The Proverbs 31 Woman is Worthy

Posted by on Aug 23, 2011 in Blog Posts | 0 comments

It’s Tuesday and I am focusing on THE proverbial woman.  Let me go ahead and say that sometimes this woman has intimidated me.  Okay, most of the time.  There.  I feel better for going on and clearing the air about her.  My thoughts toward her were skewed by my lack of understanding of the context of these passages about her in the Bible.

Maybe you have too.  So, like a good student of the Word, let’s begin with the context of this passage in Proverbs 31:10-31.  Read it here, even if you read it yesterday.  Read it again.  Thanks.  Hit the back button when you’re done.  I’ll sip my coffee while you take your time reading…


Bear with me as I ask a few questions and provide some answers from The Bible Knowledge Commentary.

What do you know about this book of the Bible?  It’s a collection of moral and ethical instructions dealing with many aspects of life.  The teachings in this book guide its readers in how to lead wise, godly lives and how to avoid the pitfalls of unwise, ungodly conduct.

What relevance does this book have today?  The Book of Proverbs showed the Israelites how their faith in the Lord and His Word should affect their daily lives. And it shows how believers in all ages can be wise in God’s and others’ eyes.

What is the construction of Proverbs?  There are eight sections by various authors.  This week’s reading in Proverbs is considered the eighth section and the author may or may not be King Lemuel, an Arabic king.  Thus, this passage stands alone as its own and last section of Proverbs since the author is unclear.

What is the construction of this last section?  It is an acrostic poem of the Hebrew alphabet meant to be a way for the reader to remember the instructions and wisdom within it.  (Remember our time in Psalm 119?  It was another, much longer acrostic of the Hebrew alphabet.)

What is the purpose of Proverbs?  The fivefold purpose of Proverbs is given in the introduction to the book (Prov. 1:2-4, 6): (a) “for attaining wisdom and discipline,” (b) “for understanding words of insight,” (c) “for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,” (d) “for giving prudence to the simple,” (e) “for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.” These purposes focus on helping readers live wisely and skillfully.

Proverbs were employed by parents and teachers to impart wisdom in a manner that made learning an adventure, a challenge. The purpose in using a proverb was to help the young acquire mental skills that promote wise living. Both the content and the structure of the sayings contributed to the hearers’ development. The process was a challenge and the product a reward.

The purpose of the Book of Proverbs then, is to develop in others, especially the young, a wise, skillful approach to living, which begins with being properly related to the Lord.

What is one description to summarize this Proverbs woman about whom we read? She is of noble, excellent, or virtuous character.

What does that word for, “excellent,” used in the NASB95 mean?  In the Hebrew, the word for this is “hayil” and references a woman of virtuous character.  The question “who can find?” (cf. Prov. 20:6) does not suggest that such women are nonexistent but that they should be admired because they, like noble men, are rare. Also they are more valuable than rubies (cf. a similar statement about wisdom in 8:11).

[Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). Vol. 1: The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (902). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.]

So, this woman is worthy because of her character. 

My focus tomorrow will be about her character regarding her stewardship in her home.

After reading about her again, I realize that although she may be rare, she can be found.  This type of woman does exist.  In her we have a model for how to be a woman of character in our homes and communities.  I bet you have some things in common with her. 

Opportunity for Response:
In your reading of Proverbs 31, does someone you know come to mind as a modern-day worthy woman?  What is it about her that you admire?  Please share in the comment box below.

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