Good morning, beautiful women of God. (and handsome men, for those of you who read) Today, we are going to attempt to answer the question What is a Proverbs 31 Wife? Honestly, when I started on this venture, I had no idea where to even begin. The book of Proverbs is packed with wisdom and important tid bits about life and prosperity. The last chapter of the book, chapter 31, paints the picture of a Virtuous Woman. The entire chapter describes the characteristics of a woman whom many of us are striving to become. Some may wonder if they are even capable of being such a woman; while others are confident in their pursuit of becoming a woman worthy of praise and humble in her walk.
Before really jumping in and talking about what it means to be a Proverbs 31 wife, I want you to first understand that Proverbs 31 is not only for women who are already married. This chapter is relevant to all of us, regardless of our relationship status. There is information here that we can all cling to, so I encourage you, ring or no ring, to take part in this journey of discovering Proverbs 31. Some of the things we talk about today may not relate to you just yet, but I promise that there is something in here for you today.
Proverbs 31: 10-31
I’ve gone through, verse by verse, and left notes on each one. This is something that you can also do as you discover what a Proverbs 31 woman is to you. My notes may only connect to some of you, and others may read something completely different in certain verses. That’s okay. I want you to pull out a pen and paper and make your own notes for each verse as you read through mine. Figure out what this means for you.
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
This verse starts out the passage on the Proverbs 31 Woman. Note that it begins by expressing the rarity of a woman/wife of noble character. It’s not a common thing to be described as a Proverbs 31 woman, and I think that’s why so many of us are striving to become one ourselves. This kind of woman doesn’t exist by chance.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
To me, this is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible. For a man to lack nothing of value as a result of his wife, that’s everything. Her husband is not only utterly and hopelessly in love with her, but he needs/wants nothing more than to be with her. He believes in her 100%, and again, this isn’t by chance. I guarantee you this isn’t just based on her looks either. She has that thing that makes her more valuable than anything else he could possibly want.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
And this is a good indicator that his perspective of her is realistic. A wife who only seeks to bring good to her husband is one who should be cherished. I’ve talked on here before about how marriage is wonderful and such an incredible experience, but it’s also really hard sometimes. For some, it seems like a lot of work, but for her, it wasn’t wasted effort. I’m not saying that if marriage seems like work for you then you’re doing it wrong. But I’m revealing what marriage could look like for you, and I hope you see this as something to look forward to. Good things happen through hard work, dedication, and perseverance.
13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
I love how this verse describe her work, with eager hands. How many of us can honestly say that we work with eager hands? I mean, sometimes maybe, but for the noble woman, it’s so common, that it’s a known fact. She is ready and eager to pursue her work.
14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
This verse is interpreted many different ways, and I see it as saying she doesn’t settle for what’s right in front of her. She reaches out to find the very best for her family. She doesn’t just get by with what’s nearby. She’s bold and adventurous and will think outside of the box to find different types of food or treasures for her family.
I also interpret it to suggest that she isn’t biased to her communities food. She’s willing to venture out and try something different. She doesn’t stick to the mainstream; she experiments and takes the road less traveled. Now, I’m sure she shops local, but she also supports other communities by going abroad as well.
15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
I met a woman recently who told me she gets up at 5am every morning to pray for 1 hour, then to prepare her families breakfast and pack their lunches for the day. I had this conversation with her at 2pm, and she looked so fresh and relaxed. I asked her how she did this because she also said that she gets 6 hours of sleep every night. She told me that she was able to do this because it was all connected: mind, body, and spirit. She told me that she always feels energized, but when she sleeps, it’s a deep sleep. Her brain turns off, and she is able to rest for the next day. I feel like this explains how verse 15 works. The virtuous woman gains energy through service to her family.
16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
Property is one of the most secure investments we can make. Not to sound sexist, but this is usually something the men deal with, not for the Proverbs 31 woman though. She scouts out her land, considers its value and invests. How do we know it was a worthy investment? Because she is able to produce earnings with which she uses to create yet another profitable and sustainable resource, a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
This verse doesn’t say that she’s dainty and delicate. It says that she is strong and vigorous. In the words of Christina Aguilera, she don’t need a man… Not for her work at least. She can complete the task in front of her because she is strong enough for them. She doesn’t need someone else to come by and do the things she needs to do. Instead, she toughs it out and gets the job done. Love it!
