Friday, July 09, 2010

"Spinning wheel got to go round"

Proverbs 31:19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

Spinning thread and weaving used to be a most basic task for women in keeping their households in clothes, tents, and rugs. This, thankfully, is no longer necessary. The principle, however, is the need for maintenance of mundane goods and conditions. Since you are on a computer reading this, you are probably middle-class, as am I. We are close enough to subsistence level that there are many tasks in a home which our lack of domestic staff leaves to us. With or without servants there are those domestic duties which need hands-on arrangement. Somebody has to do it. If the wife is at home (and I don't think she must be) the delegation of those mundanities has fallen to her. It is just like the husband's regular use of the car to go to work delegates the automotive maintenance to him. Because we do not have many layers of service below us, all of us need attend to slavish seeming actions to keep our ship-of-home afloat.

The Proverbial goodwife has already “sought the wool and flax” (v. 13), and her hands are taking this "bottom" of society's provisions, tedious as these can be, through to completion. This means remembering to buy toilet paper and aspirin, getting the stain out of junior’s pants, and wiping the counter once again.

I know that some gentle readers are asking themselves, "Can't her husband wipe something, for crying out loud?" Of course he can, just as she can fill the tank with gas on occasion. "Lighten up Francis." I even mentioned servants. I could have added children and a helpful husband without even a grimace of distaste. But the passage isn't talking about helpful husbands. It is talking about what a woman should consider about herself that she might be considered a goodwife. Does it suggest it or not? If it does, do you believe it? You have heard the standard, believed the standard, and are seeking to apply the standard. Let God judge the inconsiderate husband.

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