Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.
Can you restrain the wind? No! Can you hide the smell of cologne – once it is out? No! All those present know if the wind is blowing or whether you are wearing cologne or not. You cannot hide either of them. And if a man marries an odious woman, neither can he hide her obnoxious ways. Those around him know he has a difficult and painful marriage.
There is a woman in this proverb, indicated by the feminine pronoun “her.” You do not want to meet her – and you surely do not want to marry her! She is the contentious woman from the previous verse that cruelly drives her husband crazy (Pr 27:15). The poor man cannot restrain or disguise her any more than he can hide the wind or the strong scent of his cologne. Everyone knows he is condemned for life with an odious woman.
The Creator God inspired Solomon to write this proverb. He made the woman for the man, and He knew her better than all psychologists and therapists combined (I Cor 11:9; I Tim 2:13-14; II Tim 3:6-7; I Pet 3:7). Since Solomon wrote for the benefit of his son (Pr 27:11), he warned often of the seductive threat of the strange woman and of the marital threat of the odious woman. Both women are worse than death (Pr 30:21-23; Eccl 7:26).
The Bible is a library of divine wisdom. It deals openly with subjects often not discussed due to foolish ideas of etiquette. But God loves His children and tells the truth plainly to save them from pain and trouble. When men talk among themselves, they also tell the truth – they laugh and groan about irritating and nagging wives. Of course, her husband cannot tell her, for she would set him straight and send him to the couch for the night!
What is a contentious woman? She is a talkative woman that must express her opinions, correct details in conversation, question most everything, and make constant suggestions no one asked for. She is an irritating, quarrelsome, and obnoxious person. She cannot think, speak, or act graciously, because she cannot identify or appreciate the virtue; she has an arrogant, haughty, incorrigible spirit that argues, criticizes, and questions.
Few odious women think they are odious. Of course not! That is why they are odious! They cannot recognize that the conduct they think is fine and helpful is actually what irritates and angers those around them. If you suggest she talks too much, she will defend herself by saying her opinions are helpful and useful – how can she be wrong to offer them? When hearing the Bible preached plainly, she assumes it must be for someone else.
How does this woman give herself away? Her husband is beat. He is neutered, for this wretch stole his confidence, strength, and vitality. She talks too much, so you only need listen for the woman with her mouth flapping. If she is not a yacker, look for the sour face that rarely smiles and never warmly. She has no real friends, for no one desires her painful presence. Her social interaction is mainly the evil habit of being a busybody.
No man wants others to know he lives in a marital hell, so he tries to hide the odious and repulsive character of his wife. This is what Solomon said was as difficult as holding the wind or the scent of cologne in your hand. Both will get away from you! Both will be discovered by those around you! It is impossible to disguise or hide the hairy, grunting, and stinking sow when trying to display the gold ring in her nose (Pr 11:22)!
Men use various techniques to hide their disgraceful wives. One man tries to hide his contentious wife by avoiding public excursions with her. He works late, finds hobbies, or just refuses to go out. Another may foolishly try to deceive his friends by complimenting her to them (though they all know better). One man will weakly submit to her overbearing demands and questions to avoid a public squabble. And another will pamper her greedy soul with anything in sight to buy a little peace and tranquility for himself.
Such women do not deserve husbands, and no man deserves such a wife. Since this despised wretch can disguise herself during dating, every man must learn how to spot the telltale marks that reveal her cruel character (Pr 30:21-23). They are simple. She talks too much, has a proud spirit, is forward to speak, has opinions on everything, disagrees in public, gets visibly agitated, complains about circumstances, and questions everything.
Another way to avoid an odious woman is to learn graciousness and virtue and reject all women lacking them, for a great wife has both (Pr 31:10-31). The best way to spot a counterfeit is to know the genuine thing perfectly. The best way to smell an odious woman is to know the sweet nature of a gracious woman. Still afraid? A gracious woman is always adored by all (Pr 11:16). The odious woman only thinks she is respected.
Some men are male versions of the same thing. They talk too much, complain about everything, argue and debate no matter what is said, question accepted opinions and decisions, and so forth. These men should be avoided in all social unions as much as the odious woman should be avoided in marriage. Contentious persons that cause division and strife should be rejected, for they are destructive of peace and pleasure (Pr 22:10).
There are several lessons. First, every man must test a potential wife and believe the opinions of married men about her. Second, every young woman should emphasize graciousness and virtue above other objectives in her life. Third, every man married to a contentious woman needs to find an attic room or wilderness retreat (Pr 21:9,19; 25:24).
Fourth, every woman tending toward the odious character described here should repent before God, her husband, and her children and seek to live graciously. Fifth, you should warn any young man you know about to marry an odious woman. Sixth, every man married to a gracious and loving woman should thank God and take her out tonight!
The Bible helps men by warning them about odious women, but it also teaches women how to be gracious and virtuous, if they will learn the lesson and apply it (Pr 31:10-16; I Tim 2:9-10; 5:13-14; Titus 2:3-5; I Pet 3:1-6). However, most pulpits today are too fearful to tell the truth about females in attendance, so practical and useful subjects like this are seldom or never dealt with. They do not want to offend their odious attendees.
True churches are the bride and wife of Christ in the Bible, for God arranged for His son to marry them, and they will live forever in intimate bliss with Him in heaven. Does this glorious Husband openly delight in you? Or is He ashamed of your offensive ways? He threatened to spew the church of Laodicea out of His mouth (Rev 3:14-19). He threatened to leave the church at Ephesus (Rev 2:4-5). Is He totally happy with your public conduct?