In part one of my look into Proverbs 31 we covered the context that this chapter was written in. While the author is somewhat unclear, we know that the chapter is the advice of a mother to a king.
The first 9 verses of the chapter address the behavior of the king, and male lead in the relationship. But verses 10-31 are the ones most of us are familiar with, and describe the “Proverbs 31 Woman.” There has been speculation that these verses weren’t written about one particular woman, but rather a composite of traits. Some people believe it isn’t about a woman at all, but rathe an allegory for wisdom, as it is referred to as a female in the rest of the chapter. I am no theologian, so I can’t really speculate, but whatever the true identity of the Proverbs 31 woman, she definitely sounds like someone I would look up to.
Whether you are married or single, royalty or regular folk like the rest of us, there is still a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from these verses.
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12
This passage convicts me. What are your character traits? A noble character is distinguishes, suggest excellence, impressive, high-quality. Is that what makes up the core of your being? If I had to describe my own character in one word, noble would not be it. Possibly passionate, practical, strong-willed. Not necessarily bad things, but not necessarily what I want to be known for either.
The phrase “she brings him good, not harm” stands out to me. Now I certainly bring my husband a lot of good, but when I stop and think about it, I bring him a lot of bad too. And I think this behavior speaks to more than just how we treat our husbands. It isn’t just about him, its about our character and legacy. I am going to try to remember this verse the next time I am tempted to snap, or nag, or make him sleep on the couch because he is snoring.
Verses 14-19 talk about the wife’s businesses. Not only was she a working mom, she was an entrepreneur. A woman after my own heart! Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, work full time outside the home, there are a few key points to the part of the chapter.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar. Proverbs 31:14
Clearly this momma was taking the mini-van to Costco and loading up.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants. Proverbs 31:15
Hold the phone, she had servants? No wonder she got so much done! But she did pack them all lunches, at least.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. Proverbs 31:16
What strikes me about this verse is that she didn’t take her husband to look at the field. She was a shrewd business woman who knew a good deal when she saw one, and turned it into another side-hustle.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks. Proverbs 31:17
Apparently she hit the gym as well.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers. Proverbs 31:19
And she was crafty. Now, I can crochet a pretty mean dishrag, but I do NOT spin my own yarn. I have to draw the line somewhere.
The Proverbs 31 woman was a renaissance woman. She was smart, skilled, and a hard worker. She didn’t NEED to rely on a man to take care of her; instead she used her skills to better the life of her husband and family. This is someone that I could look up to, and a strong woman I would love for my daughter to emulate.
In the next part of this series we will take a look at verses 20-24, and then in the closing post we will wrap up with verses 20-31.
Do you find the Proverbs 31 woman to be an inspiration, or an impossible standard to live up to? I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments!