Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Jazz and That Woman in Proverbs 31

As we sat listening to yet another skinny chinese girl with rebonded hair, a singlet and jeans and limbs like sticks looking particularly unhappy singing jazz, we wondered: What's a good jazz voice?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we are told. And I'm personally fond of jazz voices that can be described with cheesily as:
black-velvet, rich vintage port, individual, smoky and unique, husky with life experience, mysterious, private yet honest, confidently inventive, stately sirloin with oak-aged burgundy, creative, talent tinged with sadness, sultry presence, soaring and energetic, beautiful real pain, heart-melting, mesmerizing, smoothly-drawn cigars, mellow layered malt, solid and reliable, creamy and silky smooth, earthy woody tangy spicy
SL informed me that my idea of a beautiful jazz voice isn't particularly shared by most people in Singapore.

The idea of beauty seems more consensual at weddings. A beautiful woman and a beautiful wife, many a speechgiver has never failed to point out, exudes the qualities of that woman described by Proverbs 31.

Suffice to say that a good jazz voice isn't part of the package.

In any case, a closer look (now that we're reading great chunks of Proverbs) suggests that that woman in Proverbs 31 isn't not so much a checklist of good/beautiful wifely qualities as the very picture of the wise person that has been described in the rest of Proverbs. Here is a visual display of someone who has attained all the goals of wisdom set out in Proverbs 1:2-6 and so, the purpose of the authors in writing Proverbs. In her, all the major attributes of wisdom come together in one person, illustrating what it means to be wise and live wisely.

She is utterly trustworthy (v11) and an eager worker (vv13-14). She is generous and compassionate (v20) and a master of her tongue (v26). She lives for others, and as she does so, she herself is blessed (vv28-31).

If we are not to be the fool who will end his sorry days in terrible disaster, we are to be like the wise wife of Proverbs 31, whatever our gender.

And what's her secret?

It's that which the author(s) of Proverbs have already whispered loudly in our ears: she is a woman who fears the LORD (v30).

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