Roof Tops

by Stan Mitchell
“It is better to live in the corner of the housetop than in a house shared by a quarrelsome wife,” (Proverbs 21:9, ESV).
Before we go any further, a warning to the chauvinistically challenged. The image given here pictures a typical house in Israel during Solomon’s time, where the roof was flat, and one could mount a flight of stairs in order to gain access to the roof.
On hot summer evenings, this was the most pleasant part of the house, for from its vantage point one could perhaps pick up an evening breeze. It was from the top of the palace roof that King David spied the beautiful Bathsheba engaged in an effort to become, well, hygienically correct (2 Samuel 11:2).
It was also from the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house that Peter viewed three visions on the nature of his diet and the value of the Gentile races (Acts 10:9).
Of course in the winter, when the weather was rainy and windy, the rooftop would not be the preferred place to sleep. But Solomon suggests that it is better to live there than to share a house with someone who is constantly critical and argumentative. Again, however, it might be prudent for the misogynist to be humble at this point.
It’s unpleasant to live with a wife who nags, who feels it is her duty to engage in a daily review of her husband’s words and actions. No one wants to be under a microscope, especially in the supposed sanctuary of his home.
But be careful if my observations tempt my male readers to dredge up wife jokes. Because I have a question for you: Do you suppose it’s pleasant to live with a demanding and autocratic husband?
For this principle can be taken generically. It’s not like it’s fun to live with a man who makes fun of his wife, demeans women, and criticizes her efforts.
Just remember that in our part of the world… our roofs aren’t flat!

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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