|Photo by Peter van der Slujs 2012|
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Who Is the Proverbs 31 Woman?
Whom do you picture when you think of the ideal woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31? Feminists might think that a Biblical model would portray a self-effacing, mousy, stay-at-home woman who is a doormat to her husband, but nothing could be further from the truth. May this passage teach us more about the person that God would have women to be as a blessing and strong support to their husband, children, and all in their household, community, and sphere of influence.
The book of Proverbs contains practical wisdom to help us in our relationships with one another, and conveniently contains 31 chapters – one for each day of the month! Reading one chapter of Proverbs each day would help us beyond measure in how we treat people and are treated in response. The author of Proverbs is Solomon, who prayed to God for wisdom and was rewarded with all blessings, in addition to being the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:7-14; 4:29-34). In Proverbs 31:10-31, Solomon describes to his son the type of woman he prays he will someday marry.
In Hebrew, the verses of this passage describing the ideal wife begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order. This Divinely-inspired organization may reflect the woman described here – her life and her priorities are ordered around her relationship to God. She is virtuous (v. 10), or morally strong and courageous. She possesses Godly wisdom, or fear of the Lord (v. 30; Proverbs 1:7;;9:10) which is priceless (Proverbs 19:14, 3: 13-18).
Under Divine inspiration, Solomon describes the virtuous woman as being more precious than rubies (v. 10). These gems are prized even more than diamonds because the internal qualities of the stone shine out, whereas diamonds reflect whatever is around them. Similarly, the light of the Holy Spirit indwelling the virtuous woman shines forth, making her a new creation (John 3:5-8; 2 Cor. 5:17). In contrast, the unsaved woman conforms to the world and is molded by its ungodly values and character (Romans 12:2).
A good example of the virtuous Proverbs 31 woman is Ruth (3:11), who put her faith in the true God and her loyalty to her mother-in-law above the false gods her people worshipped. God rewarded Ruth’s faith and virtue by leading her not only to the perfect husband for her, but also by allowing her to become part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ! (Ruth 4:13-22)
The Proverbs 31 woman is faithful (v. 11), hard-working (v. 13-16, v. 27), morally and physically strong (v. 17). She “girds her loins” with the strength and truth of God’s Word, as part of the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-18), obtaining spiritual wisdom and meditating on God’s Word to protect her virtue and to keep her chaste and righteous.
She is loyal and faithful not only with her love, but with all her resources, and she does not spend foolishly. She is a shrewd and capable business woman who provides for her household in all seasons, working joyfully (v. 13). She spins, plants, invests, shops, makes clothes and sells them (v. 13-19)
But faithfulness, loyalty and honor in a woman mean far more to her family than any financial gain – these character traits are priceless. We can be an example to our children of faithfulness to our spouse and of considering his best interests. He won’t need to look elsewhere for companionship, nor will he have to wage war to get profit or gain, if he knows his wife is trustworthy in her love and faithfulness to him.
Next time, we’ll discuss other qualities of the Proverbs 31 woman: her generosity (v. 20), kindness (v. 26), realistic self-appraisal (v. 18), provision for her family (v. 21, 24), and praiseworthiness (v.10, 28, 29). Most important, she fears the Lord! (v. 30).
© 2013 Laurie Collett
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.