Friday, January 13, 2006

"monstrous" woman of the week ~ King Lemuel's Mom

After a Christmas hiatus, welcome to the 10th in a series of biographical sketches that I publish on Fridays. The title of “monstrous” has been given to these women as a rebuke to those who have labeled all women who do not follow their agenda for women as “monstrous.”

These entries will briefly tell about women I believe have done many things to further the cause of Christ in America, and some even around the world, and have maintained a godly femininity while doing so. They will be women whose choices in life have also disqualified them from being given the godly woman status in some of today’s hyper-patriarchal circles, though the hypocrisy certainly has escaped some of these list keepers! Hence, the title of “monstrous” has been given to these women as a rebuke to those who have labeled all women who do not follow their stifling agenda for women as “monstrous.”

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy! Oh, and feel free to emulate.

This week's "monstrous" woman is King Lemuel's Mom, otherwise known as the one who wrote the instructions for life to her son in Proverbs 31. Scholars and historians know next to nothing about King Lemuel. They know even less about his mother who penned this wonderful passage to her son. Many older scholars believe that Lemuel was actually King Solomon, an interesting thought to ponder since that would make the mother in question Bathsheba.

In conservative circles, Proverbs 31 is the key passage that explains the ideal role for today's Christian woman. For me, it is both inspirational and overwhelming. And it is well-worth reading, studying, and memorizing. It is, I believe, a passage that is meant to describe the various tasks in a woman's life, not simultaneously in one season, but rather, in various seasons of life. After all, even Wonder Woman couldn't do everything listed in this passage all at once and still be a healthy, sane woman.

King Lemuel's Mom recognized the importance of a woman's role throughout her life and the various changes that each season brings, ultimately bringing honor to a husband who was older, experienced, and a leader in his community. She saw the opportunities for ministry and commerce that would come at various stages of life and told her son to look for a woman who was a hard worker and one who wouldn't shun her duties in the early years of marriage or until she too, would become an older woman. This is what she hoped for in a daughter-in law and she made her desires known to her son, which is what any good mom would do!

Whoever this Godly woman was, King Lemuel's Mom began the admonishment of her son by telling him of three perils that could trip him up, that could cause him to be ineffective as a king. She first warned him to steer clear of women who could cause him to fail in his duties. Secondly, she admonished him to not drink wine or strong drink, knowing that it could pervert his judgement. Note, her warning was clear. She didn't tell him to drink moderately, she told him to abstain. Finally, she was aware of the great temptations that leaders might have in lording it over those under their watchcare. She warned her son of and instructed him to remember his responsibility to the poor and needy.

Lemuel's Mom then goes on to list all that she believes are important in searching for a wife, giving us the familar icon known as the "Proverb's 31 Woman."

Being the mother of sons and being the wife of one wonderful husband, I recognize both the privilege of striving to be a Godly wife and mother and the awesome responsibility it brings, both in word and in deed. What an honor it is that God chose, through his Holy Spirit, to impart these truths to all of us through the writings of King Lemuel as handed down to him by his mother. And what a God we serve who chose to use this wonderful mother as his teacher, as our teacher.

Let's rejoice together as we read Provers 31:

"The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyetha it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarletb. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."


At 2:22 PM, Blogger Yellow Mama said...

I found your post via google while checking out just who King Lemuel really was...I was finding the same information you were giving in blueletterbible and biblegateway.

Enjoyed the post.


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