A Woman of Valor

Photo of my mom, Jean Backus, a woman of valor

January 15, 2023

This week we read the book of Proverbs. This is a book that is considered poetry, like the book of Psalms. Proverbs was written by King Solomon, who was King David and Bathsheba’s son. Solomon was asked if he could have anything what would it be, and he asked for wisdom from God. He received it. This book is a small sample of what he wrote. I am going to focus on the last proverb, and this is frequently called the Proverb’s 31 woman or a woman of valor.

Proverb’s 31:1 says “The sayings of King Lemuel-an oracle his mother taught him”

  • We don’t know King Lemuel, but many feel it was another name for King Solomon. What we know is that it means “One given by God.”
  • These were the recommendations a mother made to a son about what type of woman he should look for in a wife.
  • In Proverbs 1:8-9 King Solomon says, “and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

In verses 10-31 the king lists 22 characteristics that make up the perfect wife. It is a poem and is written in Hebrew alphabetical order. Here is the scripture. I will discuss in more detail after you read.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

This woman is amazing and is this way because she fears (has reverence) the Lord.  She has a great relationship with her husband. She is trustworthy, wise, a great teacher, strong, dignified and celebrates the future. She is a hard-worker. She starts her day early and is able to buy, sell and trade goods, she is a merchant. She is a realtor, seamstress, and manager of her home. She also helps out the poor and needy.

Thus, she is godly, has good character, and is a hard worker.

Sometimes this seems impossible to achieve. But as one pastor said, “don’t see her as a model to imitate in every detail; see her instead as an inspiration to be all that God made you to be.”

In summary, the Proverbs 31 woman is:  a woman who loves the Lord with heart, mind and strength, has good character, and is a hard-worker in whatever gifts or abilities she has.

Question: What characteristics inspire you about the woman of valor?

For your review, I have gone through each verse.

10: Noble character. The word noble means strong, or a woman of valor. It is the same word used to describe Ruth in the book of Judges. Merriam Webster defines valor as “strength of mind or spirit that enable a person to encounter danger with firmness. Personal bravery.” This mom is telling her son to find a woman who has inner strength.

11. Full confidence: This means trustworthy.

12. She brings him good, not harm: The word for harm in the Hebrew language means wicked, disagreeable, inferior. This wife is trustworthy and a positive person in his life.

13. Works with eager hands: she takes pleasure in her work. She does not complain.

14. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar: This woman is importing goods from afar.

15. Gets up at night, provides for her family and female servants: She is an early riser, and does what is needed to provide for everyone.

16. Considers a field, buys it; out of her earnings plants a vineyard: She is a leader in the home. She knows the finances and is able to buy land, and make money, and provide even more for the family.

17. Sets about work vigorously, her arms are strong: She is not just mentally strong, but physically.

18. Her trading is profitable, lamp does not go out at night: Another way to make money, and is constantly on alert.

19. Holds the distaff and grasps the spindle: She not only works to make money, but also spins her wool.

20. Opens arms to the poor and extends hands to the needy: She thinks of other and gives to those in need.

21. When it snows she has no fear for her household because they are clothed in scarlet: she is prepared and her family has warm clothes.

22. Makes bed coverings, and she is clothed in fine linen and purple: she makes her own high quality clothes.

23. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders: Because she is trustworthy and hard-working, the husband is not worried, and able to sit at the city gait and be the leader he is suppose to be.

24. Makes linen garments, sells them, supplies the merchants with sashes: Makes and sells garments.

25. Clothed with strength and dignity; can laugh at the days to come: She is not worried about the days ahead because she is organized, and has been able to make a profit from her hard work. She is strong and dignified.

26. Speaks wisdom, and faithful (kind) instruction: she is knowledgeable and kind when she instructs others.

27. Watches over the affairs of her household, does not eat the bread of idleness: she keeps her home in good order and is not lazy.

28. Her children call her blessed; husband also and he praises her: her husband and children speak well of her and the husband is thankful for her.

29. She surpasses them all: she is the best of the best.

30. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised: This is a woman who loves the Lord which is the most important quality to have. It is more important than looks or charmful ways.

31. Honor her and let her works be praised at the city gate: She is an amazing woman and you should honor her in front of others and let them know how great she is.

Next week we will read 2 more books written by Solomon: All of Ecclesiastes and all of the Song of Songs.

Have a blessed week.

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