Proverbs 31: King James Bible
Known in the Gates – Daily Devotion of Proverbs chapter thirty one, Verse 23
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
Daily Inspiration from This Verse – Known in the Gates
Here is the second verse found through this whole chapter, that happens to mention the husband of the virtuous woman. It’s also the last verse to mention him I might add. Though mentioned earlier on, the verse wasn’t about him per se, but rather his thoughts toward his wife.
So, who cares if people know him in the gates? Also, what does it matter who he’s sitting around with? Let’s first dive in to the significance of gates and walls in those days.
Within the Gates of the City
He is Known in the Gates of whatever city this virtuous couple hails from. There are many things that we can glean from that little piece of information.
Before the days of planes, bombs, bullets, mortar, and the like, the best deterrent was often a good set of walls to be set around a city. This proved an obstacle for the attacker, and a safe place to launch an aggressive defense against anyone who came close to the walls.
The most famous I can think of concerning different Biblical nations, are those of ancient Babylon. It is said that the walls of ancient Babylon during the days of Nebuchadnezzar II, were around forty feet tall, and eighty feet thick. These were rumored to hold chariot races running along the tops of them.
Every wall had one weak spot, and that would be the gates. A variety of methods cities used to strengthen these as best as possible have been recorded. Often, a city would build an inner wall to give themselves another shot of defending the place should the first gate be breached.
Anybody who is interested in history, or enjoys ancient battle strategies could spend quite a bit of time looking into the strategic placement of a cities gates.
But I’d bet that these things are not news to anyone. We all know what city walls and gates are, even if we’re lousy retaining historical knowledge. Just one Lord of the Rings movie would show us the benefits of a city wall and strong gates.
Though constructed for defensive purposes, these were used for a host of other activities.
Commerce and Local Governance
Walls and gates held much more significance than what we typically think about. Much of a cities business would be conducted either inside the walls or within the gates.
Because of the traffic flow that traversed through these gates, social hubs would form. Incorporated into the walls of the city about it’s gates, would be horse stalls, market places, lodging, shops of various trades, and meeting places for the local governing body.
A space between gates would become the equivalent to the town square during times of peace. Speeches would be made there, announcements, reading of the Law, decrees by a king, etc..
The Husband of the Woman of Virtue
The fact that he is known at the gates should tell us a few things. This isn’t necessarily to say that he was a popular guy, but rather a respected member of the community.
He is known by people of importance, because he himself is a man of importance. He isn’t a spring chicken either.
He is found to be sitting among the elders of the land. The decision makers, judges, rulers, perhaps even consultants to a King. These are considered to be among the wise of the land due to their advanced years.
So far in this chapter, we’ve been witnessing the Woman of Virtue doing all kinds of work to support her family. Here, we see the husband performing his duties as an elder of the land.
What he is not doing, is taking it easy because she is doing everything for him. He is tending to the business of the city, while she is conducting business of the household. One complementing the other, and vice versa.
Back to the Woman
This is also a testament to their wealth. Because of this, we see the character of the woman emboldened. Being wealthy, having servants, and a husband that is in a position of power (or at least influence), she doesn’t think more of herself than she should.
As I said in previous devotionals about this woman, she conducts herself through meekness and diligence, despite having the occasion to not have to do so. She isn’t the productive person that she is from necessity, but by virtue of wanting to do it.
What about us?
Do we “do what we gotta do,” and leave it at that? Or do we go the extra mile to sure up things that we have occasion to do? Are we procrastinators when it comes to things that are not absolutely necessary?
Do we do things grudgingly, rather than with a cheerful heart? I think we know what our Father would prefer, but what we know the Lord wants versus what we do, can often be two different things.
This woman is our example of the Church that the Lord is waiting for.
Related New Testament Scripture
Matthew 7: King James Bible
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Matthew 16: King James Bible
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Hebrews 13: King James Bible
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
1 Peter 5: King James Bible
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Thank you for everything that you have included in your Word. Every detail helps us to understand what you’re trying to tell us, and we are always better for it. Help us to do what is right and good for the sake of doing it, rather than out of necessity or merely out of need. Give us the fortitude to do our utmost, even when we don’t have to, and create a better environment for ourselves and others. May these traits be incorporated into all of your Saints, as we long to have your nature flourish through us. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
Do you think that if you were known in the gates, you’d decide to start taking it easy, and being a little less diligent?
- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 12 P.129 – Rottenness to the Bones
- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 25 P. 394 – Rule Over Your Own Spirit
- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 8 P.69 – Wisdom Cries Out
- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 14 P.168 – Ways of Death
- Daily Inspiration from Proverbs 14 P.159 – Build or Tear Down