A virtuous woman who has command of her own spirit, who is pious and industrious, who is firm for the principles of God’s Word, is a rare prize.
Such a one is of unspeakable worth, and he who has such a wife, should show to her great kindness and respect, and to God, thankfulness of heart.
1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
10 ¶ Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth 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.
Proverbs 31:1-11 – J. Vernon McGee
Proverbs 31:12-31 – J. Vernon McGee
Proverbs 31:1-9 – The Worthy Woman
In these words of King Lemuel, we notice a mother’s influence in the education of her son. A woman is never more nobly occupied than in warning her son against the seductions of pleasure and in giving him a high sense of that which is right. The sins of the flesh have been the peculiar snare of royal personages, preventing them from pleading the cause of the desolate and ministering judgment to the poor and needy. What a contrast to the glory of the sovereignty of Jesus! When Savonarola preached with his burning eloquence in Florence, the people cried, “Jesus is our King, only Jesus!” That is what we all need. He is the King of whom His subjects need never be ashamed.
We cannot interpret Proverbs 31:6 and Proverbs 31:7 as a divine injunction, but rather as an admission that alcohol imparts a temporary stimulus to the despairing and the dying. We must remember Proverbs 20:1. Still speaking of the king, Lemuel shows how best his influence can be employed, Proverbs 31:8 and Proverbs 31:9. But the same obligation and privilege rests on us all. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Proverbs 31:10-31 – “Her Own Works Praise Her”
The ideal woman, as portrayed here, is a wife. She is the stay and confidence of her husband. Not only when she comes as a young bride into his home, in the glory and beauty of her youth, nor only when her womanly beauty holds his admiration, but long after and to the end of life she does him good. She is always busy. She is thrifty in administering his earnings. If he brings the money to her, she expends it economically for their common weal. When a friend of mine was sixty, his wife came to him with an annuity which she had purchased for them both, by her wise administration of the money entrusted to her through forty years of married life.
It is in the home-place that the man’s strength is gathered for public life. The woman in the home communicates the inspiration and strength which make him “known in the gates.” Her secret, unobtrusive loyalty, counsel, and thrift inspire a growing depth of appreciation; so that the man who chose her in the spring will say of her amid the snows of age, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” —Through the Bible Day by Day
Proverbs 31:11—The heart of her husband doth safely trust to her.
This alphabetical poem to godly womanhood is one of the gems of Old Testament Scriptures. Clearly the Hebrew woman was held in high honour, and had as much freedom of action as she enjoys in Christian countries. Herein the contrast was very marked, as against the women of other Oriental nations. But in the whole delineation there is hardly any trait more beautiful than this—absolute trustworthiness. You can see the pair together: the husband comes in from sitting among the elders, his heart weighted with affairs of state, and he seeks her confidence and advice. He has no fear of her betraying his secrets. He can safely trust her.
This surely is the most sacred joy a woman can have. To be consulted, to be trusted, to share the common toils and responsibilities. Who would not work willingly with her hands, and rise while yet night, and engage in ceaseless toils, if only she had the inspiration that trust brings!
“If then your future life should need
A strength my love can only gain
Through suffering—or my heart be freed
Only by sorrow from some stain,
Then you shall give, and I will take
This Crown of fire for Love’s dear sake.”
Can Christ, in like manner, safely trust us? (John 2:24). Can He trust us with his secrets, his interests, his money? Abraham was one whom God could safely trust, and He did trust him as his friend: “Shall I hide from Abraham?… For I know him” (Genesis 18:17, 19). It is required of us also that we be absolutely trustworthy. —Our Daily Homily
IS THIS “WOMAN’S SPHERE?”
The home is the holy of holies where angels love to dwell. Its sacred precincts are more inviolate than the inner sanctuary of Israel’s temple. God has made it the ark of his covenant between himself and his children from generation to generation. It is the oracle and fount for instruction in religion and morals and patriotism. It is the altar where holy fires of ambition and inspiration and enthusiasm are kindled. And yet there are those, and sometimes there are women, who see no opportunity for deep pleasure or high duty at the home fireside, but must find it in outside engagements, in pursuit of baubles of worldly place or social distinction. This is not woman’s sphere. Her hand belongs not on the throttle of this world’s busy life, but on the cradle, where character begins to take form. There she belongs and there she may sit to mold the future of two worlds. Only of such will it be said: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”