It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
Loneliness is better than marriage to an odious woman. An arguing wife sucks the life out of a man’s soul and leaves him numb with pain or rage. There are few things men cannot bear and that destroy earthly peace; an odious woman is one. She acts civil when dating, but once the wedding is over, her poor victim wakes up in marital hell (Pr 30:21-23).
Solomon was a man, and he wrote as one to his son. He often warned about odious and whorish women. Both kinds destroy men. He observed odious women destroy men’s lives (Pr 11:22; 12:4; 14:1; 19:13; 21:9,19; 27:15-16). And he observed whorish women destroy men’s lives (Pr 2:16-19; 5:3-23; 6:24-35; 7:6-27; 9:13-18; 22:14; 23:27-28; Eccl 7:25-29). God used a queen mother to write about the perfect woman (Pr 31:1,10-31).
Solomon knew God had created the woman to help and please the man (Gen 2:18; I Cor 11:3,7-9). The calamity occurs when the creature ordained to comfort and encourage him becomes his worst enemy and nightmare – one he cannot escape, for she lives in his house, breaks his heart, consumes his living, confounds his soul, corrupts his children, and still expects to snore in his bed at night. Oh, to be single again, but it is too late!
What is the housetop in this proverb? Houses then had flat and useful roofs, which could be used for solitude, but which exposed a person to all types of weather. The sun could bake you, the wind torment, the rain soak, and the cold chill you. But huddled in a corner of such a housetop is a better living choice than being down below with an arguing woman, no matter how spacious and comfortable the living quarters might be.
What is a brawling woman? It is not a woman who boxes professionally, starts fistfights with neighbors, or attacks her husband with teeth, clubs, or knives. It is a nagging wife who cannot allow a matter to rest, cannot stop giving her opinions, cannot submit to her husband’s decisions, cannot stop questioning everything he does, cannot stop correcting irrelevant details when he speaks, and otherwise hounds him mercilessly.
When writing other proverbs about her, Solomon used angry (Pr 21:19), contentious (Pr 19:13; 21:19; 27:15), and continual dropping (Pr 19:13; 27:15) to describe her. This evil wife gets upset easily, argues and contests anything her husband says or does, and constantly nags. She talks a lot, talks loud, is opinionated, questions everything, corrects her husband and children, worries about details, argues quickly, gets defensive easily, remembers past offences, seldom apologizes, or self-righteously turns away when bested.
You have heard and seen this woman. You are surely related to one. Hopefully, she is a third cousin, rather than a wife, mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother. Her stench cannot be hid (Pr 27:15-16). No amount of beauty can cover her odor (Pr 11:22). The family knows she is odious and her husband is a victim of one of life’s greatest curses (Pr 30:21-23). God put her in your family to teach your sons what kind of women are to die single.
Unmarried man! Do not resent being single. It is far better than marriage to this irritating and obnoxious creature. Why are many men workaholics or obsessed with foolish hobbies? Because doing anything, anywhere is better than being at home with mama. Your loneliness is nothing compared to the pain of fifty years in marital hell. Rejoice! Your meals are peaceful, your wallet growing, your home quiet, and your bed pleasant.
Unmarried man! What can you do? Test any woman well before thinking about marriage. Your life depends on it. If you doubt this wisdom, spend a night on your rooftop, which is not as bad as a bad woman. Examine every prospect’s mother for the odious odor. Test every prospect often. Her irritation now can save you a crushed spirit and ruined life later. Get her around married men, because their sense of smell is better than yours.
Unmarried man! Trust your godly father. He has been married longer than you have been alive. His experience is worth millions. He has your best interests at heart. He thinks with a longer time perspective. He has no emotions clouding his judgment. His testosterone has abated from your blinding levels. His peer pressure is to help you marry wisely, not quickly. Trust your godly mother. She also can detect signs that could ruin a son’s life.
Unmarried man! Do not consider a woman for marriage unless she fears the LORD more than anything else (Pr 31:30). Great fear and love of God are the only motives strong enough to overcome a woman’s temptation to argue, contend, irritate, nag, question, or resist you. Find a woman that trembles before God and loves Jesus Christ, and join a church where proverbs like this are taught. You can guarantee marital happiness!
Unmarried woman! Humble yourself before the wisdom of God and commit in your heart to never be like this woman. Prepare your mind and practice every day to be cheerful, cooperative, forgiving, gracious, loving, quiet, peaceful, and submissive to your parents, your teachers, and your employers. Hate the evil woman of this proverb. Hate the sins that make her so obnoxious to others. Grieve for the victims she has married and ruined.
Married man! What can you do? If you married foolishly and are tormented by this contentious brawler, pack your bags and head upstairs. Or pray for an early death, for you, or her. Or leave this proverb in a conspicuous place. Or take her to a church where such things are taught, and pray she has an ounce of conscience left to convict her about her spirit. If you married a gentle, tender, and virtuous woman, take her out tonight.
Married woman! Examine yourself in the mirror of this proverb. Do not walk away (Jas 1:21-25). Your opinion about yourself is deceptive and wrong. Every odious woman thinks she is gracious – which is why she is odious! What do others think about you? Do you have many friends? Are young suitors seeking your daughters, because they hope to get a woman like you? Let truth and reality drive you to repentance or renewed effort.
Every reader! Give God the glory for such loving advice and marvelous wisdom. Every word of God is pure, and this inspired knowledge can save young men from marital grief. The Bible is as relevant today as ever, regardless of what skeptics and enemies of truth say. The important issue is whether young men will heed the warning, young women avoid the conduct, and married women beg God and their husbands for forgiveness.
Can the proverb be applied spiritually? Let every believer in Jesus Christ make sure he is a gentle, tender, and virtuous bride for the Lord of glory, without contending, questioning, or whining against Him, His word, or His ministers. He married you for His pleasure, so do all you can every day to be a cheerful, doting, loving spouse for the King.