“….The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, “Who can bring me down to the ground?” …” – ESV / Commentary
Tag Archives: Wisdom
To a truely virtuous woman of God – Thank You for sharing your testimony for all to see and enjoy – you are inspirational, beautiful, and wonderfully made!
Proverbs 31, ESV and KJV, The Wife of Noble Character. What women can learn, and apply to their lives, by following in the foot steps of this marvelous and noble woman of God. A fun fact about Proverbs 31:10-31 is that it’s an acrostic poem, meaning that each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
V.27 – ‘She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.‘ Four words that you need to know the definition of before we begin on the important subject in this verse. (1) Ways ‘haliykah ‘ meaning going, doing, travelling company, way. (2) Household ‘bayith ‘ meaning home, house as containing a family, those belonging to the same household, or household affairs. (3) Bread ‘lechem‘ meaning bread, food, grain, or food in general. (4)Idleness ‘`atsluwth‘ meaning sluggishness or laziness. A watchman looks for enemies and for anything that may endanger the city. So does the godly woman; who is alertly watching over the ways of her household. Looking at their doings, their traveling, the company they keep, their going about, and most importantly their “ways“. Psalm 1:6 says ‘For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish….‘ referencing to the “way” people chose to live out their lives and the life journey and path that they are upon. Proverbs 2:20 reiterates the following wisdom, “So you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness….” Later in the New Testament the following in Matthew 7, “..Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it….” then later we read in John 14 that Jesus says, ‘..I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me…‘ So this woman’s other job is to be the watchman of her household and to keep her household and kin on the righteous way and path of Life, she watches out for; evil companions, vile entertainment, dangers from the internet, etc… As a spy seeks to gather information about the enemy, so the godly woman seeks to find out what is going on with her children, husband, and household (anyone living underneath the roof of your humble abode), in order to keep it uncontentious and away from unrighteous behavior. Some parents do not keep any watch in this manner whatsoever. They don’t know what their children (or spouses) do, where they go, what they watch on television, or what music they listen to. Parents need to be more involved, interactive, and aware of what is really taking place in their homes. Reason being is so you can best help your children by; disciplining them, restricting them as needed, then channeling them into a more wholesome and profitable way of living. Mind you, don’t be overbearing and overly cautious either, children pick up on that, but as parents it’s our job to make sure our children understand the differences between the World view and the Lord view. Parents should be looking well to their OWN moral habits as well as their children’s. Hold each other accountable as responsible adults and leaders of the home. Secondly idleness is not on her diet. This woman of noble character avoids the carbohydrates and saturated fats of idleness by not indulging herself in slothful unprofitable activities. Anyone who reads the description of the godly woman in Proverbs 31 knows very well that she is anything but lazy and unproductive. She is actually the contrary; making one wonder how she has enough hours in the day to do all that she does. Her hours are characterized by diligent industry and laborious involvement in wholesome activities; (part 1/4) She seeks wool and flax, willingly works with her hands, She brings her food from afar, provides food for her household, She considers a field and buys it, her profits she plants a vineyard, (part 2/4) her lamp does not go out by night, She stretches out her hands to the distaff, extends her hand to the poor, she reaches out her hands to the needy, (part 3/4) all her household is clothed with scarlet, She makes tapestry for herself, She makes linen garments and sells them, supplies sashes for the merchants, She opens her mouth with wisdom, etc…We need to start being the opposite of our current selves and start taking action of how we live out our lives and our days. Like i have said in an earlier post; we have 24 hours, 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds in ONE DAY….. how are you spending yours?
V.28 – ‘Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her‘ So not many people know there thee is a difference between praising and blessing someone, so one again let me break down the words and their usage. The word for blessed is ‘‘ashar’ which means to be made happy, or be blessed OR to go straight, walk, go on, advance, or make progress. Then the word for praise is ‘halal ‘ meaning to shine, be boastful, be commended, or figuratively speaking to shine of God’s favor. So this wonderful woman is praised and blessed by those who love her the most because they see that she has invested every inch and minute of her day to be profitable to her children, husband, and household. They recognize and show respectful reverence for her due diligence and industrious profits (physically and spiritually) by bestowing blessings and praises upon her. Godliness and happiness meld together, the godly woman is the happy woman. The virtuous woman seeks first the kingdom of God, and all these things (including happiness) are added unto her (Matthew 6:33). Happiness is a byproduct of honoring the Lord and putting Him first. It is not an end in itself, and those who seek happiness and who make that their goal, never find it. Those who seek the Lord find in Him their true happiness, for He satisfies the heart that is devoted to Him. Her children call her blessed; they see that she is happy, but they also see that she walks a straight path (meaning a righteous path) and she makes progress by doing so, and that it’s only by her seeking the Lord that she has been able to produce this ‘good fruit’. Caught and Taught is a term used for how children learn to become who they are and the differences between right and wrong, they ‘caught’ with their eyes this godly mother’s actions, then they are ‘taught’ the ways of righteousness when ‘…She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness….‘ (verse 26). Now her Husband also praises her; he sees the godly glow about her that shines, as said in Matthew 5:16 ‘..Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven…‘. By this her husband, who is respected at the city gates (he’s probably a judge of some sort), is able to boast about this and commend her for being the godly, noble, and virtuous woman/wife that she is to him and their family Certainly God’s favor upon them has shined through her and produced the ‘good fruit’ in which the Lord has provided on behalf of her righteousness.
V.29 – ‘Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.‘ This verse is different from all the others in this section. All of the other verses speak about the virtuous woman in the third person. Yet this verse speaks of the virtuous woman in the the second person pronoun is used for the first time, ‘..But you excel them all..‘, it is more personal, familiar, and intimate. So it is apparent that her husband is speaking these words of commendation. This is something that a husband would say to his godly wife to show her praise and appreciation for all her diligent works and industry which had produced blessings from above. The strange thing is that her husband references her as a ‘daughter’ in this verse. The word for daughter is ‘bath‘ meaning daughter, girl, adopted daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, granddaughters, female child, or cousin OR it could be a polite address (as we now say; mam’, miss, misses, etc). This husband knew his wife was not the only godly, virtuous woman on the planet. He knew that there were other God-fearing women of moral strength and of virtuous character, but such women were rare (seen in verse 10) but not extinct. The KJV translates this verse as this, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all….” the word virtuously is the same found in verse 10 of Proverbs 31, meaning power, strength, vigor, wealth, and ability. Here as her husband praises his noble wife he is commending her strength of character, her industrious abilities, and her wealth of spirit. Oh how we should thank God for all women who live upright lives in Christ Jesus, who reflect the Person of their Savior in their walk and talk. So may the beauty of the LORD our God be upon them all, Amen! The husband in the last part of the verse then directs his attention and praise to his wife by stating, “..But you excel them all..” No need for much translation on this last half for it is obvious he is saying that she Surpasses all others. You are excellent and incomparable. There is no other woman in the whole world that is better than you. God gave me the best gift this side of heaven. When a man has found a priceless gem, he considers his treasure better than all others. To him, she is the most precious wife anyone could ever have. He lavishes praise upon her, and she does not mind his exaggerations.
V.30 –‘Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.’ Here are some other translations to help make this explanation go smoother… (1) NKJV – ‘…Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised…‘ (2) Amplified ‘…Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised…‘ (3) Young’s Literal Translation – ‘…The grace [is] false, and the beauty [is] vain, A woman fearing Jehovah, she may boast herself…‘ The word here for Favor or Charm is ‘chen ‘ meaning grace, pleasant, precious, or elegance. Here in this scripture verse it is referring to the gracefulness and elegance of a woman, i.e. her outward beauty. This verse says that charm is deceitful, meaning that it’s a lie, a falsehood, a vain thing, or it’s lying words. See references for Exodus 5:9 ‘…Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words….” and Proverbs 25:14 ‘…Whoever falsely boasts of giving Is like clouds and wind without rain…‘ This first half is coupled with the actual word beauty, or ‘yophiy‘ meaning splendor, brightness, or gracefulness. This verse says that the splendor and brightness of a woman’s face and her skin and her outward look fades away, becoming useless, compare Ecclesiastes 11:10 ‘ …Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity…‘ and Job 7:16 ‘…I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, For my days are but a breath…‘External beauty includes your appearance and your speech. What you say is different from what you do behind closed doors, and the clothes you wear and the make-up you put on is different from what you look like when you first wake up in the morning with a bad hair day. The point in this first part is that external beauty is deceitful which in the end fades away, vanishing like a breath, not profiting anyone – including yourself. There is great emphasis in our day on external beauty. Makeup is used in such abundance that Jezebel would feel right at home in our society. All kinds of supplements and health products are offered to try to help people look young, attractive, and slow down nature’s natural deterioration. Surgical procedures are offered which can change and improve a person’s outward appearance. Diet programs, exercises, and pills garner millions of dollars from people who want to look beautiful and feel good about themselves. Television shows are devoted to showing how a plain or unattractive person can be transformed into an outwardly attractive sex symbol by means of makeup, hair styling, weight loss, surgery, etc. There is no end to the attempts of mankind to beautify the body and to try to preserve the external. For the full second half, it reads, ‘…But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised…’ Inner beauty comes from a right relationship with the Lord. True beauty is impossible apart from the fear of the Lord. When the Lord is written upon our hearts and spoken from our lips, His glory will shine light within and outwardly upon the world around us. Fear can be a bad thing, but can also be a good and healthy response. If I meet a bear in the woods, I should have a healthy respect for the animal, knowing something of its power and potential ferocity. This is a healthy fear that could save my life. If we are afraid of going outside, of talking to people, or etc… that is an unhealthy retrospect of fear that will later on withhold us and take us captive. We are to fear and respect God in the right way, knowing that He is a loving, caring Heavenly Father, who bids us to cast all of our care upon Him, and come boldly to His throne of grace to obtain mercy, to find grace which helps in time of need. Fallen Adam feared God in the wrong way and hid from Him in Genesis 3:10. The right kind of fear of God causes us to draw near and close to Him, strengthening our faith and causing us to endure and prosper. The one who fears God believes that God is great, being deserving of the utmost respect and reverence of His glorious majesty. This virtuous woman is afraid to do anything that would displease such an awe-some God, thet genuinely loves us with no conditions other then to love. Abraham feared God, that is, he believed that God was so great that to disobey Him was unthinkable! Real beauty in the sight of God is not the product of cosmetics, but the outshining of the indwelling Christ. A lady was once asked the secret of her beautiful complexion. She said, “I use truth for my lips; for my voice, prayer; for my eyes, pity; for my hands, charity; for my figure, uprightness; and for my heart, LOVE.” These heavenly cosmetics are worthy of trial and are supplied free to every applicant at the Throne of Grace.
V.31 – ‘Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.‘ A godly and virtuous woman will be rewarded. What she gives out she will get back. It is the boomerang effect; she hurls out many a good deeds, and they are all going to come back to her. In devotion to her God, and in love for her household, she is willing to expend herself. As she steadfastly labors and abounds in the work of the Lord, she knows that her labor will not be in vain 1 Corinthians 15:58, ‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord…’. God is very generous with His rewards and blessings of those who diligently seek Him Hebrews 11:6, ‘…But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him‘ and Ephesians 6:8, ‘…knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free…‘. The Lord who knows all our works will faithfully reward all that is done in His Name and for His glory. It pays to live in a right manner, and it pays to fear the Lord. The “fruit of her hands” indicates the result of her labor. In this passage we have seen that her hands have been very busy for good (seen in verses 16, 19, 20). What is the significance of the phrase “in the gates“? In ancient cities, the space inside the gate was a public meeting place, where all manner of business was conducted (like our city hall). As we saw her husband works in the gates – and we see here that her own works, and her own deeds, will praise her in the gates. That is, she will be publicly recognized for her good works and accomplishments. The idea of the verse is simply this; Give her the praises which she so richly merits. “Say to the righteous, that it shall be well with them; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings” (Isaiah 3:10). Today may Christian women adorn the doctrine of God our Savior by their good works – compare Titus 2:10, for God’s people should be “zealous of good works [fervently seeking to please God in all we do]” Titus 2:14, and ‘May our light shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven‘ Matthew 5:16.
This concludes the section on how to be a Proverbs 31 woman. BUT you might want to stick around, guys, because we will be continuing the study with a look into how to be a Proverbs 31 man. Thanks and God Bless, see you next post!
