I’ve recently subscribed to Proverbs 31 Ministries for newsletters and devotional emails. I think I found that website through a blog but I don’t remember which one; and speaking of which, I’ve actually been reading a lot of articles and blogs on the subject of Proverbs 31. (I have to wonder if they plan it this way…do all these writers plan together what they’re writing? Of course I’m sure they don’t, but it’s weird how a bunch of the emailed devotionals and blogs received on the same day are often on the same topic.)
Now, you may not know what I’m talking about when I say Proverbs 31, other than the fact that you may recognize that it’s from the Bible. What’s significant about Proverbs 31, specifically starting at verse 10 then through the rest of the chapter, is that it deals with women exclusively. This passage is titled “The Virtuous Woman” or “The Worthy Woman” or something like that depending on what translation of the Bible you read. I read the New American Standard Bible translation myself (I read this translation because it’s one of the versions of the Bible that is most literally translated from the original language). Here is that passage in that translation:
Description of a Worthy Woman
10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
14She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
20She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
26She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
This looks pretty bizarre, doesn’t it? Not to mention impossible. Who would have the energy to be a woman like this?
Is it possible? I think it is; it has to be. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. God wouldn’t put in guidelines for our lives that we have no chance of doing. Of course, a lot of things that God expects of us are impossible to do on our own; we have to allow them to be done by God through us. The impossible can be accomplished this way.
I’ve decided that I’m going to unpack this passage of Scripture, one verse (or maybe two) at a time. (I know I said in a previous blog that I want to do the same to the book of Job because I may as well be reading it in Hebrew for all the sense it makes to me but what can I say, I thrive on multi-tasking.) Now, I am doing this for my own benefit, but I’ll probably do it on my blog for anyone else who shares the same desire; a desire to be a woman after God’s own heart – a woman of godly integrity. A woman whose worth is far above jewels.
So, by all means, join me on this journey. I’d like to start by sharing a blog written by the very lovely Dawn Wilson that is on the subject of being a Proverbs 31 woman. (I highly recommend subscribing to her and Pam Farrel’s blog; they’re great!) I wrote a lengthy comment to her wonderful insight, so by all means read that too. You’ll see where this little Bible study will eventually take us.
So, I’ll leave you with that for now. Stay tuned and
Be immersed in His glorious Grace,