Posted by: Ety W. | October 6, 2008

Prov. 31:23 – Unity in Marriage

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This is part 15 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman.
To start at the beginning, click here.

Even though we have focused almost exclusively on the Proverbs 31 Woman in this series, we do get a glimpse of her husband as well. In verses 11 and 12, we saw something about their relationship:

~ He trusts her
~ He is able to focus on providing for the family rather than domestic problems
~ She treats him very well

In verse 23, we get to know a little about what he does.

Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.  Prov. 31:23

To get a clearer understanding, let’s take a look at a couple of words in this verse.

Known – Strong’s 3045 – ידע – yada` = recognized, acknowledged

Gates – Strong’s 8179 – שׁער – sha‛ar = gate, entrance, space inside a gate, marketplace, court, public meeting place

Sits – Strong’s 3427 – ישׁב – yâshab = properly to sit down, specifically as judge, in ambush, or in quiet; remains, stays

Elders – Strong’s 2205 – זקן – zâqên = aged, ancient men, elders, senators, those having authority

Let’s look up a couple of cross references too.

You shall appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.  Deut. 16:18

All the people who were in the court (sha‛ar or gate), and the elders, said, “We are witnesses …… Ruth 4:11a

Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Or crush the afflicted at the gate;
For the LORD will plead their case
And take the life of those who rob them. Prov. 22:22-23

In putting all this together, it seems likely that the Proverbs 31 Woman’s husband is in a position of authority as a judge.

It was once a common saying that behind every good man is a good woman. That concept has pretty much been thrown out the window in a day and age when women are focusing on their own careers rather than on their homes and families.  I can understand this in part, because our world sees earning money as more important than raising children, or governing a household without pay.  Yet this is worldly thinking, which ignores a very important biblical fact: that husband and wife are one flesh.  Between the two of them, they govern their life together.  Each spouse is free to attend to his or her own areas of authority and responsibility, confident that the other is doing the same.

There are many facets in life.  In marriage, we see that the Excellent Woman’s priority is the home; her husband’s is the community.  They are successful and prosperous because of the mutual respect and trust they have for one another.  Neither one tries to be a whole unto themselves.  It is as one flesh that they are individually strongest.  United, they have a powerful impact upon society, though in different ways.

For Christian women, Prov. 31:10-31 lays out a goal to aspire to. For men, it lays out 1) what to look for in a wife, and 2) what kind of woman he needs to encourage his wife to be.  It also gives him an idea of how they should function as a couple: his wife is not to rule over, his wife is to rule with.  A biblical marriage means being two unique and individual parts of a whole. The whole is a life and ministry together.


  1. […] Unity – v 23 […]

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