Proverbs 31 is a chapter that describes the qualities of a virtuous woman. It is a chapter that has long been celebrated and used in the church as a guide for women who aspire to lead a life of integrity, purpose, and service.
The Portrait of a Virtuous Woman
Here are the character traits to emulate:
- Noble character – a wife of noble character, who can find? (Verse 10)
The passage starts by emphasizing how rare a woman of noble character is. It is a privilege for a husband to find such a woman for a wife. Not only is she a blessing to her husband and children but her neighbors and society at large.
- Trustworthiness – her husband has full confidence in her. (Verse 11)
Trust is one of the most important ingredients in marriage. Lack of trust erodes love and destroys the foundation of marriage. A trustworthy spouse will be faithful and will do everything in their power to make their marriage work.
- Diligence and Hard Work – She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands (Verse 13). She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar (verse 14). She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. (Verse 15)
Even though a man is meant to be the provider in the family, it is not an excuse for the woman to be lazy. The Proverbs 31 woman did not just sit and home and wait for her hubby to come through. Instead, she worked hard to help her family.
- Resourcefulness – She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings, she plants a vineyard. (Verse 16)
She is resourceful, seeking out opportunities to improve her family’s well-being. For instance, in Proverbs 31 women worked diligently and raised capital to invest in a vineyard.
- Strength and Energy- She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. (Verse 17)
The importance of physical fitness is also emphasized. This makes sense because she is a hard worker which calls for physical strength and endurance. Whether a homemaker or a career person, the noblewoman should spare time to take care of her body to ensure she is healthy and fit.
- Generosity and Compassion – She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. (Verse 20)
Another important character trait of the woman described in Proverbs 31 is her generosity and compassion. A virtuous woman will extend her hands to the poor and needy, demonstrating a generous and compassionate heart.
- Wisdom and Instruction – She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. (Verse 26)
Wisdom and common sense have one thing in common – they are not so common. But the virtuous woman is described as one who is wise based on her words. Unlike the foolish woman who is rash with her mouth, the virtuous woman is slow to anger, quick to listen, and slow to speak. (James 1:19)
- Responsibility and Leadership – She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Verse 27)
Another important quality that we see is the responsibility and leadership that the woman demonstrates. The woman is portrayed as managing her household affairs efficiently. She demonstrates leadership by taking personal initiative to provide for her family. She wakes up early to fix the meals for her family and provides warm clothes for her children and husband during the winter months. All these are examples of how she was a responsible leader.
- Respected in the Community – Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also praises her (verse 28). Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Verse 31)
The woman is described as noble in character and it comes as no surprise that she commands respect in her household as well as the community at large. As the scripture records, both her husband and children praise her and even the members of the community honor her.
- Fear of the Lord – Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Verse 30)
After talking about the qualities of the virtuous woman, Solomon summarises by reminding the reader that charm and beauty fade away but a woman who fears the Lord should be honored. This means that the best quality of all the ones identified is that the woman feared the Lord. It is an important observation because the book of Proverbs talks a lot about the fear of the Lord.
- What qualities or characteristics from the Proverbs 31 woman do you find most admirable or inspiring, and why?
- The passage emphasizes the rarity of a woman of noble character. In what ways do you think society and culture influence the development of noble character in individuals?
- The Proverbs 31 woman is described as diligent and hardworking. How can a balance be struck between being a hard worker and taking care of one’s well-being and health?
- The woman in this passage is depicted as resourceful. What are some practical ways individuals can be more resourceful in improving their family’s well-being or contributing to their communities?
- Physical strength and endurance are emphasized. In what ways does maintaining physical health contribute to one’s ability to fulfill their responsibilities and lead a productive life?
- The Proverbs 31 woman is respected in her community. What are some ways in which individuals can earn respect in their families and communities, and why is this respect significant?
- The fear of the Lord is considered the most important quality. How can one cultivate a genuine reverence for God, and in what ways can it impact their character and actions?
- Are there any qualities or aspects of the Proverbs 31 woman’s character that you believe are particularly relevant or challenging in today’s society? How can these qualities be applied in a modern context?
- What are some practical steps individuals can take to strive toward becoming more like the Proverbs 31 woman, regardless of their gender or life circumstances?