Virtuous – Hebrew word is Chayil which means “strength”, “might”, “army”, valiant”, and “riches”
How did a godly woman turn from mighty and strong to dainty, demure, and pure? A godly woman is called to be strong and valiant. In western culture, there is a sense of lordship with men being dominant. I can see how using the words army and might to describe women be seen as opposing the male-dominated society. However, a strong woman is not over a man. A strong woman is a foundation and rock for her family. Men are called to lead the household. A godly woman manages her household.. Proverbs 31 are spoken from a woman, from a mother to her son. A woman who sees how valuable and precious (more precious than rubies) a godly woman can be to her husband and his prosperity.
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her; “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,But you surpass them all!”
Proverbs 5 and 7 are almost the complete opposite of Proverbs 31. It tells of the immoral woman and though her physical features and touch are “sweet as honey”, she ultimately leads to death and destruction. Proverbs 7 describes where to find an immoral woman “She is often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner.” ( Proverbs 7:12b)
Yet we look at the first line of finding a wife of Noble character and it says “who can find her?” Immoral women are everywhere and it’s so easy to get caught in their traps. But a virtuous and noble woman isn’t easy to come across, further adding to her worth.
A beautiful woman who lacks discretion, Is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout. (Proverbs 11:22)
A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, But a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4)
A wise woman builds her home, But a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. (Proverbs 14:1)
Solomon, the wisest man in history spoke many proverbs on women and the importance of wives particularly. He spoke to the blessing and joy that comes with an understanding and godly wife. In contrast, he also spoke of the destruction and temptation of immoral and promiscuous women. Solomon is stressing to men the value of women, particularly, godly and virtuous women all throughout proverbs leading up to the end – Proverbs 31.
When I think of wise people, I see them as thinkers who never do anything in haste or without reason. God gave Solomon “a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will.” Throughout history, we’ve seen wise leaders, philosophers, scientists, and diplomats do great things for society. Solomon had more wisdom than any of these throughout history and probably more than all of them combined. So if Solomon saw fit to share his wisdom in Proverbs for us and to finish this book with the description and value of a righteous woman, I believe he did this with a purpose.
Proverbs 31 is also the advice of a mother to her son. Even the wisest of all the wise follows the teachings and advice of his mother! It does seem that Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, set a very high standard for women to follow. Spinning wool, preparing meals, planning and preparing for her household, making business negotiations, being charitable to the poor, sharing wise words with others, and making fine clothes for her family. I mean, who is this woman?!
Solomon himself should have known women plenty enough to see how much influence a woman can have on a man. He was known for many wives and concubines (hundreds) and many of these came from noble birth and foreign lands, even though the Lord had instructed him not to. And in taking these women for wives, Solomon let them influence his life and his decisions. Solomon turned away from the Lord. He began to worship other gods and was no longer faithful to the One True God. The One True God that had appeared to him, had blessed him with wisdom and riches and shown him favor and he turned so easily away because of his love for immoral women. For this, God punished Solomon by taking his kingdom away from him, it was only for his father’s sake that his son kept one of the tribes. And he was the wisest person to ever exist! I’m absolutely sure he had more knowledge and intellect than any man in today’s world and still his downfall was being influenced by women who didn’t know God.
As women, it is important we realize the influence we can have on the men in our lives, specifically, our husbands. That our behavior, our words, our thoughts, our actions – can lift up this man or bring him to destruction. Men are the leaders of their households but as women, we are called to be his helper. “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him” Genesis 2:18b. I know some may not agree but women and men are not held to the same standards. This is just from my own account from the words in the Bible. I know some will say “Well, the Bible was written by men.” Yeah, but so were many of those female anthems you love and our laws and textbooks. In our culture, men and women are equal or at least, that’s what we are striving for. But that is being of this world and as Christians, we are called to not be of this world.
I feel proud being a woman knowing that I am not held to the same standards as men. That my role is not that of a man and a husband but of a helper and wife. We are held to higher standards because even wise men and nations will fall if we do not hold ourselves accountable to the role God has set for us. Above all of the other values of the Proverbs 31 woman, the one of highest importance is she fears God. That is how we, as women are called to honor our families, our husbands, our children, and most importantly – ourselves. Placing God first in our hearts and actions will guide everything we say and do.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; But a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. (Proverbs 31:31)
It is important to take into account that this is written to a man from a mother. Proverbs 31 isn’t an instruction for women but instructions for men on qualities to have in a wife. We also have to take into account who this was written to, a king, a leader, a man who followed and loved God. Aren’t those qualities we want in our husbands? If so, shouldn’t you strive to possess the attributes and qualities of character he would want in a wife.
The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, And he receives favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)
Being this “Proverbs 31 woman” sounds like so much work, doesn’t it? Being up before dawn to plan the day, making lucrative business deals, spinning wool and making fine clothes for the household, volunteering at homeless shelters, all while giving wise and sage advice to her husband and others. I’m honestly exhausted just thinking about it. But striving to do all these things is not what we should be doing. Follow Jesus. Following Jesus and praying every day for a renewed heart and mind will lead women to godly and virtuous lives. We have been saved on the cross. We are free in Christ. Salvation is not given to us by our works or character because all of us will fall short of the glory (Even the wisest person on earth succumbed to sin). No, we are saved through Jesus. It is by love and faith in Jesus Christ that we accept the salvation given to us by God’s grace.
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)
Now, one could argue that proverbs aren’t Jesus’ teaching, they were Solomon’s. Jesus’ teaching doesn’t start with the Gospel in the New testament. No, the whole Bible is Jesus. From front to back, beginning to end, Genesis to Revelation. The Bible is Jesus. The message of God is Jesus.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, And the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. (John 1:1-2)
By loving Jesus and following his word and teachings, his works can show through us and in us. We can be strong, valiant, capable women because we do not rely on our own merit for strength but because we know our strength comes from God. This Proverbs 31 woman is capable and wise because she knows the Lord and that with Jesus, the impossible becomes possible. She serves a God that gives the power to move mountains through faith. A God that shuts the mouths of lions and brings death to life. Giving God the control of our lives gives us power and freedom to be the most virtuous and capable women in the world. Because ultimately, it is all for His glory.
Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.