I warned you last week that I would begin my study on the Proverbs 31 Woman and have indeed started. I know some of you are absolutely thrilled-NOT! Yes, this can be a tender subject for some, but it is not my intention to undermine the women’s lib movement or brow beat people over their inadequacies. It is my hope that you will find encouragement and practical applications that will help you be a better wife, mother, father, husband, sister, brother, friend, or just a better person. I assumed God wanted me to highlight what actions we should be taking or not taking, but once again, my plans were not his plans. I feel called to do a thorough study of the Proverbs 31, each verse, each line, and maybe at times, word by word. I hope you will stay with as I am super excited to see what God has to teach us. [Yah, I don’t know where this is going either.]
In Proverbs 31: 1-9 King Lemuel is sharing instructions his mother had given him as a child. There are conflicting opinions on who King Lemuel really was. Some believe he was actually Solomon, while others believe he was a King from a neighboring country. Whoever King Lemuel was, I think the important part is that even princes (who later become Kings) need instructions from their parents, which reinforces the saying that great leaders are made and not born. These verses are filled with great instructions, but it is my goal to focus on verses 10-31.
Proverbs 31:10-31, in short, is a description of a virtuous wife, in 22 verses, laid out in Hebrew alphabetical order, much like the Psalms. Some use this unique styling to bolster their argument that verses 10-31 were not part of King Lemuel mother’s instructions, but rather a separate poem in and of itself. I disagree with this argument, however, my opinion is not important but rather that we have a set of instructions or qualifications to help us become a virtuous wife/woman or pick out a virtuous wife. Yes, these qualifications were designed around the woman in biblical days, but if you look closely, you can see that these qualifications still hold true today. For those of you who hold steadfast to the New Testament, you can find shorten versions of the Proverbs 31 wife in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:1-6.
Proverbs 31:10 “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.”
I must confess that I have often skipped over this line. I wanted to get straight to the “meat” and in doing so I missed out on something God had for me. Since I am trying to do a more thorough study this time around, I began by asking myself what is the definition of virtuous. Merriam-Webster defines it as morally excellent and righteous. My common sense tells me a virtuous wife is a wife who lives by moral principles. Then I began to wonder how the bible defines virtuous. I thought there would be an easy answer; I was wrong. Due to different translations and languages, there are quite a few different interpretations of virtuous. After looking up different meanings for the Greek and Hebrew words for virtuous, I came to the conclusion that we complicate everything! I seriously was ready to pull my hair out and it actually delayed this post(this was supposed to be posted yesterday). On a more serious note, I found the most common and accepted definitions of virtuous include the following :
1. Manly power, excellence, valor, and strength (Exodus 18:21, Philippians 4:8);
2. Moral goodness (2 Peter 1:5);
3. Chaste-pure in thoughts & acts (when applied to women) (1 Peter 3:2).
(King James Dictionary, biblehistory.com., bibledictionaries.com, bible.org, middletownbiblechurch.org, Matthew Henry Commentary-biblestudytools.com, Adam Clarke Commentay-studylight.org)
Therefore, using the definitions above, what verse 10 is really asking is “Who can find a strong and capable wife? Who can find an excellent and capable wife? Who can find a capable wife with moral goodness? Who can find a wife that is pure and capable? Using those widely accepted definitions, it seems that it would not be hard to find such a wife. However, the second part of verse 10 lets us know that is not true –“She is more precious than rubies.” A ruby is a precious stone. It is a precious stone because it is rare. The cost of a ruby is higher than a rock because it is more valuable than a rock as a rock can be found anywhere. If we had the definition of a virtuous woman right as listed above, would it be hard to find a strong and capable wife? I think not. Would it be hard to find a wife who is capable and morally good? I don’t think so. This leads me to believe that we are missing something.
I was not kidding when I said that yesterday I got overwhelmed by research. I ,once again, fell to my temptation of turning the word of God into a research project and failed to see what God was trying to show me. I woke up this morning with God telling me that his definition of a virtuous is Proverbs 31:10-31. It is that simple. A virtuous wife is not just one of those things as defined above, but all of those things. You see, as a wife I usually get one or two of the qualifications right, but I don’t know that I have ever been all of those things. I don’t think I am alone, which makes it a rare thing to find a woman who is. However, just because it is rare to find one, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be one.
As we go through this study, I encourage you all to make a list, either mentally or on paper, of each facet of virtuous. It is my goal to try to incorporate each facet into my daily life. No, I may not always get it right, but I am going to strive for it because if God’s word says it can be done, IT CAN BE DONE!
Dear Lord, thank you for opening my eyes today and not allowing me to give up when I felt I had come to a brick wall. Thank you for humbly me so that I could glean much more understanding and see the importance in your every word. I am asking you to keep me humble and help me become the wife and mother I was made to be. Help me be your vessel Lord and use me to bring your word to others. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
Until next time,stay safe and God bless,