Proverbs 21:19 “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
If you have ever been in a house with an angry woman, which I am sure we all have been at one point or another, it is not fun. I’m not sure why Solomon singles out women the way he does. It’s not pleasant being around anyone that is angry. Maybe it is because women have a greater tendency to be more gifted with talking. A woman’s very nature is to be nurturing. When she moves outside of God’s design, and fails to nurture, she tears down her house. This woman is foolish to be contentious and angry; reason seems to go out the window when we are filled with wrath or unrighteous anger.
Proverbs 14:1 says, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and this woman’s tongue brings death to relationships (Prov. 25:12).
The Hebrew word for “contentious” (H4079) is a plural form for the Hebrew word meaning dissension, strife, arguing.” It means to brawl, to dispute. This woman is in a constant state of fighting.
The Hebrew word for “angry” (H3708) means anger, grief, indignation, spite, or wrath.
The woman in this proverb is a fighter. She has expectations that she demands be met which often are unrealistic. If her expectations are not met, she impatiently and angrily lets others know. She will do whatever it takes to get her way. This woman is fueled by the bitterness inside her. It spews out of her. A root of bitterness springs up and defiles any it touches. Bitterness is the poison ivy of relationships. Hebrews 12:15 says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” This contentious and angry woman is the epitome of Hebrews 12:15. She has embraced the bitterness, and has given the devil a major foothold in her life.
Proverbs 21:19 is the second time Solomon says this sentiment in Proverbs 21, and he says it a third time in Proverbs 25:24. Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 are identical. “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”
In context of the culture, storms arose quickly and were often violent in the East. Solomon is saying that it was better to be exposed to the elements and violent weather conditions than the elements of a contentious and angry woman. At least in the wilderness or corner of a house top you have periods of repose with the weather, though it may not be very comfortable physically.
Matthew Henry says this in his commentary on this verse “Those cannot dwell in peace and happiness that cannot dwell in peace and love.” That is quite a profound statement. If you cannot have a heart of love and peace towards others, forget about having peace and happiness because it isn’t going to be.
Let’s ask ourselves a few questions. What is my heart attitude like? Do I have an attitude of irritability, discontentment, and anger like the contentious and angry woman? Are people on pins and needles when they are around me? Would it be better for the people around me to be in the wilderness facing the elements rather than facing my rotten attitude? Am I better than the wilderness? By God’s grace let’s not be like this contentious and angry woman. Let us have the love of God and His peace evident in our lives. That does not mean we compromise for standing for Truth, but it means we stand for Truth in love. May our expectation come from the Lord, not our own desires (Psalm 62:5). Let’s yield our expectations to Him, so we do not have a reason to get angry readily.