As you may have read in my blog A Woman Among Women, I’m going to dive into Proverbs 31:10-31 to learn what The Worthy Woman looks like and, hopefully, also see how I can become such a woman.
Before I begin, I just want to bring up a little something about Bible translations. I have stated more than once that I read the New American Standard Bible (NASB) version because it is a literal translation of the original texts. Like the King James Version, it was translated virtually word for word from the original Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic languages. I have, however, discovered a translation that uses even simpler terms, but it also explains why it has used that term. It’s called the New English Translation (NET) and it is wonderfully helpful. I will be referring to this translation and it’s notes during this study of Proverbs 31.
Today I want to look at the first three verses of that section of Proverbs 31.
Proverbs 31:10-12 (NASB)
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.
An excellent wife, who can find? Who can find, indeed? This is, of course, a rhetorical question and is written as such as part of the poetry of this passage. It reminds me of Shakespeare.
The idea of having a worth far above jewels is an odd one. Many women struggle with self-worth issues. More do than don’t, I’m sure. I struggle with it myself. But, as the Bible is the inspired Word of God, if He says we are worth far more than jewels, I have to believe it.
The heart of her husband trusts in her. The NET version says, “The heart of her husband has confidence in her.” However you read it, this sentence is pretty self-explanatory. As we need to have confidence and trust in our husbands it goes without saying that the same applies to them. However, the second part of that verse explores the idea of confidence even more. And he will have no lack of gain. The NET notes for the term “gain” are very interesting:
The Hebrew word used here for “gain” (שָׁלָל, shalal) is unusual; it means “plunder; spoil” of war primarily (e.g., Isa 8:1-4 and the name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz). The point is that the gain will be as rich and bountiful as the spoils of war. The wife’s capabilities in business and domestic matters guarantee a rich profit and inspire the confidence of her husband.
This explanation of this word cements our (women’s) purpose on this planet as helpers. God created us to be man’s helpers (Genesis 2:18-22). And it’s not even necessarily about helping your husband in his work or business as the last sentence may imply to you.
Think about this; how can we inspire confidence in our husbands?
In my first marriage I was a worse housekeeper than I am now. Today, I have legitimate physical issues that make some housekeeping duties impossible for me to do. Back then, there were no such issues. I just hated doing housework. I spent my days looking after my son and watching television.
I remember being admonished by a friend of my parents (my parents lived in another country at the time, otherwise I’d have probably heard it from them). He said, “Coming home to a house that’s clean and inviting can make a man very happy.” or something to that effect. My first husband was abusive, so making him happy was not on my list of priorities and I shrugged off what this man said. But he was right, wasn’t he?
When we aspire to be and do the best we can, we inspire our husbands to do the same. (Of course, as our husbands are required to love us as they love themselves, they should be accepting of our limitations.)
Now we come to the more sensitive area of these three verses. She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life. The NET notes say this:
The joining of these two words, “good” and “evil,” is frequent in the Bible; they contrast the prosperity and well-being of her contribution with what would be devastating and painful. The way of wisdom is always characterized by “good”; the way of folly is associated with “evil.”
“She does him good and not evil.” How do we do evil to our husbands? It can be such a myriad of things, big and small. Do you ever nag? Mock? Roll your eyes? Belittle him? I know that I have. Everyone has. If you say you haven’t, you’re probably lying. I’m not saying that always we do these thing intentionally, but we do them.
I’m am terrible about rolling my eyes at my husband (and my children for that matter). I hate that I do that and it seems impossible to catch myself before I do it.
My husband and I are on very different wavelengths in one aspect in particular. My husband is very intelligent. He isn’t, however, an intellectual. I am. And I have a tendency to use words he doesn’t understand. I don’t do it on purpose, it’s just the way I talk. But, when he doesn’t understand me, what do I do? I roll my eyes. How belittling is that? And like I said, it happens before I can catch it. How to change that, I haven’t figured out. I either have to give him much more grace so that I’m not inclined to do it, or I have to change the way I talk…oy. Neither sounds too easy. I guess it’s something I have to take to the Lord more often.
So how do we do good to our husbands? It’s a pretty simple concept; we don’t do the above mentioned evil. We encourage him, support him, cheer him on, and show him the respect that the Lord requires of us. Is this always easy to do? Not so much. But as I said in my other blog concerning Proverbs 31, our strength and abilities in being godly wives does not come from our us, and I don’t believe that it ever could. We must keep our eyes firmly on God in order to love and respect our husbands with His strength.
Doing him good and not evil is, I think the core of these three verses. He will never be able to trust in us if we constantly nag and belittle him. We must put our marriages in God’s hands and rely on Him for strength and grace so that we can be the helpers God intended us to be.
Let’s pray about this, shall we?
Dear God in Heaven, I have fallen so short of Your expectations in being a helper to my mate. Give me the strength and grace to always put his needs ahead of my own so that he can grow in You. I want to be a source of inspiration to him. Help me to do that. Show me how I can be the most edifying and supportive wife I can be for my husband. Thank you for giving him to me and please bless all his days. In the name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.
Well, we’ve uncovered only the tip of the iceberg…and these were the verses that are easy to understand. It might just get a little harder from here on in, but I’m determined to try. I do have a few other resources that I will be referring to.
I welcome any comments because I know there are many insightful people out there and I’d love to learn from you.
Well, stay tuned and
Be immersed in His Grace,