down with her hands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XIV

(1) Every wise woman buildeth her house.—This should be rendered, “The wisdom (literally, wisdoms; see above on Proverbs 1:20; chokhmôth should probably be read here, as there, not chokhmôth) of women buildeth (for each) her house, but (their) folly plucketh it down,” &c.

Buildeth her house.—Each person and each good work throughout the household grows, as it were, under her fostering hand. (Comp. Ephesians 2:21.)

Proverbs 14:1. Every wise woman buildeth her house — By her care, industry: diligence, and prudent management, she improves, and raises her family and estate. So the phrase is used Exodus 1:21; 2 Samuel 7:11; Psalm 127:1. He speaks of the woman, not exclusively of the man, of whom this is no less true, but because the women, especially in those times, were very industrious in managing their husbands’ estates. But the foolish plucketh it down with her hands — By her negligence, idleness, ill management, or want of economy, she lays it low, and wastes all that had been gotten by the care of others.14:1 A woman who has no fear of God, who is wilful and wasteful, and indulges her ease, will as certainly ruin her family, as if she plucked her house down. 2. Here are grace and sin in their true colours. Those that despise God's precepts and promises, despise God and all his power and mercy. 3. Pride grows from that root of bitterness which is in the heart. The root must be plucked up, or we cannot conquer this branch. The prudent words of wise men get them out of difficulties. 4. There can be no advantage without something which, though of little moment, will affright the indolent. 5. A conscientious witness will not dare to represent anything otherwise than according to his knowledge. 6. A scorner treats Divine things with contempt. He that feels his ignorance and unworthiness will search the Scriptures in a humble spirit. 7. We discover a wicked man if there is no savour of piety in his discourse. 8. We are travellers, whose concern is, not to spy out wonders, but to get to their journey's end; to understand the rules we are to walk by, also the ends we are to walk toward. The bad man cheats himself, and goes on in his mistake. 9. Foolish and profane men consider sin a mere trifle, to be made light of rather than mourned over. Fools mock at the sin-offering; but those that make light of sin, make light of Christ. 10. We do not know what stings of conscience, or consuming passions, torment the prosperous sinner. Nor does the world know the peace of mind a serious Christian enjoys, even in poverty and sickness. 11. Sin ruins many great families; whilst righteousness often raises and strengthens even mean families. 12. The ways of carelessness, of worldliness, and of sensuality, seem right to those that walk in them; but self-deceivers prove self-destroyers. See the vanity of carnal mirth. 14. Of all sinners backsliders will have the most terror when they reflect on their own ways. 15. Eager readiness to believe what others say, has ever proved mischievous. The whole world was thus ruined at first. The man who is spiritually wise, depends on the Saviour alone for acceptance. He is watchful against the enemies of his salvation, by taking heed to God's word. 16. Holy fear guards against every thing unholy. 17. An angry man is to be pitied as well as blamed; but the revengeful is more hateful.Every wise woman - literally, Wise women. The fullest recognition that has as yet met us of the importance of woman, for good or evil, in all human society. CHAPTER 14

Pr 14:1-35.

1. Every wise, &c.—literally, "The wisdoms" (compare Pr 9:1) "of women," plural, a distributive form of speech.

buildeth … house—increases wealth, which the foolish, by mismanagement, lessen. He speaks of the woman not to exclude the man, of whom this is no less true, but because the women, especially in those times, were very industrious in managing their husbands’ estates; of which see Pr 31.

Buildeth her house; maintaineth and improveth her family and estate, as this phrase is used, Exodus 1:21 2 Samuel 7:11 Psalm 127:1.

Plucketh it down with her hands; either by her idleness and not using her hands, or by her foolish and sinful courses.