Proverbs 31, ESV and KJV, The Wife of Noble Character. What women can learn, and apply to their lives, by following in the foot steps of this marvelous and noble woman of God. A fun fact about Proverbs 31:10-31 is that it’s an acrostic poem, meaning that each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
V.21 – ‘She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.’ Snow in Palestine occasionally occurs, but when it does snow, it rarely reaches any great depth. The Bible mentions snow a number of times, but only records one instance where snow fell; ‘Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day.‘ (2 Samuel 23:20, 1 Chronicles 11:22). This virtuous woman is not in fear of her household becoming cold when it snows because she has already made the preparations to keep her household warm by producing garments in which they can wear. Overall this woman was prepared and blessed. She used her time wisely and did not waste it in idleness or on vain aspirations. With diligence and industry she was able to produce great profit which in turn provided her with more to money to work with – in which she probably bought more wool and flax to make garments for her household (including servants). On a side note the color of scarlet came from the insect ‘coccus ilicis’, and the dried body of the female yielding coloring matter from which the dye is made and used for cloth to color it scarlet/crimson. The cotton or wool cloth was dipped in this color twice; and the word used to express it means also double-dyed. It is the ‘worm of coccus’ which is used in Psalm 22:6 in which God the Son is likened, or referenced, as a worm who was bruised and slain so that all His redeemed might be clothed in the splendor of eternity provided by His crimson blood. ‘But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.‘ Yet in Isaiah 1:18 you see the prophetic reference to Christs coming to redeem our sin as well as both scarlet and snow used in the same scripture, ‘Come now, and let us reason together, Says the Lord, Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.‘ Let’s divvy up the scripture verse. As we have explained scarlet is a color that was used to dye and color the wool in which people wore. Scarlet was a permanent color, and dipping it twice insured that. We speak of crimes and sins as being black, or deep-dyed; and of the soul as being stained by those sins. Neither dew, nor rain, nor washing, nor long usage, would remove the scarlet coloring in which the wool was dyed. Hence, it is used to represent the fixed-ness and permanency of sins in our heart. White is an emblem of innocence, if snow gets dirty it is no longer pure; instead it’s dirty, unclean, and stained. The ultimate meaning is that, the deep, fixed stain, which no human power could remove, shall be taken away. In other words, sin shall be pardoned, and the soul will be made pure. The second half is poetic in the Hebrew sense but just reiterates on the first half of the verse. It says that our sins may be crimson but they should be made like wool; the wool before it was double stained, giving us a clean canvas with God so to speak. We care clothed and made pure by the love, grace, and mercy proved by Christ’s blood shed on the cross. Our sin stained Him, and he washed it away, making us unspotted and blameless in the sight of God. One lesson here is that believers and children of godly parents do not need to be dressed in dull clothing, for drabness and dullness of apparel do not add to one’s spirituality. This is because God ultimately looks at your heart not what color clothes you wear or how good you look to other people. We must remember that we are bond-servants of Christ and we are to be advancing the gospel not diverting it. People wear lavish clothes and jewelry and take the focus of others off of God and onto themselves. Be warned though for you are stealing glory from God and idolizing yourself rather than Him. A virtuous woman would not do this but instead be modest about her apparel and not outlandish. This does not mean you can’t wear jewelry or colorful clothes, but it means to make sure that what you are wearing will not distract you or others from the main focus…. God!
V.22 – ‘She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.‘ Okay I’m going to give you 3-4 translations of this verse (the main one is NKJV); (1) NASB – ‘She makes coverings for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.‘ (2) ASV – ‘She maketh for herself carpets of tapestry; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.‘ (3) Message – ‘She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.‘ (4) NLT – ‘She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.‘ – So as you see here we have 4 (technically 5) translations of this verse which will better help me explain the meaning and lesson we get from it. This first, and only other, place the word tapestry is seen is in Proverbs 7:16. The word for ‘tapestry’ is ‘marbad ‘ meaning; spread, coverlet (first seen in Proverbs 7:16 ‘I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.‘) The virtuous woman took the time to make the tapestry, or bead covering, or carpet, whichever one it was she took the time to make it. This means that she made her bedroom a comfortable and adorning place to be in. Out of assumption we can say that she also she took the time to make similar decorations for the rest of her house feel like a HOME as well; and yes there is a difference my friends. Her clothes are of silk and or fine linen, the Hebrew word is ‘shesh ‘ which means something bleached white, byssus, linen, or fine linen (first seen in Genesis 41:42 ‘And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;‘). As you can see from the last scripture verses for the word tapestry, and from the scripture verse for ‘Silk’ or ‘Fine Linen’, that the materials for these products came mainly from Egypt and were ‘Fine’ meaning expensive in those days and obviously worn by people of high stature. So we can guess that this virtuous woman was not only profitable and well off financially, but she must have been a part of a family (possibly the husband?) of prestigious rank in their day. In those days you were actually able to tell a persons status in society by what they wore, but today anyone can buy a 5 piece suit and call themselves a millionaire, or dress like a street walker and call themselves homeless and abandoned. We look at the last half and see that this fine linen or silk had been made of purple dye. The word for ‘purple’ is ‘‘argaman ‘ meaning exactly what it is purple, but sometime a red-purple; this is obtained by a species of shell-fish (most likely muscles) from the Mediterranean shore areas; or as read in Numbers 4:13 it is a blue-purple coloring. The shell was broken in order to give access to a small gland which was removed and crushed. The crushed gland gives a milky fluid that becomes red or purple on exposure to the air. (this word is also seen in Exodus 39:1 ‘And of the blue, and purple, and scarlet, they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, and made the holy garments for Aaron; as the Lord commanded Moses.’) Purple was prized by the ancients and exported far and wide. Great labor was required to extract the purple dye, and thus only royalty and the wealthy could afford richly colored garments. A total of 250,000 mollusks were required to make one ounce of the dye, which helps us to understand how valuable this dye was. Purple cloth was used in the furnishings of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:4), in Solomon’s temple (2 Chronicles 2:14 and 3:14), and it was a royal garment worn by kings (Judges 8:26). Purple was a symbol of luxury and wealth, worn by the rich man of Luke 16:19, and by the luxurious harlot woman of Revelation 18:16. In Mark 15:17,20 our Savior was mockingly dressed in purple when a kingly robe was put around Him. Lydia was a seller of purple (Acts 16:14). So what is the meaning of this proverbial verse? We know now that this virtuous woman did not dress shabby clothes and was quite possibly part of a family (her own) that was of high status and prestige. We know that she was industrious and she was able to purchase the finest materials and with her own hands made the finest of garments. Though she did not consider it a mark of spirituality to go around looking impoverished, dilapidated, and threadbare. Rather, as was often true under the former dispensation, material prosperity was a sign of God’s blessing, and was not to be despised. She wore expensive, royal clothing to match her regal and godly character, representing that she was the daughter of the most high God, the King of Kinks and Lord of Lords. Her outward garments of beauty and splendor matched her inner beauty. However she was not vain, haughty, or unpleasant; for she well understood that external beauty fades. She understood that the most important clothing was the adorning of the inner man: ‘strength and honor are her clothing‘. The temple in the Old Testament was quite elaborate and beautifully adorned, and this adornment included fine linen and purple. As believers, our bodies are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Should not our “temple” express something of the Lord? “‘But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price‘ (1 Peter 3:4). ‘That they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior, in all things‘ (Titus 2:10). Dressing well, both inwardly and outwardly, is a virtue, not a vice. The godly woman of Proverbs 31 was dressed in costly array. In 1 Timothy 2:9 Christian woman are instructed not to adorn themselves in costly array. How do we explain this apparent contradiction? Is it wrong for a believing woman today to go out and buy an expensive dress? Should she instead only shop at thrift stores where she can spend a minimal amount on necessary attire? In the Old Testament, great wealth and godliness were not incompatible. Abraham had tremendous wealth, as did David and Solomon, and they were not condemned for possessing riches. They were condemned for setting their heart on their riches (Psalm 62:10). Wealthy believers in the New Testament era, though not extinct, are harder to find. It is not easy to amass wealth while being persecuted by a Christ-hating world. Those who are rich are not condemned for their riches, but are told not to trust in them (1 Timothy 6:17) and to be generous in the distribution of their wealth (1 Timothy 6:18). Which many of these attributes and acts we see this proverbs 31 woman performing throughout the poem.
