The Proverbial Woman vs 23

Proverbs 31:23  Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.




Nun(noon)  is the fourteenth letter of the alphabet.  The pictograph for Nun looks something like a sprouted seed.  The sages say this letter represents both the faithful and the rewards of faith.  It means 'fish' and represents life.  Joshua was the son of Nun and on his succession to Moses as he entered the Promised Land was called "the Son of Life".

I find it interesting that the letter Mem means water and the letter Nun represents fish.  What is a fish without water?!

Noda is our first word in this verse.  The lexicon does not have any word which begins with Nun, but another translation of this verse says that her husband sits with distinction.  I am thinking noda  may well be an adverb that describes how he sits in the gates.   If he is sitting with 'distinction' he has not only the right to sit there but is respected among the elders of the city.  Young men might go to the gate but it was the seat of wisdom, a place of judgement and settlements in the ancient city.  It was a place for business deals where reputable witnesses were party to contracts and agreements.  In other words, it was a valuable part of any city.  To 'sit in the gates' one had to have displayed many respectable and admirable traits. 

Earlier in Proverbs we see this:  Proverbs 8:1-3  Wisdom is calling!  Understanding is raising her voice!  On the heights along the road, where the paths meet, she is standing; by the gates leading into the city, at the entrances...

A man was appointed to sit in the gates.  He didn't just decide that was where he belonged. 
Deut. 16:18  You are to appoint judges and officers for all your gates [in the cities] Adonai your God is giving you, tribe by tribe; they are to judge the people with righteous judgement.



The reputation of a wife could absolve that of a bad husband.  Remember Abigail and Nabal?  When David and his men were hiding from Saul, they watched over the sheep and shepherds, making sure that no harm came to Nabal's property in the wild fields they roamed.  David's men were sent to Nabal and requested provisions, Nabal refused.  Abigail, hearing of how rudely her husband behaved ordered the servants to load up provisions and take to David and his men.  Later, when Nabal died, David remembered this remarkable woman and sent for her to become one of his wives.  (I Samuel 25).   What might Nabal have been had he realized the value of Abigail's wisdom? 

No doubt this husband is sitting in the gates as well because his wife is such an exemplary woman.  She has rightly seen that she is a reflection of her husband and his reputation is something she values as much as her own.   I believe again it's her example, not just of her work ethic but of her spiritual wisdom, her compassion to those less fortunate, which elevates herself and her husband in their community. 

2 comments:

Lana said...

Perhaps the biggest desire of my heart is to never discredit my dear husband.

Veronika said...

These series are amazing, Terri.
Noda is the verb which means "is known". I think this word is used to emphasize the good reputation of her husband as other people appreciate him.

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