Yesterday I warned you that we would be getting into the busy work of a Proverbs 31 Woman and discussing verses 31:13-18. It looks like I overshot it a little bit. I don’t want to cram a lot of information at you in one post and yet I don’t want to cut out any information I feel called to share; therefore, I decided to break it down more and cover the material in more blog posts. This study may go on forever, but I hope we all learn something.
Today, I would like to look closely at versus 13-14 and see how said verses would apply to a virtuous woman of today.
Proverbs 31:13(NIV): She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
A virtuous women of biblical times did not go to the nearest Walmart to purchase already made clothes. She didn’t even buy woven cloth for that matter. No, she made clothes out of raw material, such as wool and flax, which she may have even produced herself. This verse goes even further by stating that not only did she make clothes from raw materials, but she did it with eager hands. In other words, she did it gladly. Hmm..this just keeps getting better and better doesn’t it? Why do you think she did it gladly? I think it is because she knew it was her job to take care of her family and she took pride in a job well done. Furthermore, I think it pleased her to please God.
Does this mean that in order to be virtuous women we must make our families’ clothes from wool and flax? Well, of course not. We too are called to be good stewards with our money, but now it would look more like bargain shopping. I am not saying we have to get all our clothes from the Good Will (which I will address in further detail later), but we must be wise with our resources and not spend to the detriment of the family budget.
In addition, I would like to touch base on the “hands” part of the verse. While it is true that there are many jobs nowadays that don’t require women to work with their hands, I still think women need to know how to do so. I read on Facebook that in 50 years or so we are going to have lots of grandmas who know how to take awesome bathroom pictures, but no one will know how to knit, sew or crochet. I think this statement is both sad and true. I must confess that even I don’t know how to do any of those things. I would love to learn, but I can never seem to find the time. I want my daughters to learn, but I can’t find anyone to teach them. My not knowing how to sew has been more than an inconvenience as I am very short and I need all my pants hemmed. I am also cheap and refuse to pay someone to hem my pants since my husband went on his sewing strike 5 years ago; therefore, I have to wear very, very high heels to compensate for my too long pants. Ridiculous, I know! It is sad that our society has come to think of things as sewing as not necessary. We have become such a wasteful society and just throw things away and buy new rather than fix them. I think it has much more to do with our time than anything else (which I will address later in this study). Whatever the reason, I would like to see home economics make a comeback in our schools and society.
What I think Proverbs 31:13 really boils down to is that in order to be virtuous women, we must use our time, resources, and talents the best we possibly can and take pleasure in taking care of our families and pleasing God.
When I look at verse 13 from that perspective, it doesn’t seem all that hard.
What will I take from this passage? I will try to be more cost minded. Sometimes, due to time constraints, I just buy whatever I like, even if it is not on sale. I may not be able to do much with my hands, but I used to be a thrifty shopper when I had more time, so I know that I can be better in this area. In addition, I am bound and determined to learn how to sew even if I have to learn from U Tube. Lastly, I vow to teach my children how to plan meals, shop for meals, and cook meals. Unfortunately, my mother was a single mother much of my teenage years and did not have the time to prepare me to be a wife. I don’t want this to happen to my children. Yes, a home economics class at school would be helpful, but ultimately it is my job to teach these things to my children.
Proverbs 31:14 (NIV): She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
Okay, a virtuous women is like a merchant’s ship, and if we are to understand this simile, we must first define merchant. A merchant, according to Merriam Webster is a buyer or seller of commodities for profit, the operator of a retail business, or one that is noted for particular quality or activity. With these definitions in mind, a merchant’s ship would likely be carrying lots of different items from lots of different places. Taking all these things into account, I believe a virtuous woman is to provide a variety of foods and such for her family. Verse 14 also states that a virtuous woman brings food from a far. Does that mean we are required to travel far to provide international dishes for our families if we are to be virtuous women? Not likely. In biblical times, women often traded their homemade items for food that was not able to be found in their area; thereby they were able to provide food from afar.
How would that apply to women of today? Well, if you are a homemaker or stay at home mom, you could sell items that you made at home, not that much different than in biblical times, for money to use for food. If you work outside the home, you would use the money you earned from your job to purchase the groceries. It is kind of like an import/export thing. In order to buy something (import) you must sell something (make money) that way you are not taking anything away from the household.
In short, I think Proverbs 31:14 means that a virtuous woman is a woman who provides food for her family using her own means, which she earns through selling (trading)her goods or working for wages.
Once again, when the right perspective is applied, it doesn’t seem that hard.
So what can I take from this passage. I will no longer feel guilty about being a working mom. It is clear to me that woman have always worked, whether they got paid a salary or not, and my job provides for my family as though I was trading my goods as the women did in previous years. I think part of a virtuous woman’s job is to provide for her family, without putting additional burdens on her husband. My job allows me to purchase groceries and such; thereby I am not having to ask my husband for money to do so.
I pray that you all are still following along. I know it may seem tedious, but I think it is important to breakdown each verse so that we can fully understand what God is asking from us.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,