The Woman Who Fears the LORD
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
he brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
When looking at the "woman who fears the Lord" in Proverbs 31, there's a lot to consider. It can be overwhelming to look at your own heart in comparison to this super woman. Isn't she something? When I read the whole passage, I get two impressions. The first is that I need to repent! Every day I fail to live up to this standard. I also feel greatly encouraged. It reminds me that God designed women to do great and important things.
Over the next few days, I am going to attempt to break this passage down. I'd like to begin with the various titles translators have given this passage.
The section headers, though no divinely inspired, influence the reader. The NASB calls it, "Description of a Worthy Woman." The ESV, "The Woman Who Fears the Lord." The HCSB, "In Praise of a Capable Wife." The NIV, "The Wife of Noble Character."
Worthy, capable, noble, God-fearing- man or woman, married or single, we should all hope to deserve such labels. I could write a whole series on why fear of the Lord is good and essential, but I will refrain at this time.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow, "She makes her arms strong."