The Virtuous Woman
What Is A Virtuous Woman?
When we think of virtuous women, do we imagine capable women of authority and esteem who are industrious? We should!
Virtuous Women Are As Rare As Rubies
A virtuous woman is hard to find. Proverbs 31:10 describes the woman of noble character as more precious than rubies. Why? Because she's rare. First and foremost, she can be safely trusted. She puts others before herself and takes great care to preserve the dignity of her loved ones. "She enriches her husband's life, bringing him good, not harm, all the days of her life" (Proverbs 31:12).
How does she do this?
She Is Trustworthy
"Her husband can safely trust in her, and she will greatly enrich his life" --Proverbs 31:11
Is It Safe To Trust Us?
When it comes to trust, especially for spouses, the first thing that comes to mind may concern fidelity. But being trustworthy is much more than being faithful in a relationship. Can we be trusted with less obvious things? Can we be trusted to protect the dignity of our loved ones by treating them honorably? Are we willing to continue doing so even if they do not deserve it? Can we be trusted not to humiliate others, even in private...even when we are angry? Are we trustworthy not to betray what others share with us in confidence? Can we be trusted with money and valuable things? Do we keep our word, even if it becomes painful to do so? Our habits and behavior create a story about us, that we either can or cannot be safely trusted.
She is Strong
"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks" Proverbs 31:17
The Virtuous Woman Is Strong And Capable
Proverbs 31 describes a woman who is not just capable of producing what she sets her mind to, but is busy doing so. With her own hands, she produces high quality goods that she personally sells to merchants to receive her earnings. She is not prone to wasting time in her day or being idle, but optimizes every useful hour of the day for her purposes, even burning her lamp "late into the night" (verse 18b).
This is by no means to say that the virtuous woman has prioritized business ahead of her family. Her life is not unbalanced by excessive work. Her family is not neglected by her business ambitions. But she is most certainly a capable businesswoman who understands how to earn an honest living and also how to properly invest her earnings so they are profitable (verse 18a). She is not weary and worn out, but energetic and strong. Why? Because she has a clear purpose for her life and absolute faith that God is with her, helping her, guiding her.
She Is Wise and Kind
"When she speaks, her words are wise, and in her tongue is the law of kindness" Proverbs 31:26
How Does This Biblical Virtuous Woman Apply To Today?
The virtues of the noble woman from Proverbs 31 can seem out of reach when we compare her life to our life in the modern world. However, the details of her craft matter only to illustrate how focused and tenacious she is to her purpose. She has a clear purpose for her life: honoring her God in everything she does, honoring her husband and family in everything she does, serving all according to the opportunities presented to her, and seizing each and every day as if it is all she has. While Proverb 31 presents a woman of the ultimate virtuous character, we do well to remember that she lives on earth, where sin, pain, disappointment, and failure are all too well known to everyone here.
"Strength and honor are her clothing; and she will rejoice in time to come"
She Conducts A Respectable Life Inside Her Home As Well As Outside Of It
The virtuous woman is not floating through the clouds in her life while everyone else is suffering. She knows her fair share of suffering, but her life is committed to upright living. Proverbs 31:25 declares that "Strength and honor are her clothing; and she will rejoice in time to come". Is she rejoicing and relaxing now? No. She is hard at work, focused, and determined to achieve her purpose with utmost honor. As a result, she lives a life of dignity and she is publicly praised and respected by her husband and children for the living example she sets.
Our family members see the real us, often the side of us we hope other people never see. Those who live with us and share space with us know our habits, our weaknesses, our vices; and they know if we live truly respectable and honorable lives or if we wear a mask in public. The virtuous woman's "children stand and bless her and her husband praises her" because she conducts herself in the same manner at home as she does in public, treating everyone she knows with honor and respect (Proverb 31:28).
Summary Of The Attributes Of A Woman Of Noble Character
- She learns a craft and produces goods from it.
- She brings provisions home for her household.
- She manages the household, and rises before dawn to prepare breakfast for her family and plan the day.
- She makes sound investments with her own earnings, making sure they are profitable.
- She is a hard worker, energetic, strong, committed, producing fine-quality goods which she sells.
- She is generous to the poor and needy, helping them and making herself available to them.
- She does not fear the future. Instead, she trusts completely in the Lord and does her part every day to provide a dignified life for her household.
- She possesses authority over others, but does not lord it over them. She gives instructions with kindness while leading by example.
Do We See Pieces Of Ourselves In The Virtuous Woman?
We must keep in mind that the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is very rare, more rare than rubies. Verse 29 says "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!" Therefore, she is an example for us to look to for what it means from a biblical perspective to be as virtuous. We should not feel disappointed or dejected if we do not possess some of the characteristics that she does. Life is a journey of learning and growing. If we are not businesswomen, or early birds, or night owls, or fantastic household managers, or mothers, or wives, we should not lose heart or feel as if we can not compete.
Instead, if we look for the parts of ourselves we can see in her, we have a starting place and a foundation on which to continue to build our lives. Do we see in her the determined part of us working purposefully in what we do? Do we identify with her trustworthiness, knowing that we also are safe havens for people's trust? Do we see the example she is setting by her own life's standards and see a reflection of ourselves there? Do we see her generosity and open arms to the needy and feel a camaraderie with her there? If we can see even one comparison between the woman of noble character and ourselves, we should rejoice! If we do not see any comparison, perhaps we see something in her we would like to adopt for ourselves. Any of her characteristics are certainly worthy.
SOURCE: The Bible, The Book Of Proverbs