V.23 – ‘Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.‘ It is remarkable that in a passage devoted to a godly and virtuous woman we find this verse which says nothing about the woman, but only describes her husband as a prominent leader of the land. It was at the city’s gates that public business was transacted and cases were decided (the “gates” served as the city’s courtroom). This further proves that they were a family of prestige and also of status! So what then do we learn about the virtuous woman from this verse? A well-known proverb says, “Behind every good man is a good woman.” A godly wife contributes greatly to the success and prosperity of her husband. “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness to his bones” (Proverbs 12:4). Where would the man mentioned here in Proverbs 31:23 be without his godly, industrious, loving, and faithful wife? The value of a godly wife is illustrated from the life of Daniel Webster. By age 31 he had become known as one of America’s most effective speakers. One of Webster’s earlier biographers, Norman Hapgood, assigns much of the great orator’s success to the quality of his marriage to a woman, Grace Fletcher, whom he married at the age of 26. Of her the writer says: ‘She had the goal of keeping alert to those high principles which her husband held. Her upright New England faith and sweet loyalty must have been one of the strongest barriers resisting the temptations which lay before the impressionable statesman‘ (Norman Hapgood, Daniel Webster, Boston; Small Maynard & C o, 1899, page 64). When Grace Fletcher Webster died, Daniel remarried a year later. The biographer said of Carolyn Roy, his second wife: ‘She brought him money and social position and nothing else that could be traced in his life‘. Two years into that second marriage it was said of Webster: ‘He steadily declined from a height at which his altering nature could no longer sustain itself. Daniel Webster began overeating and drinking. His spending habits soared out of control, and his moral life disintegrated. By the end of his political life, the man once known for his great integrity had become typed as a political compromiser. Tragedy mounted upon tragedy, and when he died, he was a beaten and bitter man.‘ A wife can be a tremendous influence for good or for ill; nevertheless the husband is responsible before God to live rightly regardless of the spiritual and moral state of his spouse. If a man fails spiritually, it is first and foremost his fault. He must not blame anyone but himself. His wife may be a negative influence, but he is responsible to follow God, not her. Think of the example of Job. His wife said, “Curse God and die!” but in spite of her negative influence, Job remained faithful to the Lord. “Behind every good man is a good woman” is not always true. But this statement you can take to the bank when i say, “Behind every good man is a great God!”
V.24 – ‘She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants‘ This capable, industrious woman was very enterprising and she operated an amazing home business. She wove fine linen garments, a process which has already been discussed. Linen garments are mentioned in Judges 14:12-13. Thirty sheets, or thirty linen garments, were to be the payment to Samson if the Philistines could not figure out his riddle. Linen garments are also mentioned as having been worn by the sinful daughters of Zion in Isaiah 3:23. She also manufactured girdles or belts (richly adorned belts?) or sashes (ESV) which had value on the trade market. This word “belt” is used in 2 Samuel 20:8 to describe Joab’s belt which held a sword. The term “girdle” as used in the Bible refers to an article of dress encircling the body, usually at the waist. She may have enlisted some of her children to help her in this business. She delivered these goods to the merchants or traders. These were Phoenician traders, according to the meaning of the Hebrew word. Phoenicians were known for their trade and commerce and their skill as a seafaring people. Phoenicia’s two major ports were Tyre and Sidon. The virtuous woman provided a source of income for her family through her business. “When other women impoverish their husbands by buying, she enriches her husband by selling those valuable commodities for which there is a constant demand” (George Lawson, Commentary on Proverbs). “It is only modern pride and laziness which has introduced the idea that it is inconsistent with the dignity of a fine lady to make profit of her own manufactures. This virtuous woman, although her husband sits among the elders, does not think it a discredit, but an honor to herself, to make fine linen and girdles for sale; and the wise will praise her on account of it” (George Lawson, Commentary on Proverbs).
V.25 – ‘Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.‘ Her wardrobe is remarkable. These items of clothing are not available at any marketplace or shopping mall. The LORD Himself provides these garments to the believing heart that is looking to Him. Such clothes adorn the inner man which is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16). Concerning her garment of strength, see the discussion under Proverbs 31:17. The virtuous woman knew that the LORD was the strength of her life (Psalm 27:1). The word “honor” means splendor, majesty, honor. In Psalm 8:5 it is used of the honor and majesty conferred by the LORD upon Adam and Eve: “and hast crowned him with glory and honor.” In Psalm 21:5 it is used of the God-given majesty David had as king: “honor and majesty hast thou laid upon him.” Of special interest is how this word is used of our wonderful Lord. We learn that honor and majesty are before Him (Psalm 96:6), and that the LORD is clothed with honor and majesty (Psalm 104:1). This was certainly true of our Lord Jesus Christ in His per-incarnate state. We catch a glimpse of Christ in His majesty in Isaiah 6:1-3 (see John 12:41 in context where the glorious King of Isaiah 6 is identified as Christ). This splendid King of the Universe stepped out of His ivory palaces and descended to this world of woe. He laid aside His majestic garments, as it were, and humbled Himself by taking upon Himself our humanity (John 1:14). In Isaiah 53:2 we have a description of God’s suffering Servant, the Messiah Himself: “when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” The word “beauty” is the same word as “honor” (majesty, splendor) which is found in Proverbs 31:25. The Lord laid aside His glorious splendor so that He could die as the perfect Substitute for sinners (Isaiah 53), thus making it possible for the believer to be clothed with garments of majesty and splendor; we who were once dressed only with filthy, bloody rags (Isaiah 64:6, “filthy rags” equals bloody cloths, or menstrual cloths). The word “rejoice” (KJV) is the Hebrew word meaning “laugh.” It is used in Ecclesiastes 3:4, “A time to weep, and a time to laugh.” In Psalm 37:12-13 we learn that “the LORD shall laugh at him (the wicked); for He seeth that his day (of judgment) is coming.” The virtuous woman will laugh at “time to come” (coming time), a clear reference to the days ahead, the future. She will laugh at the future. There is an analogy between this passage and Psalm 2. In Psalm 2 the armies of the world’s nations are gathering together to wage war against the LORD and against His Messiah (the Lord Jesus) at the great final battle of Armageddon. We can imagine the scene. The world’s armies aim their weapons toward God (their missiles, their warplanes, their nuclear weapons, etc...). Mankind against God! Puny man taking on the Omnipotent One; how laughable! It would be like a toy sailboat taking on a massive battleship or an ant trying to do battle against an elephant! “He who sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.” The word “laugh” is the same word found in Proverbs 31:25. The LORD will laugh because He knows that all the armies of the world are not able to hurt Him or defeat Him. Likewise, the godly woman can laugh at the future because she knows that the future cannot hurt her. She has made provision for the future, to the best of her ability (as we studied in Proverbs 31:21), and because of her trust in God, she knows that she can face the future with great confidence and optimism. It is the privilege of every believer in Christ to confidently laugh at the future. We have been guaranteed a bright, eternal future. We have been guaranteed eternal security (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30). We have the sure promise of God that the future (“things to come“) cannot separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). In fact, in 1 Corinthians 3:22 we learn that we possess the future! It is ours! The future belongs to us. God has marked out a glorious future for every child of God, that we should be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This is what predestination is all about. Never does the New Testament teaches that a person is predestined to hell. The term “predestination” is used to teach us that God has marked out a glorious future for every believer. Unsaved people dread the future and they have good cause to do so. They have nothing to look forward to but eternal punishment and an eternity without Christ (Matthew 25:41,46). Their future promises that, unless they repent, they will perish (Luke 13:3,5). Unless they repent they will someday hear these frightening words, “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (lawlessness)” (Matthew 7:23 and compare Matthew 25:41). But the saved person can thankfully laugh at the future, knowing that someday he will hear God’s invitation to enter eternal bliss (see Matthew 25:34). How confident we can be! We do not know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future. We know that everything that happens to us in the future is for God’s glory and for our good (Romans 8:28). We are fully persuaded that the God who began a good work in us will complete that good work in the future (Philippians 1:6).
V.26 – ‘She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.‘ This is the only verse in this passage which speaks of the godly woman’s tongue and the words of her mouth. Our Lord taught that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). What comes out of the mouth is an indication of what is in the heart. Our speech reveals our heart. Out of a wise heart come wise words. Out of a kind heart come kind words. Out of a loving heart come loving words. Be careful when you speak because your heart is showing. The word “kindness” is the commonly used Hebrew word ‘hesed’. It occurs about 200 times in the Old Testament. It is found in the following familiar passages:
Exodus 20:6–“shewing mercy unto thousands”
Ruth 1:8–“the Lord deal kindly with you”
Psalm 23:6–“surely goodness and mercy shall follow me”
Psalm 100:5–“His mercy is everlasting”
Psalm 107:8,15,21,31–“Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness”
Psalm 107:43–“The loving-kindness of the LORD”
Psalm 136 (every verse)–“for His mercy endureth forever”
Lamentations 3:22–“it is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed”
Jonah 4:2–“slow to anger, and of great kindness“
The King James Version usually renders this word as “mercy.” Other versions use “loving-kindness,” “love,” or “steadfast love.” William Wilson in his Old Testament Word Studies gives this definition: The law of kindness [hesed] is in her tongue. The term “law” [torah] refers to instruction. The term is used in Isaiah 2:3 of the teaching ministry of the Messiah during the millennial kingdom: “…for out of Zion shall go forth the law [instruction], and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” The teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (ESV). The instruction of the virtuous woman will be characterized by kindness and steadfast love. It will be kindly, faithful, loving and gracious instruction. We assume that the primary beneficiaries of her loving instruction are her children and perhaps her household servants. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law [instruction] of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8; see also Proverbs 6:20,23). The godly mother is a teacher. In love she wants God’s highest and best for her children. Women have a valuable and essential teaching ministry according to Titus 2:3-5.
Those are our tips on how to be a Proverbs 31 woman for today! Continue coming back and reading them as many times as you need! I personally have them posted on my fridge so i never forget! Thank you for joining us in this study, next time we will be going through verses 27 to 31. God Bless and we’ll see you next week!
Proverbs 31, ESV and KJV, The Wife of Noble Character. What women can learn, and apply to their lives, by following in the foot steps of this marvelous and noble woman of God. A fun fact about Proverbs 31:10-31 is that it’s an acrostic poem, meaning that each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
V.15 – ‘She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.‘ She is up before the sun, showing that idleness and laziness have no room with her (see verse 27). There are great benefits to rising up early; it is a quiet time free from the noise and distractions of the day, and it is an ideal time to spend with the Lord in quiet meditation and prayer. In mark 1:35 we have a great example, our Lord Jesus Christ who paved the way – ‘Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed… Also this Psalmist was in the habit of morning prayer when he said – ‘My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.‘ (Psalm 5:3 ). If a person sleeps in late, by the time they really get going it may seem that half the day is gone, and in that time they accomplished very little or nothing at all. The key is beginning well. The virtuous woman is diligent, yet flexible and realistic. Secondly, the virtuous woman makes sure that her family gets off to a good nutritional start, by cooking them all breakfast, which according to studies is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast gives your brain the nutrients and power to carry out the tasks for the day. Young women today, in many cases, hardly know how to prepare meals. Many families eat out frequently, ordering food that can be brought back to the home. How many families today actually take time to sit down and eat a meal together around the table? Often families don’t eat together at all, they often don’t pray together, and the often don’t read together; as a result they don’t stay together. Remember in the last verse how it mentioned her fetching food and doing the grocery shopping for the family? Well she took this food and made a meal for her husband, her children, and her maidservants. This term “food” is also used in Psalm 111:5 of God’s gracious provision of ‘food‘ for those who fear Him. Now this God fearing woman did not live in poverty, for the verse states that she fed her maidservants (her female maids). Though we are reminded that under the Old Testament those who honored and feared the Lord were promised not only spiritual blessings, but also material blessings, and certainly the woman described in Proverbs 31 had both.
