Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Ancient Household

We tend to imagine ancient women confined to their looms and their kitchens, and these tasks of course occupied a large part of their time, but they also did many other forms of work. 

You can get an idea of these tasks by reading Proverbs 31:10-31,  a poem describing the ‘Woman of Worth’. Proverbs 31 lists all the attributes of an ideal woman, listing her goals and tasks. These included:

finding a respected, learned and well-to-do man to be her husband
spinning and weaving cloth, to make the family's clothing and in the earlier period the tents they lived in
making and selling finished items of clothing  
designing and making suitable clothing for all members of the household, for both winter and summer
dressing herself well and attractively
keeping herself physically and mentally strong and fit
giving religious instruction to her children: she was their first teacher
gathering food and assembling a varied and healthy diet for the members of the household
administering the finances of the family and overseeing the family business, with all the necessary skills
buying investment property wisely
supervising investments and making a profit from them, then re-investing the profits
performing charitable work and caring for the poor
organizing and supervising the tasks of all the servants in the household
overseeing the emotional and physical well-being of all the members of the household
being available at all times to anyone who needed her.


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