18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
Again, she is a woman who is smart with her money and her business. This was written in a time when there were not multi-billion dollar industries, and for her trade to be recognized as profitable, well, I’m sure that was also a rarity. The last half of the verse can be equivalent to our power or electricity the home. She didn’t have to worry about the lights going out because she was “caught up on the rent” so to speak. She had it covered.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
I did a lot of research when putting this post together, just making sure that I was understanding each verse properly and what not. There’s a level of responsibility when publishing anything relating to scripture, and this verse was one that I really had to look into. I’m sharing an article in this link that really explains fully what this verse means.
To paraphrase their article, this verse is praising her for her ability to sew day in and day out. The original Hebrew breaks it down and calls her something equivalent to a spinster; however, in the time this was written, such a term was a huge compliment to women. It displayed dedication to her trade and an expertise to her work.
20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
My mind goes straight to Mother Theresa when I read this verse. I was talking with the Hubby last night about this, and I was saying something like, “Yeah people talk about women like Mother Theresa, and.. and.. well yeah.. they actually just talk about her.” There isn’t another woman like her that compares to her, and I feel that she held many of these traits of a Virtuous Woman.
I often wonder, did she know who she was? Like, did Mother Theresa know that she would be talked about for years to come? Did she know that she would be the example that people would reference when talking about a woman who unconditionally loved and cared for others in way unimaginable to most? Or did she just do it because she felt it was the right thing to do?
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
To my friends down South, until you have experienced a Canadian winter, you do not truly understand the validity of this verse 😉 Oh c’mon I’m just joking with ya!! This verse does mean more to me now though, then it did a few years ago. There are quite a few homeless people on the streets here, and during Winter, the community is really encouraged to reach out and donate blankets, coats, and warm items for these guys. It’s not something that I had ever really thought of before, but here, for some, freezing temperatures really is life or death.
I’m not at all knocking people who live on the street. I fully understand that this is something could happen to anyone, and that’s why this verse speaks to me so much. The Virtuous Woman has prepared her household to withstand this type of tragedy. She doesn’t have the same fears of cold and snow because she is fully relying on God’s guidance to determine her path in life.
22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
There is so much we could say here. We’ve recognize that she is a woman of many traits. She is also a woman of style, something that us Christian gals get ridiculed for sometimes… but even the Virtuous Proverbs 31 Woman had style. Fine linen and purple cloth were hot commodities during this time, and they were visual representations of wealth. She was aware of this and was able to produce these types of clothing for her family.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
Not only is she a person of noble character, but this verse makes it seem that her husband is also well-respected within his community. They are a power couple. Again, this is not something that happens by chance or by picking the best looking guy out there. It happens by years of work and practice to develop a healthy relationship and a healthy family unit.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.
This verse takes me back to a time when I would sit in my great grandmother’s sewing room because she could honestly create anything you wanted with some thread, a few needles and her sewing machine. This was and still is such a foreign concept to me. I struggle with a safety pin, yet she created the most beautiful dresses and clothing.
This verse references trades, salesmanship, and reputations. She learned a very valuable trade, used it to bring another source of revenue in for her family, and developed a such a reputation with the merchants that they purchased from her. There are so many traits within this woman. She could basically do it all, and something I love is that these are all things that can be learned. You don’t just have it; we are all capable of learning these skills.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
This verse is one of the most quoted verses from this passage, and it’s even on the homepage of our blog. While a lot of people focus on that first part, I want you to look at the second half, she can laugh at the days to come.
There is a woman in my life right now who is battling the C word, and in her fight, she is confident that God is going to pull her through. Not just confident, but she knows. She is 100% clothed in strength and dignity, and because her trust is in the Lord, she can look her treatment plan in the face and laugh at the days before her because she knows they are already in God’s plan. She is a walking, breathing Proverbs 31 woman.
26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Some women just seem to have all the answers, when others are grasping at straws to answer simple yes and no questions. Why is that? I feel that confidence is part of it. Being confident in what you know helps you to answer questions with strong answers. Also, being aware and confident in who you are allows you to speak with wisdom. Understanding life and the things that really matter help you to produce faithful instruction. Wisdom is something we all can gain, but it doesn’t happen over night. It’s developed through meditation, reading thoughtful and useful words, and putting them into practice while developing your own thoughts on different topics.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
I love this verse. It’s easily overlooked in the midst of all these other great characteristics, but I relate this to Lazy Days, Netflix and Chill, and carb loading. Let me explain: Lazy Days are fine when we deserve them, and when you deserve them, they seem more like rest days. Netflix and Chill, when you have nothing else to do and you’re bored or don’t want to do anything product, you go here to be idle. Carb loading is a real thing for body builders, but sometimes, us non-fitness folks carb load out of boredom. (Don’t feel judged, just keep reading… I’m about to make my point. Promise.)
