“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 14:1
This proverb has a wide application as there are multiple ways that foolishness can manifest. This particular verse applies to women, specifically women who have charge of some “house” to build. The Bible calls a wife and mother to be a manager of her household on behalf of her “head,” her husband and for the sake of her children. How she goes about doing that has many implications.
If she is wise, such as the woman of Proverbs 31, she will apply this wisdom to the building up of her house. Her family will prosper. Her husband will be respected and will love her for it (generally). She will lovingly raise up the children along with her husband, she will manage the details of the household, she will bring a quiet and godly spirit into the home, which will be a haven of prosperity, safety, and love.
But if she is foolish, her world will fall apart, and her own hands will be to blame. Let her be obnoxious, let her live for instant gratification, let her be a nag and a gossip to her family, and there will be discord and disorder. This is not to say that the wife and mother is the only one responsible for the problems in a household. Indeed, God will hold the husband, who is the head of his wife, as more responsible. If a woman tends toward foolishness, a gentle but firm standing man of God will be able to help her see and change course.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 14:1
#1 “The wise woman…”
Wisdom for women is the same as that for men. Fear of the Lord is its beginning (Pr 9:10). Love for the Bible and the truth, and love for God will create a wise heart. Wisdom is made complete by wise action.
#2 “builds her house,”
The purpose of the wisdom that God gives is for us to fulfill what he’s called us to do. Far too few women see the value in building their house. This is perhaps the first way foolishness affects the family. The woman has listened to the culture telling her what will give her her value. The Bible does not forbid a woman to work outside the home, but there is nowhere in Scripture that would indicate her primary responsibility to be anything other than to be a “keeper of her home.”
#3 “but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
Again, Fathers bear great responsibility, but this verse is directed toward the wife and mother. If you see a household “torn down,” you can expect to see a foolish woman behind it with dirty hands. Some ways that foolishness can manifest: disobedience to husbands, selfishness toward children, modeling ungodliness, loving the world, living for the praise of man, and not God, lack of discipline, and an inability to control her anger.
Expert Overview of Proverbs
Biblical Translations of Proverbs 14:1
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.