A Wife of Noble Character

Proverbs 31 is an oracle that King Lemuel was taught by his mother (v. 1). Before she describes the famous wife of noble character (often simply called the Proverbs 31 Woman), she gives her son more generic wisdom that begins like this: “Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings” (v. 3). She obviously did not mean for her son to reject women altogether since the bulk of the chapter is spent describing the ideal wife, but she was warning her son against the kind of women that “destroy kings.” Lemuel’s mother knew that a woman, even the wife of a king, could either be an invaluable source of strength and support for her husband or the root of his very downfall. The irony of this whole chapter, of course, is that Solomon who wrote the majority of Proverbs had his heart turned away from the LORD by also devoting himself the gods of his many, many wives (1 Kings 11:4).

Indeed, the excellent wife is of more value than any jewels, which is a bit of an understatement since Proverbs 31 is essentially describing the first female superhero. She has the trust of her husband’s heart, and she is a fountain of blessing for him. He praises her, and her children likewise call her blessed. Her hands are strong as she makes merchandise to be sold, clothes her children against the cold, works in her garden, and ensures that her family is well fed. She gives freely to the poor, and wisdom pours from her lips whenever they open to speak. She is kind, wise, strong, and industrious. Who can find such a wife?

Today marks eight years of being married to my excellent wife. As a woman who fears the LORD, she is worth being praised. “Strength and dignity are her clothing,” and for these eight years, I have had “no lack of gain.” Indeed, “many women have done excellently, but [she] surpasses them all” (v. 29).

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