I am so bad for binging watching a season of pretty much anything on a Saturday… so this verse hits me hard. There are days when I’m just kinda done with the whole being an adult thing, and I figuratively turn off my brain, my responsibilities, my motivation, etc. I don’t have kids yet, so I can kinda get away with it now, but it’s still a horrible habit that I need to break. Resting is super important, but just shutting down and making such a huge effort to do nothing – yeah, that’s not cool. The Proverbs 31 Woman doesn’t turn off. Sure, she rests and takes breaks, but she doesn’t just throw her hands up and walk away.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
I’m not a mom yet, but I can imagine the greatest words out of a child’s mouth being something like this. Children know people; like, they really get people. When they call someone on their character, I’d believe them over any detective anywhere. When your kids can look at you and believe you are blessed, wow, it’s real. Same for your husband. The Hubs and I joke that we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it’s true. When someone who knows you so intimately, even the not so nice parts of you, and still can say that you’re blessed, that’s huge! These are the people that know the real you and can see how you allow God to work in your life.
29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
Again, Mother Theresa. There are a few women in my life who really stand out like this, and when I try to describe them to people, I just say there name, and a wave of tingly good vibes come over me. Do you know someone like that? Someone who by just being in the same room as you makes you feel that everything is going to be way better than just okay.
I think for the most part, people try to do good. Or at least they appear to be do-gooders. There are a select few who eat, sleep and breath good deeds. It’s just like a part of their DNA to put others first and extend a helping hand. That is the Proverbs 31 woman.
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
We started this passage with a verse that expresses the rarity of this woman, and we start to close the passage seeing how she is who she is. Her fear in the Lord, her reverence of God, her faith in Christ, her longing to serve her King, her steadfastness in the journey that He set before her… A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Sometimes I read this verse and just smile because all these pretty little things are not going to be so pretty in 30-40 years. Fabric fades and skin wrinkles, but those aren’t the things that make this woman noble or virtuous. They aren’t the things that matter the most. I’m a firm believe that whats on the inside is often reflected on the outside. People will not always remember what you wore or how you look, but they will always remember how you made them feel. If you have good within you, then you will project it onto others.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
This is exactly what we are doing today, honoring her. We aren’t putting her on a pedestal or making her out to be something greater than she is, but we are simply honoring the woman described in this chapter. We are recognizing all of the traits that she holds, and we are challenging ourselves to imagine what this would look like in our own lives.
Ya’ll there is so much more that we can discover from this chapter, and I promise, we are going to dig a even deeper. This post is just scratching the surface at the foundation we are laying for our discovery of the Proverbs 31 woman. I’ll be posting more about this in the upcoming weeks and months. I would love to hear any thoughts or questions you have. Share them in the comments below, or go to the Contact Page and leave a note there.
One thought that I can’t get out of my head is the question: When a woman reaches that point of becoming a Provbers 31 Woman, does she know? Or is she so humbled by her work that it doesn’t even matter to her what titles she could be given? This will be where we take the discussion next time. I want to talk about how we view the Proverbs 31 Woman and if this should be our end goal, or if it should be our training manual to become the woman God designed us to be.
– the Wife
**A Current Day Proverbs 31 Woman**
Mrs. Donna (aka Nana) is like the Mother Theresa of Nicaragua. She cares for over 15,000 children every single day. She has made a point to have meaningful relationships with every person she meets here in Nicaragua. If you have a problem and tell her, she finds a way to help you or to get help for you. I can’t imagine having a heart as big as hers that constantly and unconditionally pours out love into so many communities. It’s a great blessing to know you and to learn how to serve through your example.
This photo says so many things to me. The little girl who is hugging her is Naomi, and she lives in a nearby community. She isn’t a part of the school that Donna and her husband Larry built, but she is member of the church where they host a feeding program every single day. Because of Donna’s ministry, little Naomi is provided with a hot meal 7 days a week.
“She is worth far more than rubies…” Proverbs 31 – This chapter defines Nana through and through.