[ 1 minutes to read ]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.