Proverbs 7:4-5

Proverbs 7:4-5 "Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words."
Church Buffalo NY
I have long contested that modern society has made a grave mistake in trying to remove or minimize gender differences.  In the process of rightly pursuing equal rights for women, our society has overcompensated.  As a result, a generation of men and women have lost their uniquely God-given gender identity.  We now have a society that considers gender difference a matter of inequality.  On some level, talking about gender differences is viewed by many as inappropriate and sexist.  This has robbed our society of relational strength and has led to relational confusion, parental contention and marital destruction.  Parents don’t realize how differently they need to raise sons and daughters simply because of gender differences.  Spouses don’t realize how healthy it is to be different as men and women.  Instead, they fight to make each other just like them only to end in misery and disappointment.

Sound relationships start with the most basic of Bible truths – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:27).  God made us distinctly different.  God intentionally made us unique in gender.  Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we’re different.  Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, we’re complementary.  Human gender differences are designed to help both genders.  A male society without women is unsustainable and incomplete.  A female society without men is equally unsustainable and incomplete.  By Divine Design, we need each other and we desire each other.  We are not the same.  We are different on every level.  There’s more to our differences than biology and appearance.  We think differently – we feel differently – we see differently – we respond differently.

Because we are different by Divine Design, we are different from the moment of conception.  Therefore, we don’t naturally think, behave or understand the opposite gender.  It takes effort and a lot of it to understand the other side of the gender aisle.  Few put the kind of effort necessary into understanding the opposite gender and that, for a variety of reasons.  Some don’t put the effort in because they don’t see a difference in the genders, which is a result of society’s efforts to unify and equate both genders.  Others don’t put the effort in because they don’t see the value in understanding the differences.  Most don’t put the effort in to understand gender differences because they’re concentrating their effort instead on changing the opposite gender.  For most, gender differences are seen as gender flaws.  For most of us, we conclude that the opposite gender’s mindset is the wrong mindset.  In this case, we don’t try to understand the different mindset – we try to correct the different mindset.  Unfortunately, this is the most common approach to gender differences.

Because Solomon was wise, he didn’t dismiss gender differences nor did he try to correct gender differences.  In telling his son to call wisdom his sister and understanding his kinswoman, or a female relative, he was telling his son to let these virtues give him insight into that which he would not naturally know.  By ascribing a feminine nature to wisdom and to understanding, Solomon was telling his son to learn about women from wisdom.  Naturally, he didn’t think like a woman and he would need wisdom to tell him how a woman thinks.  Naturally, he didn’t approach romance the way a woman approached it and he would need wisdom to tell him how a woman approaches romance.  By nature, he lacked the knowledge of how women view and approach men.  Without this knowledge, a woman could easily take advantage of him, especially if she already learned how men think.  An evil woman armed with the knowledge of how a man thinks about women could easily take advantage of a wealthy man who doesn’t know how a woman thinks about men.  

By calling wisdom and understanding his SOUL SISTERS, Rehoboam would have two allies when it came to the complicated and complex field of romance.  By seeing these virtues as SOUL SISTERS, he would have access to insider information when it came time to accept or reject a woman’s advances.  By referring to wisdom and understanding in these feminine terms, Solomon is pointing to a woman’s intuition and how helpful it can be when dealing with women.  No man can see through a woman’s disguises like another woman.  In instances of seduction, men are easily blinded by their biological instincts.  In moments of temptation, men are often handicapped by their masculinity.  In times like these, a trusted sister or female cousin can provide insight to a man that he would rarely discover on his own.

Solomon wasn’t addressing Rehoboam’s inexperience as a young man as much as he was addressing Rehoboam’s ignorance as a man.  Detecting an evil woman’s motive isn’t a matter of experience as much as it is a matter of understanding how a woman thinks.  To understand how a woman thinks, one needs to either be a woman, learn from a woman or receive WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING from God.  Rehoboam could not afford to assume that a woman “interested” in him thought like him.  He could not afford to assume that what he was thinking she was thinking was really what she was thinking.  If he was going to make wise decisions with women, he needed outside insight about women.  He needed to see WISDOM as that outside feminine insight.  He needed to consider and value understanding as that outside feminine insight.

It is important to note that Solomon’s first recorded benefit of wisdom in 1 Kings 3 dealt with much needed insight into women.  Immediately after being promised the wisdom necessary to lead the people, two women came before the king with a deeply emotional dispute.  Both women recently gave birth to children and because they were prostitutes, they were living in the same room without any witnesses to their dispute.  One of the mothers rolled onto her newborn in the middle of the night and accidentally suffocated her child.  Both were claiming that the living child was theirs.  Solomon famously solved the dilemma by ordering the child be cut in half so that each mother could have half of the child.  The true mother of the living child cried out to the king to reconsider his decision, suggesting that the child be given to the other woman.  Although deprived of natural maternal instincts, Solomon knew that a woman would do anything to protect her child.  He used the sword to reveal the true mother because wisdom whispered into his ear knowledge about the opposite gender.  Without going into further detail, wisdom gave Solomon insight regarding instincts unique to both women in the same situation – instincts that are not natural to men.  This wisdom allowed Solomon to do right by this desperate woman.      

Relational success starts with the acknowledgement of Divinely-Designed gender differences.  Beyond that, relational success then requires outsider insight.  If we are to avoid the seductions of the opposite gender, we need wisdom to give us insight about that which is not natural to us.  If we are to meet the needs of the opposite gender, we need wisdom to enlighten us to the unique needs of the opposite gender.  It is precisely for this reason that Peter instructed husbands to live with their wives according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7).   Peter wasn’t using the word, “weaker” here as a matter of competence or value.  He was using the word, “weaker” to infer delicacy and fragility.  The word, “weaker” is attached in the verse to “honour,” meaning women are to be treated with the type of respect that a piece of fine art or expensive jewelry is to be treated with.  The passage clearly teaches men that women are different than men and need to be understood as such. Simply put, wisdom brings insight and knowledge about gender differences.

Young men especially need to turn to wisdom and understanding as SOUL SISTERS if they are to avoid being taken advantage of by women who intend to use their weaknesses for personal gain.  I would argue that if Solomon were writing to his daughter, he would say the same thing.  Young women need to turn to wisdom and understanding as HOLY BROTHERS if they are to avoid being taken advantage of by men who intend to use their weaknesses for personal pleasure.  To all men and women, turn to wisdom when dealing with a gender that you don’t understand by nature.

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