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The Proverbs 31 Woman

"Who can find a noble wife" (v. 10)? The word "virtuous" in the King James is better translated "noble" as it is also in Proverbs 12:4 where it talks about a wife of "noble character." That wife, in Proverbs 12:4 is a crown to her husband, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones – undermines his very foundation (Proverbs. 12:4).

The worth of the Proverbs 31 woman cannot be estimated because it surpasses precious jewels (Proverbs 31:10).

Here is the description of the ideal wife, mother and woman. Note that there are no bodily measurements; no comments are her figure or how she looks in a bathing suit. The focus is totally on her character and on her actions.

We see a picture of a woman who is industrious (works willingly with her hands, rises up early, her lamp doesn’t go out by night). See verses 13 and 15.

She is trustworthy. The heart of her husband trusts in her and she does him good not harm all her days (vss 11-12). She is merciful (v. 20 she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy). She is strong. She girds her loins with strength and she makes her arms strong (v. 17).

And she is alert and forward looking. She looks well to the ways of her household and she prepares for winter ( v. 21). She is also confident in that she knows her merchandise is profitable (v.18). She is kind (the teaching of kindness is on her tongue (you find the verse).

She is also talented (she makes coverings for herself and belts and linen garments). She is wise (she opens her mouth with wisdom).

She is definitely entrepreneurial (she is like merchant ships, sees a field and buys it, plants a vineyard). .

There is one other quality that this woman has that is not immediately apparent – that is balance. This woman has achieved the appropriate balance between caring for her family and her self-interests and the interests of others. Her family is well taken care of (v. 27) while at the same time she is earning wealth (v. 18).

Some are never at home and the Bible enjoins married mothers to be “keepers at home.” But there is a balance. This woman takes care of home and her job so to speak.

Another factor that can be seen is her respectability. She has taught her children and helped them and they have respect for her. They “rise up and call her blessed.” With all her duties she has never neglected them.

Her husband praises her. She has enhanced his standing in the community (find the verse). She was wise enough to choose a husband who was secure in himself and who is not in competition with her.

Verse 30 rightly says that charm can be deceitful and beauty passes away (vain), but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. This last statement verifies the first few verses: “The fear of the Eternal is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7)!

To highlight how outstanding this woman is, this portrait of the ideal woman was written in acrostic poetry. Each verse starts with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet as from “a to z”.

But for such a woman to exist there must also be the Proverbs 31 man as a compliment to her. Each helps the other into the ideal partnership – a beautiful marriage.

David L. Antion for Guardian Ministries