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