Proverbs 21:19 – “It is better [merry; do good] to dwell [inhabit; remain; keep house] in the wilderness [earth; ground; field; desert; pasture], than with a contentious [brawling; quarreling] and an angry [indignant; rebellious; provoking to anger] woman [wife].”
Proverbs 21:19 introduces a common theme of Solomon’s—the anxiety of living with a mean-spirited, contentious wife. In his reign as king, Solomon took into his palace a thousand wives and concubines (1 Kings 11:1-3). The king knew well the anxiety of living under the roof with, not one, but many unhappy wives! Employing a familiar format, the king contrasts two dissimilar contemplations with “better….than”.
The application is both simple and profound: A man will find more peace and comfort living in the midst of the desert where he faces the threat of wild beasts and deprivation of food and water, than living at home with a woman who is a constant sore to his soul with her berating, quick-tempered and sharp-tongued ways.
Proverbs 21:20 – “There is treasure [storehouses; a depository] to be desired [covet; lust; precious] and oil [perfume; ointment; fattening – i.e. olive] in the dwelling [habitation; home] of the wise [skillful; practical; discerning]; but a foolish [stupid; silly; lacking discernment] man spendeth it up [devours; destroys; swallows down].”
Proverbs 21:20 is one of those wonderful, practical proverbs that, if heeded as a lesson and exhortation, has the power to transform a fool to the ways of a wise man.
We find this lesson: A wise man saves what a fool squanders! Wise men are frugal and save that which exceeds their need. Fools, however, live beyond their means and, as some observe, “spend beyond their means”.
Sadly, the way of the fool has become the way of our nation and society. While the debt of the federal government exceeds $18 trillion dollars, the credit card debt of the average American household is $15,611. Unlike the wise man who saves, we have become a people and nation of foolish debtors spending what we cannot afford and putting ourselves, our children and children’s children at risk.
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith