The Proverbial Wife, Then and Now
Proverbs has always been my favorite book of the Bible.. Filled with nuggets of wisdom for rearing children, fair business practices, common sense guidelines and living peacefully with your neighbor. It could stand alone, on library shelves across the world. It also tells us about being a good wife......that is where my problem began. How could any woman in the modern world possibly measure up to the Proverbial Wife and Virtuous Woman? Just what is a good wife anyway? The answer was found right where the question started, in Proverbs, chapter 31. (KJV) All I had to do, was to study His Word, and ask His guidance in understanding.
10Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
she has a good moral character which makes her valuable
11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
he trusts that she will not cause him or the family harm
12She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
she acts with his best interests at heart and lives her loyalty to him
13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
she is really working here, she is preparing to do some "spinning", she will be making
threads and weaving cloth
14She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
remember, she probably had to walk, still she sought the best goods for her family
15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
her day started early, and she knew the importance of breakfast for her family
16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
she gave great thought to how spend the income, and she used her resources well
17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
she prepared herself to the tasks she must do
18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
she invests in quality and in quanity, making sure the home has enough supplies
19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
the spindle and the distaff are tools in the weaving of cloth, she goes to work
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
she shares her bounty and sees to the needs of the less fortunate
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
she has laid up enough supplies to last through the winter or other catastrophe
22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
she has made an attractive coat for herself , or perhaps this is bed covering
23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
often in Biblical times, cities were built behind walls for defense, other times, "gates"
can mean, the marketplace, the courthouse, or town hall......either way, we can be
sure that her husband was an honorable man
24She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
she makes clothing out of the cloth that she has woven and sells if for trade or
profit, the girdle is probably a military sash, or other adornment
25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
she is dignified, respected and respectable, she puts duty ahead of pleasure, knowing that a pleasant time will follow
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
she is knowledgeable, speaks with confidence and authority, yet she is kind ,and compassionate in her manner and in her speech
27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
again, she is a good worker, diligent in looking after the needs of her household,
she is not lazy or disinterested
28Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
when her children grow up, they understand her value and contributions, they hold her in
a very high regard
29Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
her husband knows the value she had brought to his life and how she has provided
for the family and guided the children, he trusted no other woman to do this.........
30Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
do not fall for thrills and amusements or be vain, set your heart on the Lord's path
31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
She has earned a valuable reputation, and deserves a fair reward.
The one thing that stands out to me in the description of this virtuous woman is what is missing. There is no mention of her physical appearance.
Let that sink in .........we do not know anything about what she looked like.
We know that she was diligent, steadfast, morally upright, respectable, kind, compassionate, thoughtful of others. She had many skills, and worked to perfect them, she bought quality merchandise, made and sold her goods of an equal value.
We know that she was loyal to her husband, behaved in a way that was beyond reproach, causing him no harm or embarrassment.
We can surmise that while in her care, her children were in good hands, being taught manners, respect, fair play, self discipline, and the value of work. Like children throughout time, they did not thank her until they were mature to understand her value.
Our lives today, have some minor differences. Most of us have never spun wool or flax. We may or may not have bought our own property. We probably do not meet the merchant vessels and trade directly with them. Most of us do not have house servants. Our environments change, but people remain basically the same.
We have the same needs for food, clothing, shelter as the Proverbial Wife had. We should shop for the needs of our households, getting the best quality we can afford. We should not waste our resources. We should make the very most of our skills and talents that we have been given. We should share with those around us, whether they are destitute or simply deserving of our kindness. We should take pride in our work, our efforts and do everything we do, giving the Glory to God.
We should still honor our husbands, holding his best interests at heart, showing him our loyalty. Do not behave in a way that would be embarrassing to him or our family. We should never laugh at or expose our husband's fears and weaknesses. Be wise and be prudent, let honor, strength, and dignity clothe us.
Trust in the Lord, He is the source of our virtue.
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