Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far
above rubies. – Proverbs 31:10
A virtuous woman – what does that mean? Today’s world (as a whole) has adapted to the idea that a woman should dress with sex appeal, work 60-70 hours every week in a huge career (leaving the children in others’ hands), gossip with friends over drinks, live with a man before marrying him, and run the household solo (not necessarily single but the man submits to her). That is not what the Bible describes when speaking of this virtuous woman who is worth more than rubies.
First of all, so that we are on the same page, let’s establish something. Rubies are considered one (if not the) most precious of gems. According to gemsociety.org, “Rubies are the most valuable members of the corundum family. Large gem quality rubies can be more valuable than comparably sized diamonds and are certainly rarer.” Think about that a minute. Diamonds have always been promoted as a symbol of prestige and value, a delight to women all over the world. Rubies are more valuable than that? That is pretty amazing. That also means that God values a virtuous woman in a huge way!
The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines virtuous as morally good, abstaining from vice, being in conformity to moral law, and chaste. Basically, it means to be morally excellent and righteous. Nobody can achieve this without the help of the Lord. One cannot establish morals and righteous thinking/living without the Holy Ghost’s leading. Those that believe they can are swimming in self-righteousness, which is far from virtuous.
In Proverbs 31, God gives a detailed explanation of things that make a woman virtuous.
1. Proverbs 31:11 – The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
This means that a woman is faithful to her husband in every way. He can have confidence in her, and she will not let him down. She will stay faithful in every area and will abstain from the appearance of evil.
2. Proverbs 31:12 – She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:23 – Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
A wife is supposed to support her husband. She needs to build him up and instill confidence in him. She needs to make him look good amongst the brethren, not foolish. She is told to be submissive to her husband and to care for him. Do not fear the word submissive. Submission is not slavery but given out of love. It means to voluntarily cooperate and share a burden. A virtuous woman will not participate or display any form of evil.
3. Proverbs 31:13 – She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:14 – She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
Some may go to the opposite extreme and believe that woman should not do any form of work, and that is not true. A woman should be hard working and do so willingly. It is not a sin for a woman to work out of the household even, but it is a sin to make work the central focus instead of her family! God made women the keepers of the home, and there is no shame in that at all!
4. Proverbs 31:15 – She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
What God is telling us is that a virtuous woman rises early and is not lazy. She makes sure her family is fed and taken care of. Her primary concern is the welfare of her husband and children.
5. Proverbs 31:16 – She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Proverbs 31:17 – She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
The wife shares the responsibility with the husband in taking care of the financial needs. She helps wherever she can. Again, she is not lazy and does not expect her husband to do everything. Hard work makes a woman strong and dependable.
6. Proverbs 31:18 – She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night.
A virtuous woman protects what is her own. She appreciates her husband and children, and she works to keep them. She adapts and sacrifices as needed.
7. Proverbs 31:19, 31:20 – She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
God tends to repeat things as He sees them essential for us to remember. Here He is reminding us again that a virtuous woman is neither lazy nor selfish. She has a humble, giving and loving heart.
8. Proverbs 31:21, 31:22 – She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple.
A virtuous woman makes sure that her family has warm clothing and is protected from the winter cold. She also makes sure that she is properly dressed herself. The world has made it negative for a woman to dress for her husband, but the Lord wants a wife to dress modestly and nicely to reflect well upon him. Even more importantly, to reflect well upon the Lord!
9. Proverbs 31:24, 31:25 – She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
Proverbs 31:29 – Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou
excellest them all.
A virtuous woman is righteous and upright. The Lord will reward her for her virtue, and she will one day hear the words, “Well done thy good and faithful servant!”
10. Proverbs 31:26, 31:27, 31:28 – She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.”
She should speak words of kindness that edifies those around her. Her husband and children see her as unselfish, loving, and caring. They should know how much she loves them through her actions, not merely words. She is a selfless mother and wife, and a faithful servant of the Lord.
11. Proverbs 31:30, 31:31 – Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
One should not determine a spouse by their outside beauty as it can be deceitful. The most beautiful thing in the eyes of the Lord is a woman who reverences God and lives a righteous life. A man should consider themselves blessed to obtain a woman of God whose heart truly seeks the Lord’s Will in her life and her family’s. A woman of this caliber will display works for the Lord that will speak for themselves. She will receive the praise of our Lord and King!!
I know the world laughs at these standards. I hear it all the time, “It is so old-fashioned.” “God wrote that at the time when that was true. Things have changed.” “Welcome to the 21st Century. The world is different now.”
I agree, the world is different now. However, my God has not changed. He is immutable. Just because the world bought into Satan’s lie that it is okay for a woman to be promiscuous and live selfishly, does not mean it is right. God doesn’t give us this detailed of a guideline unless it is truly important. I pray that He will mold me to be this virtuous woman who He desires all his daughters to be!
As my Grandma Kelly always said, “If the Bible says it is right – it is! If the Bible says it is wrong – it is! There are no gray areas of negotiation!”
Praise the Lord for His clear direction and powerful Word!