V.16 – ‘She considers a field and buys it; From her profits (with the fruit of her hands) she plants a vineyard…‘ In context the word for consider is ‘zamam‘ meaning devise, plan, purpose, plot, or deep thought. This word considered is usually used in the sense of evil or wickedness throughout the Bible scriptures. Yet in Psalm 17:3 this same verb is used of determining a course of action, ‘You have tested my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and have found nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress‘. When wicked men plan and plot evil they often will put a lot of thought into it. We can think of the horrific attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11/01. These successful attacks were the fruit of long term and thought provoking planning and premeditation. It was a very carefully thought, and carried, out operation. Now the virtuous woman considers a field, meaning that she carefully and deeply thinks about the land. She is looking at the land from every angle; time, upkeep, cost, long-term effects, etc… She doesn’t make an irrational or emotional decision, she is solely relying on her logic and wisdom. She may have even discussed it with her husband. Then the verse says she buys it, literally meaning that she takes it, seizes it, and snatches it up! The fact that she buys a field indicates that the godly woman was involved in financial decisions relating to the family. However the verse wraps up by stating ‘from her profits (with the fruit of her hands) she plants a vineyard‘. The purpose of the field was to provide a place for a vineyard so that the family and others could enjoy the fruit of the vine. The fruit of her hands can signify the result of her labor, and to cultivate a field and to maintain a vineyard requires much labor. Before we buy something we need to count the cost, before we buy the field, we need to ask, “Am I willing to work the field?” Many things that we purchase can require a lot of maintenance, and as stated above, if we are unwilling to provide the labor that is needed for the maintenance, then the purchase is unwise. Secondly ‘with the fruit of her hands‘ can also be understood as ‘the fruit of her earnings.‘ That is, with the fruit of her hands (as we saw in verse 12-13) she was probably able to earn enough money to purchase and plant a vineyard. She may have even employed her servants (from verse 15) to work the field or to help her work the field. How many women buy all kinds of things on the spur of the moment without giving the matter careful thought and deliberation? As she races out to the shopping mall with her friends, can her husband safely trust in her? Don’t think this can’t work vice versa though, men.
V.17 – ‘She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms.‘ To start he word for girds is ‘chagar ‘ meaning to gird, to bind on, or to put on a belt. Just as a man would ‘gird his sword’, seen in 1 Samuel 17:39, this industrious woman girds herself with strength. In Biblical days men and women wore outer robes or tunics, but if the tunic was un-girded it would interfere with a person’s ability to walk freely. In a sense to be ‘girded’ means to be ‘ready for action’. Psalm 18:39 ‘For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle’. In Ephesians 6:10-18 we see that we are to be ready for battle, no so much in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense by putting on the whole armor of God, ‘…Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places…‘ This kind of inner strength of truth and character builds up and produces an outer strength filled with tenacity and vigor. Some translations say ‘loins’ rather than the word strength. The ‘loins’ are regarded as the seat of strength as seen in 1 Kings 12:10 and Nahum 2:1. The term refers to the abdominal or hip region of the body, the region of strength and procreative power. This virtuous woman has a reservoir of inner strength which is able to energize her and enable her to accomplish physical tasks which require a great amount of physical strength. She is not weakened by slothfulness or laziness but she is a wonderful example of due diligence and industry.
V.18 – ‘She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night.‘ The word perceives is ‘ta`am ‘ and it translates to taste, perceive, or eat. So she is quite literally ‘tasting’ that her merchandise is good. Now the same word is found in Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” God’s goodness must be tasted and be personally experienced. Only those who have truly trusted Him have tasted of His goodness and experienced God for themselves. The word for merchandise is ‘cachar‘ meaning traffic, gain, profit, gain from merchandise. The word is found twice times in Isaiah 23:18 ‘Her gain and her pay will be set apart for the Lord; it will not be treasured nor laid up, for her gain will be for those who dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for fine clothing.‘ (also found twice in Proverbs 3:14). The Proverbs 31 woman seeked wool and flax, produced garments and linens, traded for food from far away lands, prepared the meals before the sun had risen, and without idleness; considered, bought, and planted a vineyard (verses 14-16). Here in verse 18 you see that she is reaping what she has sewed, the good and blessed fruit of her diligent laboring, while being wholly blessed by God with a good harvest. She experiences the sale of the product, seeing that her trading is profitable. The results of the labors of her hands and the strength of her arms. Learning that success results from good hard labor. Homes in Bible times were illuminated at night by olive oil lamps, however the virtuous woman’s lamp did not go out at night, that is, it was not quenched, put out, or extinguished (see Isaiah 1:31). What was she doing at night? Probably the activity mentioned in next verse, verse 19. Here was a woman who worked day and night with amazing fortitude. If you were to pass by her house late at night you would see that her light would still be on. We wonder when this woman ever slept because in these verse she is working late at night, while in verse 15 she rises while it is yet night (early morning, before the dawn). The fact that she rises indicates that she did get some sleep. We have the expression, “early to bed, early to rise,” but she seems to have been in the habit of “late to bed, early to rise.” Some women are up late at night pursuing questionable activities using vain lamp light, but then they sleep through half the day, missing out on superior sunlight. But the godly woman is diligent both day and night, and is able to get the necessary sleep, without overindulging. Believers need to evaluate their nighttime activities to make sure that they are pleasing and glorifying the Lord – things which are profitable and worthy of eternity. During the day we normally have our duties and our schedule; things we need to do and places we need to go. Our time is usually well accounted for during the day, but after sunset is usually the part of the day when we have ‘Free Time’ and it is important to recognize that this time belongs to the Lord. May we be about our Father’s business!
