A Modern Version of the Proverbs 31 Wife
In Titus 2 God challenges women to mentor other ladies who are entering seasons of life those of us that are older have since passed through. We are to put our pride aside in the name of vulnerability so our friends can learn from our failures and successes. God calls us to teach and guide so “younger women will know how to love their husbands and children…keep a good house, be good wives.”
WHAT??? You cannot be serious!
Before you search for the delete button, do not let the biblical words from more than 2,000 years ago cause your 21st century mind to scream, “Keep a good house?! When I have a business to run and children to raise?! Really?!” I would like to offer a modern-day interpretation of these biblical words so we can see the truth behind the Proverbs 31 woman.
I have grouped the below verses by category as opposed to chronological order and created titles that, in my opinion, summarize each theme. For full context of these verses, you should read Proverbs 31:10-31. Side note: King Lemuel is mentioned as the author of these passages, but many biblical scholars believe the author was King Solomon, thus making Bathsheba, Queen to King David, the mother in these verses. It is the mother who is imparting her sage advice to her son, Solomon.
“A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.”
Women tend to search for the fairy tale. We want the knight. Men, on the other hand, search for a partner to “do life” with. They look for a woman they can trust to be by their side, to be their cheerleader and encourager. Someone who will overlook their faults and love them anyway. Most husbands will reveal they have more confidence in themselves when they know their wife is on their team. A woman who believes in her husband and lifts him up. If that support disappears, a man can feel insecure in his pursuits. A “good woman” is a lifeline for a man, thus being far greater than any diamond.
Trustworthy: “Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.” Just as we expect our husband’s to be trustworthy, so, too, do our husbands expect their wives to be trustworthy. There is no greater freedom within a marriage than when a man knows he can count on his wife to be there for the family. He knows she has his back even when it feels the world is against him. When a husband can rely on his wife there is a peace that permeates through him freeing him to focus on what God has called him to do.
“She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She is skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.”
During the days of Solomon women made the fabric and sewed the garments. To put this in context for today’s modern woman we are to be diligent in whatever task God has given us. We are not to waste our days. Whatever calling has been placed on our life (corporate businesswoman, full-time volunteer, stay-at-home mom) we are to be trained and skilled in this area and tackle the day head on. To summarize, we take care of our responsibilities and do not leave our work for someone else to do. We also ensure there are no idle hands in our home. Our son grew up hearing the phrase, “A tired boy is a good boy.” No idle hands were allowed.
Provider: “She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor. She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.” Women are natural nurturers. Like a mother bird in her nest, we want those in our care to be safely tucked under our wings. We watch out for our families and those in our sphere of influence. We make sure they are fed and are prepared for life’s storms. Our care is to extend beyond our family to those less fortunate. These verses remind us that showing hospitality to others is an important part of God’s will.
“She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops. She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.”
This section may be my favorite, because it speaks directly to those of us who work outside the home. This biblical wife has business smarts and she is not afraid to use her knowledge to influence the world around her. She is a fashion designer and a saleswoman. She is a real estate investor and a farmer. She is confident and knows her value in the world, and she uses her skills to provide for her family.
Elegant: “She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile. When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.”
During King Solomon’s time linens and silk were expensive items. The Proverb’s wife knows her importance! She takes care of herself, and she presents a good image. As a provider and protector of her family, she knows she must be able to influence those around her to achieve her objectives. Her internal and external image are important in accomplishing this goal. She maintains her health. (Important note: As women, we are pulled in many directions. We serve others first, and if anything remains, we take the leftovers. If we do not take time to recharge our batteries, we cannot fully be present in the lives of those closest to us. Our tanks will be drained and there will be nothing left to give. There are seasons of life where this is more difficult, but never feel guilty for giving yourself a break.) The Proverbs woman also commands attention. When we speak, people should stop to listen, because our words are worthy. We should speak from a place of strength yet always showing civility.
Queen Bee: “Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers. Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise: ‘Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all!’ Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!”
When we enter marriage, we become partners with our husband. A man that has a wife as described in Proverbs is a man that will be greatly respected because, SHE is greatly respected. As covenant partners we become a reflection of each other. My husband’s reputation will affect me, and my reputation will affect him. A Proverbs 31 wife is respected by her family and community, but she works hard to earn that respect. We all love to be praised, but the words I love to hear most come from my family when they shout, “You are awesome!”
When our son was growing up, we taught him the traits he should look for when searching for a wife. We explained there are diamonds and rhinestones in the world. Both will shine brightly, but the rhinestone is only an imitation of the diamond. It is fake, weak, and will eventually lose its luster. Whereas the diamond is beautiful, strong, and will last a lifetime. “How do I find the diamond,” he asked. “Son, you must search the heart. When you see the beauty of God shining back at you, then you will know you have found your diamond.”
To be a Proverbs wife means many things, but most importantly, it means putting God first in our lives. It is only through him that we have the tools to tackle each day. He shows us grace when we forget to pack school lunches. He calms our nerves when our patience runs out. He holds us up when we cry out, “I cannot take another step!” God does not call us to be a perfect wife or mom. If we had this ability, then why do we need a Savior? The call from God is to put him first. When we do, things that once seemed important suddenly begin to fade. They lose their appeal because they were not worthy pursuits.
When I dwell on the verses in Proverbs 31 my take-away is to seek Him first, and when we do, everything else falls into place. Then, and only then, will our name be praised!
Together with you,