“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1 NASB). Many of the Bible heroes show great boldness—the boldness to fight a giant (1 Samuel 17:34-37), the boldness to worship only God and be tossed into a fire (Daniel 3:16-18), the boldness to pray at risk of death (Daniel 6:10), the boldness to use trials as an opportunity to teach about Jesus (Acts 24-26). There is great strength to be found in righteous living: strength of will, strength of character, and strength from God. Righteous living frees us from the shame and guilt of the wicked. It frees us from the worry of being found out. It frees us from the concern of pleasing men. The righteous should have every reason to be confident and courageous in serving a great and mighty God.
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:30-31 NASB). This is the most important characteristic of a virtuous woman—she fears the Lord. If this one is in place, the other characteristics will fall in line. Too many women try to find their worth in attractive appearances. Charm and beauty, however, are deceitful. They do not reveal the true person and they are fleeting. The real worth of a woman is her devotion to God. Such a woman endowed with the virtues set forth in this poem deserves the praise (v. Proverbs 31:31). Such a woman should be given appreciation, care, and kindness. She has produced them for others and her family should give back to her. She deserves recognition so others will follow her example. While all of this is good, remember the key is her fearing the Lord! The Book of Proverbs starts and finishes with this crucial concept.
“Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all’” (Proverbs 31:28-29 NASB). This is part of the reward for being a virtuous woman. Regardless of what today’s screeching feminist say, a life spent taking care of your family is a worthy and noble career. She is not a slave to her husband, but a person in her own right who takes and fulfills an honored place in the life of the home and community. The world may not recognize it, but her family should and ought to publicly praise her for her work.
“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27 NASB). The virtuous wife is alert to the needs of her family and readily meets these needs. She watches closely what is going on in her husband and children’s lives. She can tell when something is not right and perhaps even anticipate their needs. When a need arises, she does not give in to idleness, she takes care of the problem. She sees taking care of her family as a sacred duty and takes the responsibility seriously.
“She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26 NASB). The virtuous woman has made a concentrated effort to speak wholesome, edifying words (cf. Ephesians 4:29). This means she is not a gossip, a slanderer, or a rumormonger. She doesn’t use her words as an opportunity to hurt and tear down others, she uses them to build and encourage. This is a woman who you can go to for advice and trust her to keep the matter private. We should all make it our goal to speak in such kind and trustworthy ways.
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future” (Proverbs 31:25 NASB). The virtuous wife has a positive outlook on life. Whatever trials and stresses she faces, she has not let them make her weak or lose her dignity. She has made her arms strong and prepared herself with strength (cf. Proverbs 31:17). She doesn’t worry about the future, she faces it with boldness. is going to face the future with boldness.
“She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen” (Proverbs 31:24 NASB). The virtuous wife’s workmanship is of high quality and desired by others. This is perhaps an expansion of what Proverbs 31:18 is talking about. It is clear the woman being described is hard working, diligent, and skillful. Her work is and should be greatly praised.
“Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land” (Proverbs 31:23 NASB). The virtuous wife has a well known and respected husband. Since he trusts her and she manages the home so effectively, he has been able to focus on his work. Often, a man’s public image depends upon his wife. Some scholars think this is because she dresses her husband well. One of the best reputations a man can have is to be known as the husband of a good wife.
“She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple” (Proverbs 31:22 NASB). The virtuous wife looks to herself as well. It would be easy for her to spend all her time on the poor and her household, but she knows she needs to take care of herself as well. If she does not, she will not be able to take care of her household effectively for long. So, she has spent some time for herself and the things she wants and needs. She has dressed herself well. There is a balance to the worthy woman’s life.
“She is not afraid of the snow for her household, For all her household are clothed with scarlet” (Proverbs 31:21 NASB). The virtuous wife doesn’t have to worry that her family will be unprepared for the weather because she has prepared them. Scarlet was typically an expensive color and was a symbol of quality—her family is well dressed. Notice the worthy woman’s most repeated quality is her care for her household (cf. Titus 2:4-5). Whatever other activities she may be involved in do not hinder her from caring for the needs of her family and home.