Q is for Quarreling - (meditations by Nila)
A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Proverbs 19:13
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19
(QUARRELING, IN GENERAL):
In Solomon’s time women and children were “to be seen and not heard”, in essence. The male was dominant and so any deviation from that norm which caused him discomfort was to be avoided. While there is the wisdom of Solomon contained in each of the Proverbs selected and basic, general truths, the first selection reflects the Hebrew traditions most strongly and the second uses historic referencing and may refer to “sibling rivalry” (which can be quite disruptive to the familial status quo) or a Biblical tribal reference).
A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. Proverbs 19:13
From a dominant male perspective, familial quarrels can create chaos, unrest, lack of respect or “disobedience”. What’s best for all involved becomes secondary to those engaged and results in a lack of security and trust. A foolish son in today’s world may produce a sense of sorrow or disappointment or concern for the child’s welfare but is rarely a source of “ruin” for his father (or mother). I can see where a quarreling wife could be perceived to be as annoying as “continual dripping of rain”. Absolutely! But I see nothing in this Proverb that offers alternatives, solutions or compromise. It is, quite obviously a male dominance perspective with no leeway for change, adaptation, resolution, compromise or forgiveness. Or it may just be another one of Solomon’s observations. Maybe all of the Proverbs are merely his observations, not pronouncements or judgments.
A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. Proverbs 18:19
“Brother” can refer to siblings or “brothers in faith” or “Tribal brothers”. I’m not sure which is applicable here. Either way, the truth is the truth and someone who has been offended can easily become stubborn or self-righteous or “stiff-necked”, as the Bible says. Yep, it happens! It is an apt description of a common phenomenon of human behavior. The analogy of “bars of a castle” as a result of quarreling is also “right on” because such “bars” are related to stubbornness, etc. “Bars” are self-constructed safety devices that appear to protect the individual but are most effective at keeping others out. “Bars” can be a survival mechanism.
I have often wondered if the “set the prisoners free” often seen Biblical comment isn’t aimed at us as individuals. The point being doubled edged: that we are to be advocates for “real” prisoners and we are to analyze and address those things within us that make us prisoners – a lack of trust in God, for instance.
Reflection on Proverbs by Nila LaDuke, member of 1st Writes.