I grew up not knowing a lot about the Bible. I attended church weekly, but never read my Bible. Really, I didn't know that I should. I thought that was just for preachers. I remember as a teenager playing a game of Trivial Pursuit, and receiving this question, "What are the first three words of the Bible?" I had no clue! I gave what I thought was a great guess... "The Holy Bible." I was told that was a good try, but then told the correct answer... "In the beginning." Needless to say, I was embarrassed. It did open my eyes to the fact that I should know more about what is in the Bible. At that point, I started reading the Word of God. Don't you just love the way God uses the everyday, ordinary things to get our attention, and then direct us to where He has plans for us?
I tell you all this, in order to share with you my discovery of the Proverbs 31 Woman. I had been married for several years. Jason and I were active in church. I even taught Sunday School. I thought I had done well at catching up on my Bible knowledge. It was then, that God used a greeting card to open my eyes to the fact that I still had a lot to learn! I was at a grocery store looking for a card of encouragement to send to a friend. I picked up a card that had a portion Proverbs 31:10-31 printed on the front. When I opened it up, the punch line said, "So where are those servant girls?" Yes, that is funny, and truthfully, there have been times I have wished for a few of those servant girls. But more importantly, it left me wondering, was there really a section of the Bible telling me how to be a good wife? I had never heard of such a thing. I went straight home, picked up my Bible and searched out that section of Proverbs. Sure enough, there it was.
Since that time, it has been my desire to become a "virtuous wife", a "wife of worth", a "wife of noble character" ... yes, I have studied this section of scripture in many different versions. I read this passage of scripture daily.
My next several blogs will be going through Proverbs 31 a few verses at a time. Today, I want you to discover this great woman. I am going to include the scripture on here in the New King James version. I am also going to post a commentary on this section from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary. This commentary helped me when I first started studying Proverbs 31. I keep a printed copy in my Bible, and still refer to it often.
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “ Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Verses 10 - 31This is the description of a virtuous woman of those days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and nation. She is very careful to recommend herself to her husband's esteem and affection, to know his mind, and is willing that he rule over her. 1. She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good. 2. She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's business. She does what she does, with all her power, and trifles not. 3. She makes what she does turn to good account by prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for her house. She lays up for hereafter. 4. She looks well to the ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her. 5. She is intent upon giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. 6. She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world. 7. Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever. 8. She has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she was not idle or useless when young. She shall rejoice in a world to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. If the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. But she leaves it to her own works to praise her. Every one ought to desire this honour that cometh from God; and according to this standard we all ought to regulate our judgments. This description let all women daily study, who desire to be truly beloved and respected, useful and honourable. This passage is to be applied to individuals, but may it not also be applied to the church of God, which is described as a virtuous spouse? God by his grace has formed from among sinful men a church of true believers, to possess all the excellences here described.