Every wise woman buildeth her house,.... Not only by her fruitfulness, as Leah and Rachel built up the house of Israel; but by her good housewifery, prudent economy; looking well to the ways of her household; guiding the affairs of her house with discretion; keeping all things in a good decorum; and bringing up her children in virtue, and in the fear and admonition of the Lord. So Christ, who in this book goes by the name of "Wisdom", or the wise woman, builds his house upon himself, the Rock; and all his people on their most holy faith, by means of the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances: he guides and governs his house, where he is, as a Son in it and over it; and of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, taken care of, and wisely and plentifully provided for: and so Gospel ministers, who are wise to win souls, being well instructed in the kingdom of God; these "wise women" (y), so it is in the original text, or wise virgins; these wise master builders lay the foundation Christ ministerially, and build souls on it; and speak things to the edification of the church and people of God, and the building of them up in faith and holiness;

but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands; the Vulgate Latin version adds, "being built"; this she does by her idleness and laziness; by her lavish and profuse way of living; by her negligence and want of economy; by her frequenting playhouses, and attention to other diversions; and so her family and the affairs of it go to wreck and ruin. Thus the apostate church of Rome, who is called a "woman", and may be said to be a "foolish" one, being a wicked one and a harlot; see Revelation 17:2; pulls down the true church and house of God with both hands, as much as in her lies, by her false doctrines, and superstitious worship and idolatry; and by her murders and massacres of the saints, with the blood of whom she is said to be drunk; nay, not only pulls it down with her hands, but treads upon it with her feet, Revelation 11:2. So likewise all false teachers do as this foolish woman does, by their impure lives and impious doctrines, defile the temple of God, subvert the faith of many; by means of whom the tabernacle of David, or house of God, is fallen down; the ruins and breaches of which Christ will repair in the latter day.

(y) "sapientes mulieres", Munster, Baynus; so the Septuagint and Arabic versions.

Every wise woman {a} buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

(a) That is, takes pains to profit her family, and to do that which concerns her duty in her house.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. Every wise woman] Some texts read the wisdoms (plur. of excellence, as in Proverbs 9:1) of women. And so in next clause, the folly (of women). A slightly different reading is followed by A.V. and R.V., the wise ones of (among) women, buildeth every one her house; σοφαὶ γυναῖκες, LXX.; sapiens mulier, Vulg. Comp. Her wise princesses, lit. the wise (ones) of her princesses, Jdg 5:29.

her hands] her own hands, R.V., as indicated by the order of the words in the Heb.: “with her hands plucketh it down.”Verse 1. - Every wise woman buildeth her house. Wise women order well their household matters and their families; they have an important influence, and exercise it beneficially.

Γυναικὸς ἐσθλῆς ἐστὶ σώζειν οἰκίαν.

"A good wife is the saving of a house." The versions render as above. A different pointing of the word translated "wise" (chakhmoth) will give "wisdom" (chokhmoth), which it seems best to read here, as the parallel to the abstract term "folly" in the second member. So we have, "Wisdom hath builded her house" (Proverbs 9:1; comp. Proverbs 1:20). Thus: "The wisdom of women buildeth their house" (Proverbs 12:4; Proverbs 24:3). But the foolish plucketh it down with her hands; "but Folly plucketh it down with her own hands;" of course, the folly of women is intended.

Γυνὴ γὰρ οἴκῳ πῆμα καὶ σωτηρία

"Bane or salvation to a house is woman." Foolish, unprincipled women, by their bad management or their evil doings, ruin their families materially and morally. "The husband should labour," says a Servian proverb; "the wife should save." 20 Whoever goes with wise men, becomes wise;

     And whoever has intercourse with fools, becomes base.

Regarding the significance of this proverb in the history of the religion and worship of Israel, vid., p. 39. We have translated 20a after the Kerı̂; the translation according to the Chethı̂b is: "go with wise men and become wise" (cf. Proverbs 8:33), not הלוך, for the connection of the (meant imperatively) infin. absol. with an imper. (meant conclusively) is not tenable; but הלוך is an imper. form established by הלכוּ, Jeremiah 51:50 (cf. הלוך equals לכת, Numbers 22:14), and appears to have been used with such shades of conception as here as intercourse and companionship for לך. Regarding ירוע gnid, vid., at Proverbs 11:15; there it meant malo afficietur, here it means malus (pejor) fiet. The Venet. (contrary to Kimchi, who explains by frangetur) rightly has κακωθήσεται. There is here a play upon words; רעה means to tend (a flock), also in general to be considerate about anything (Proverbs 15:14; Proverbs 44:20), to take care of anything with the accusative of the person (Proverbs 28:7; Proverbs 29:3), to hold intercourse with any one: he who by preference seeks the society of fools, himself becomes such (Jerome, similis efficietur), or rather, as ירוע expresses, he comes always morally lower down. "A wicked companion leads his associate into hell."

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