Women of the bible: PROVERBS 31
Who can find a virtuous wife?
The lady in Proverbs 31 is fictional. The mother of King Lemuel was helping her son by telling him the qualities to look out for in a future wife. How many mothers do this today, many I am sure. We all want the very best for our sons, and the King’s mother was no different.
Verses 10 to 31 list virtues that any man would love to see in his wife and all of which we can strive for. But the one virtue that was more important than all the rest, greater than her housekeeping, her strength and honour, her hard working attitude—her crowning accomplishment was fearing the Lord — a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. This is the most important attribute in any Christian woman and this is what a Christian man should be looking in a wife. If she is great at housekeeping and looking after the children but does not fear the Lord, then there is a problem because fearing the Lord has much greater value than anything else.
Now lets look at a virtuous wife:
* She honours her husband and he has great confidences and trust in her, she does him no harm and works with him and not against him.
* She is her husbands comforter and encourager and he can count on her when no one else understands.
* She watched over the ways of her household
* She works hard with her hands.
* She is a great time manager and never sits wasting that precious time.
* She doesn’t gossip or talks endless about herself.
* She speaks wise words and strives to give kind counsel.
* She cares for her family by making sure they are well fed and clothed.
* She looks out for the poor and needy.
* She supplements the family income.
* She is a great organiser and does not eat the bread of idleness
* She is calm, gentle and kind
Many women get bogged down on the verse about buying the vine-yard and there is great discussion on the size of the vine yard, the amount of time she spent at the vineyard, who did all the digging, whether it was for commercial use or household use etc. It has also become quite a silly debate with bloggers filling in the gaps and making up bits to support their augments on whether she was a stay-at-home mum or worked outside of the home. These discussion are all missing the point. It is irrelevant — does it really matter if she managed a vineyard by herself, no it doesn’t. Nor does it matter the number of hours she was away from home, that isn't the point of Proverbs 31. What matters is that her husband loved her dearly, her children rose up and praised her, that she was kind, caring, hard working, managed all her chores well, took great care of her family and others and above all "feared the Lord". If she also able to run vineyard, well done to this great lady!!
Just one thing before I finish — It is interesting to compare the lady described in Proverbs 31 and Ruth. Ruth didn’t spend her days making clothes for her husband. She had no husband; she was widowed. Ruth's children didn’t rise up and call her blessed. She was childless. Ruth didn’t spend her days exchanging fine linens with the merchants and keeping an immaculate home. She worked all day in the sun, gleaning leftovers from other people's fields, which was a provision made for the poorest of the poor in Israel. And yet guess what Boaz says of Ruth before she got married, before she had a child, before she becomes a wealthy and influential woman: “All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character” (Ruth 3:11). Just looking at Sarah, Ruth and this royal woman we can clearly see that the women of the bible all had very different roles just like we do. God has given us each responsibilities, they vary as God sees fit and we shouldn't be checking out what others do and judging them as it means we are judging God.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well. But you excel them all.” (Proverbs 31: 28-29)