The book of Proverbs properly begins with Proverbs 10:1, “The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” What came before in the first nine chapters, is actually a kind of preface or introduction to the work. Solomon exhorts his readers to the study of wisdom. He points out the dangers to those who neglect it.  He cautions against debauchery and immorality. After this he comes to those moral proverbs which were in his principal design. There is a great variety in these proverbs; mostly composed of one sentence each. They are generally given by way of contrast…comparing opposites one with another. There is no great connection in the varying proverbs with almost every verse being a lesson by itself.

Proverbs 21:9 says, “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”  The flat roof of an Eastern house was often used for relaxation by day, or in the summer for sleep by night. The corner of the housetop was exposed to all changes of weather, and the point of the proverb lies in the thought that all winds and storms which a man might meet with there are more endurable than the tempest within the house.

We get a hint as to the use of the housetop in the story of David and Bathsheba.  We read in 2 Samuel 11:2, “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.”  So, David upon his housetop saw Bathsheba as she bathed down below. 

The ’large house’ of our proverb refers to literally a, “house of fellowship,” large enough for several families.  In the case of a brawling, or contentious, woman in a house of several families, a man would rather weather the storms and beating sun than to stay in the presence of one who loves to argue. 

By this parable, let us not think that only women can be contentious.  We ALL can fall prey to the spirit of contention.  We learn in Proverbs 13:10, “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”  Pride, the very thing that led to the downfall of Lucifer and of man, causes us to want to have our own way.  It causes us to believe we are always right.  It causes us to believe that we are better than others.  It causes us to be contentious…and that only produces strife and division.  Proverbs 28:25 tells us, “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.” 

In marriage, in our church life, in our business life, in our life with our friends, may we heed the word of James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”  (424.4)