V.19 – ‘She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle.‘ She knew how to use her hands with skill in providing clothing for her family and perhaps for selling or trading. This verse describes a very ancient method of spinning used in the days before the spinning wheel even existed. Let’s begin with the distaff – it was a staff used for holding the flax or wool which would be spun into thread by means of the spindle. Now the spindle would turn and twist the fibers into threads. The spindle was a round stick with tapered ends used to form and twist the yarn. The spindle and the distaff are the most ancient of all instruments used in the craft of spinning, specifically hand spinning. About eight to ten inches long, spindles were used to guide the thread as it was fashioned into cloth. The weaver sometimes turned the spindle by rolling it across her thigh. The wool or flax was wound on the distaff, which was stuck upright in the ground or held under the arm. The spindle, which had a circular rim to steady it when revolving, was attached to the thread being drawn out from the distaff. By rotating the spindle, the spinner twisted the thread. An example of hand spinning is found in the ancient book of Exodus 35:25-26: ‘All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair‘ If a woman’s hands are idle and if she is not engaged in worthwhile, constructive, and edifying pursuits then watch out! In Proverbs 14:23 it says, ‘In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty.‘ and in Proverbs 19:15 it says, ‘Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger.’ Do not be idle and you will not taste of poverty or hunger. Be smart and profitable by utilizing your 86,400 seconds, per day, wisely in edifying activities that produce muchness.
V.20 – ‘She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy‘ Verse 20 is an example of parallelism that is found so often in Hebrew poetry. In these two phrases of paralleled ideas are set forth. Both phrases emphasize the fact that the virtuous woman has compassion toward the poor and needy and she shows her compassion with concrete deeds of mercy. She loves the poor, not in word or in tongue only, but also in deed, action, and truth. The word for poor here is ‘`aniy ‘ in the physical it means poor, weak, afflicted, wretched and in the spiritual it means humble, meek, or lowly, as seen here in Psalm109:22 ‘For I am poor and needy, And my heart is wounded within me.‘ (click here for more). No one can make progress in his or her spiritual life until he realizes how desperately needy he or she really is. Recognizing that only the Lord God can supply that which is needed, as it is written, Psalm 145:16 ‘You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing‘. God’s people are to be of likeness to His character. One of His attributes is having a heart of compassion for those who are physically, spiritually, and materially poor and needy (scripture reference click here) – Isaiah 41:17 says, ‘The poor and needy seek water, but there is none, Their tongues fail for thirst. I, the Lord, will hear them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.‘ However in the law – Leviticus 23:22 – God told the Israelites ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the Lord your God.‘ The godly woman of Proverbs 31 faithfully obeyed the following commands, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” (Deuteronomy 15:11). Early in Proverbs 31, believers are encouraged to plead the cause of the poor in verse 9. In Proverbs 14:21 a benediction is pronounced upon those who show compassion to the poor and help them, ‘He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.‘ In studying this Hebrew word which is translated into poor and it reminded me of a prophetic verse I read not to long ago in Zachariah 9:9 ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey‘. We can then be reminded of our Lord’s amazing condescension, ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.‘ (2 Corinthians 8:9). The word needy is used to describe the spiritual condition of God’s people. Every believer needs to recognize his or her spiritual bankruptcy, ‘I am poor and needy.’ What we need only God can supply, when He faithfully supplies that which we lack, then we are rich in Him indeed.
As we consider our responsibility to the poor today, some words of caution are necessary. Don’t be duped, a man may deceptively beg for money for groceries and end up spending it on alcohol, drugs, or other vain things. Another might ask for gas money and use it to support some wicked and destructive habit. Different approaches need to be used, for example; if a person is truly hungry, and you believe it is proper to help, you can sit down with him at a restaurant, or go get him/her take-out. As he eats his meal there is opportunity to share the gospel with this person of need. Not only are you satisfying his or her physical hunger, but you are also providing opportunity for spiritual nourishment, which is his greatest need of all. If a car repair is really needed, don’t give the money to the poor man who may wrongly use it, but directly to the car mechanic. Make sure the money is used for the right purposes, for discernment is a much desired virtue. There are times when the right thing to do is to not give any money. There are people who routinely go around to churches looking for handouts and financial gifts. Supporting this kind of behavior will not really help the person to be responsible for themselves in the long term. After he profits from you he is off to the next church. We don’t want to support irresponsibility. In Bible times, the poor, blind, and lame depended upon merciful alms-giving in order to survive. Things are somewhat different in our American society where there are all kinds of government programs to assist the poor and needy. Now wise stewardship should take this into account. Our government is going to spend a great deal of money supporting the poor and needy (and we contribute to this through our paid taxes), but our government is not going to spend any money on God-honoring missionary efforts. Also we should always remember that meeting a person’s physical and material needs does not solve his greatest problem. If we give a person food, clothing, and good housing for his entire life, then he dies and eventually goes to the lake of fire, what have we really done for this man? How much better to support Christ-centered mission agencies which have workers who are concerned about the material needs of the poor, but who are even more concerned about their spiritual and eternal needs. May God give us much wisdom and discernment in how to best meet the needs of those with whom God puts us in contact. The virtuous woman was wise while about her business and God’s business. We are to always be about God’s business while we are about our own. Snatch up every opportunity to share the gospel and use your intuition and discernment, that God has blessed most all women with, to correctly provide for their physical need and may the Holy Spirit give us the words to speak when providing for their eternal needs.
Those are our tips on how to be a Proverbs 31 woman for today! Continue coming back and reading them as many times as you need! I personally have them posted on my fridge so I never forget! Thank you for joining us in this study, next time we will be going through verses 21 to 26. God Bless and we’ll see you next week!
V.10 – ‘Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.‘ In this text the word for virtuous is chayil meaning to display valor, strength, power, ability, might, or efficiency. So literally this statement reads “Who can find a woman of strength, valor, or ability…” meaning that this woman displayed a high level of firmness and strength in her abilities. We also find this same expression used of men in Exodus 18:21 – ‘Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place [such] over them, [to be] rulers of thousands, [and] rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens…‘ Moses was to find able men with these ‘virtuous’ attributes – but these men, as we see unfold, were not easy for Moses to find. When using this expression towards women it is found in 2 other places; (1) Ruth 3:11 ‘And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou [art] a virtuous woman.‘ and (2) Proverbs 12:4 ‘A virtuous woman [is] a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed [is] as rottenness in his bones.‘ Using these three references, we find out the importance and meaning of being virtuous (1) Being able and virtuous means to fear God, be honest, love truth, and hate covetousness (which is Idolatry, which is Sin). (2) When you display such firm spiritual strength, and strength in character, people will notice because it’s abnormal to the culture around you. But like Ruth, do not let the world sway you – but instead keep firm and be bold. (3) A virtuous woman does not cause shame to her husband, or the family name on that matter, because she has these characteristics her price is above rubies, which are rare and expensive, she is a true daughter of our Lord and Savior and is hard to find. She has an inner beauty and a strength of character and a moral firmness that is lacking in the vast majority of women, even believing women, today.
