23 Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain
is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.
24 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
This kind of unexpected rain is no pleasant surprise, as it catches the people unprepared. There is no putting the raindrops back into the clouds, no undoing the damage done by flash floods. One caught in such a storm resolves never to be caught again. So also with the sly tongue which catches a person off guard – as evidenced by their horrified look. The damage is neither undone nor forgotten, and that person is not likely to be surprised that way again.
“Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” What good is the shelter of a house if it does not protect you from the storms of criticism? A man would rather be exposed to wind and rain, which only threaten his body, than to nagging and emasculation which threaten his heart. Though the wife may hope to motivate him with her complaints, they only discourage him. The wise woman turns her complaints upside down, instead of “you always” and “you never,” she leads with “I’m grateful for” and “I would like.”