V.11 – ‘The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.‘ In this text ‘trust’ is batach meaning have confidence in, to be bold, to be secure, and to feel safe. The word ‘spoil’ is shalal meaning plunder, gain, or spoil. No need in this context is the same found in Psalm 23:1 – ‘The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…‘ – it means to ‘be in need’ or to ‘be lacking’. In both instances the word is used with a negative changing the meaning to ‘not be in need’ and to ‘not be lacking’. So if the Lord is my shepherd, I will not be in need, because the Lord will provide that need for me. Get it? Let me help; what the text here is saying is that; if i have a godly wife I will not (1) be in need of spoil (money, equity, etc…) and/or (2) be lacking spoil. As stated above this word can also mean plunder or gain; which is usually used in the gain or plundering of valuable items from defeated enemies after obtaining a victory in battle. This doesn’t mean that if his wife is not virtuous that he would, in desperation, go into battle and gather up as much plunder as he could. But because his wife is such a benefit, even financially, he will have no need of soil. As we see in the next few verses; she keeps the home so well, is so industrious, and is so productive in all her efforts – that the result of it all is great gain and even profit. Sadly today some wives are so lazy and careless that they cause the family great financial loss, rather than the opposite. They go on shopping sprees, incur immense credit card debt, or waste countless hours each week glued to habitual unproductive activities (television, gossip, etc). How can her husband safely trust in her? After she has finished destroying the family it results in him having a great need of gain – considering all that she has lost. Here, it’s not only the women, but many men are at fault as well, though we’ll save that talk for the Proverbs 31 Man.
V.12 – ‘She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.‘ Verses 11 and 12 go hand in hand, he knows he can trust his wife because she does him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. Proverbs 18:22 says, ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.’ This statement is only true when a man finds the ‘right wife’ – which would be a virtuous, noble, god fearing proverbs 31 woman. Some men will find a woman who will be a ‘crown of her husband…‘ and others will who is a ‘rottenness in his bones…‘ (Proverbs 12:4). In verse 12 the word ‘will do’ literally translate to deal fully with or bountifully with, repay, or reward – because in Hebrew there was no actual word for ‘do’. In 1 Samuel 24:17 David had spared Saul’s life, and Saul’s response to Davids act of mercy was, ‘…You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil.‘ Also in Genesis 20:15-17 the term is used of when Josephs brothers remembered what they did to Joseph “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” “Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him…‘ Here Joseph also had mercy on his brothers lives as well. They did not repay evil with evil, but they re-payed evil with godly conduct; goodness, mercy, forgiveness, and righteousness. The virtuous woman doesn’t serve her people/husband that which is good one day and that which is evil the next day. Her husband can count on her to do him good and to be a blessing to him, and their family. He can count on her to do this today, five days from now, one year from now, ten years from now, and all the days of her life. She is not up and down, hot and cold, because her godliness is marked with consistency.
V.13 – ‘She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands.‘ The word for seek is ‘darash ‘ and it means to seek with care, require, enquire (consult), or search. The word for willingly is ‘chephets‘ which means to delight in, to desire to, or to purpose oneself. The word for works is ‘`asah‘ which means to produce, to make, to deal, or to prepare. If you didn’t know wool is from a sheep’s coat – it spun and woven into yarn/string then knitted together to make a cloth. Even today we still wear wool sweaters and coats. Flax is from a plant, and in the same way as wool, was spun into yarn/thread which later became linen. Now flax is special, because the finest of them all was found, and grown, in Egypt under almost perfect conditions. From flax can be made a variety of materials including coarse canvas, rugged sails for ships, and even thin delicate scarves. As we see in the text she ‘seeks’ flax and wool, which are basic materials needed to make clothes and garments. However, by using the literal translation she is consulting, and seeking carefully, for these items. More than likely she is looking for ‘the best‘ buy or quality. The last part bums me out, because a lot of people forget about the importance of this last half, ‘willingly works with her hands’. WOW! That is such a beautiful statement. The virtuous woman’s hand is never a forced hand. The husband does not demand this from here, nor makes her feel obliged to do this. According to text she does these things willingly; meaning she delights, desires, and purposes herself to seek and find these materials to work with. This woman is looking to prepare, make, and produce an item for dealing (selling) out of them…. and she DELIGHTS in it. In our modern, computerized, electronic, entertainment-saturated society we have lost the art of working with our hands. Most women don’t delight in making clothes with their hands. Instead they delight in shopping for clothes at the mall and thus adversely affecting the family budget. However the virtuous woman desires to work with her hands to productively (financially) benefit her home, her children, and her husband. This wise woman uses her time and individual resources in the best way she can.
V.14 – ‘She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar.‘ Simply put; she does the grocery shopping! Who hasn’t traveled 10-20 minutes to the grocery store to get the best deal? Huh? Well this next virtue actually goes a little deeper than my first statement; the Bible teaches us that with food and clothing we can be content (1 Timothy 6:8) and the virtuous women plays a key role, as God’s instrument, in providing both. Interesting how the author of this Proverb compared the virtuous woman to being like a merchant’s ship. The word here used for merchant is ‘cachar‘ and it means to travel about in or go about in trade – to be a trader or trafficker. The buy, sell, and trade, commodities to make profit. Now she wasn’t being compared to a merchant, she was compared to the ship! The merchant ships then carried hundreds, maybe thousands, of rare, useful, and desirable items from far and distant lands/countries. in this verse it says that she is bringing ‘food from afar‘, the word for food here actually means ‘bread‘, which was a common item to eat in those days. For the sake of the lesson it’s food in general. But does this mean that she traveled to different countries and lands to bring food home? Probably not! The picture this verse paints is this; today the wife usually says, “Dear, I need some money because I’m going to town to do our weekly grocery shopping.” Whereas, the virtuous woman said, “Dear, I’m going to town but I don’t need any money because I’m taking some of the fine linen which I have made and will trade it in for some items of food which you will really enjoy.” Now how can her husband complain about that? The virtuous woman produced a product (with the wool and flax) in which she could then trade to get a wide variety of foods form near and far.
Those are our tips on how to be a Proverbs 31 woman for today! Continue coming back and reading them as many times as you need! I personally have them posted on my fridge so i never forget! Thank you for joining us in this study, next time we will be going through verses 15 to 20. God Bless and we’ll see you next week!
“…Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips…” ESV / Commentary