A look at the Proverbs 31 Woman

This chapter was written by who most scholars agree was Queen Bathsheba, to her son King Solomon. Beginning in verse 10 through the end of the book, is a Hebrew acrostic poem meaning each of the verses begins with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet. This woman is a picture of a virtuous wife and an allegory of the end-time victorious bride of Jesus Christ. The following is my summary of a breakdown of each of the verses and how it applies to us, the victorious bride of Jesus Christ.

10: A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman-who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.

                Capable: able to achieve efficiently whatever one has to do.

                Intelligent: quickness of understanding and sound thought.

                Virtuous: having high moral standards; righteous

How does a woman meet the standards of these definitions for her husband? She doesn’t. She is the bride of Christ. She meets this as serving the Lord. What does the Lord’s word do for us? Makes us capable, intelligent and virtuous. There’s no meeting any of the standards in this whole chapter without the word of God in your life. What does her groom (Christ) think about this virtuous/righteous woman who can stand before her Father in heaven as the bride of Jesus? That she is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies and pearls. Malachi 3:17 says that the Lord will :publicly declare us to be His jewels, his peculiar treasure”. Deuteronomy 7:6 says, “We are His treasured possession, God loves us and we mean so much to Him! He thinks of us as such a special treasure. So, how did precious jewels, rubies and pearls become so precious? They are formed through pressure and time, lots of pressure and time. Except the pearl. It’s formed in cold conditions with the pressure of the mussel and water and a parasitic irritant that rows it into a shiny round beauty. It can take many years to form to perfection. In order to be beauties, all these are formed from irritating conditions that form these jewels into beautiful priceless pieces. Oh the analogies here as the word of God does the same to our hearts and the outside pressures-How beautiful the Lord sees us no matter what stage we’re at, He knows what the final product will be. He knows this is making us more and more precious: capable, intelligent and virtuous for His Son.

11. The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on an believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.

How do we gain such trust from our Lord? We gain trust as we trust. Luke 6:38 says “give and it will be given to you-For with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” And Proverbs 3:5 says to “trust in the Lord with all your heart…” Trust. As we give it, we will receive it. Whatever measure I use, how much trust and reliance I have in the Lord, He will measure that amount of trust back to me. Do I trust in the Lord with ALL my heart and in ALL my ways acknowledge Him? Or just a little? Or mostly? I want to be the verse 11 bride. I want the heart of my Jesus to trust in me confidently and to know that He gets only honest gain from me, not dishonest spoil. Ouch, that kind of hurts. When I’m not trusting in the Lord with everything in my life, I’m having dishonest spoil. I don’t ever want dishonest spoil blocking anything between my Lord and me. Not trusting Him is pride. Pride will destroy any relationship in a hurry. With pride before my Lord, I’ve basically told Him my ways are better. And of course, they never are. How as the groom can He trust His bride confidently if as the bride, I don’t trust Him. He gives in the same measure back to me.

12: She comforts, encourages and does Him only good as long as there is life in her. (KJV says: She will do Him good and not evil)

I think that’s simply it. She does “right by him”. She would never consider being any other way towards him. As long as there is life in her, there’s a standard she follows. A moral gauge that doesn’t waiver. So how as the bride of Christ do I comfort and encourage my Lord? By comforting and encouraging His people. It blesses the Lord when He can use you as His mouthpiece. We are His mouthpiece because people will generally listen to people before they will listen to the Lord. Comfort and encourage others in the Lord, this is a blessing unto the Lord.

13: She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].

One of my favorite verses! Wool makes outer clothing, flax is for the under clothes. Wool is quite beautiful but you need the linen (made from flax) clothing on the skin so the wool won’t scratch. She seeks out the products she needs for the outer appearance and the appearance no one sees. This is her righteousness. She seeks it. She wants to look like the righteousness of Christ from the inside out. How many of us forget to continue to seek this? Matthew 6:33: Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness! We know we are righteous when we receive Jesus but it is so important that we continue to seek His righteousness. Seek that which others should desire in us. She doesn’t look for just any ol’ material to make clothing from. She’s seeking quality products. She wants to shine for Jesus inside and out. She works with willing hands to develop it-She is willing to work on herself and her relationship with her Lord. She knows it is a continual growth and she wants it. This is so important in any relationship. We should never let anything become stagnant. Continue to willingly work on it with desire.

14: She is like the merchant ships loaded with food stuffs; She brings her household’s food from a far [country]

She seeks for the bread of life, no matter how far it takes her. For her family and her friends. You have to start at home. Are you spiritually feeding your family and close friends? Are you so concerned you go to whatever lengths it takes to gather the Word and help to make it available to those around you? To your local church? This woman spends enough time in the Word she is able to feed her family daily, even if it seems foreign, she is not moved.

15: She rises while it is yet night and gets (spiritual) food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.

Feeding on the Word, spending time with Him. She spends one on one time with her Lord so she will be so full of Him she has enough to spare. Then passing that on to the church…the rest of the body of Christ. Take what you learn and disciple others. You teach and plant seeds and grow those seeds into fruit. 1 Corinthians 3:6 says “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was making it grow and He gave the increase”. Paul was planting seeds, Apollos was watering them. It took both of them so God could make those seeds grow into fruit. The Lord said we are to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19) That’s what we should do, we should be rising early to feed ourselves with the Word and then taking that Word and discipling others to grow in Christ as we have.

16: She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

This bride, this lover of Christ, she’s smart. She doesn’t spread herself too thin so she doesn’t neglect the things the Lord has already called her to do. She considers: to think about carefully especially in order to make a decision. In (consideration) the “thinking about: causes us to “think” about the cause and affect of things. As a wife do you really have time to take on that PTO project at school when you’re already stretched so thin at work and at home? In this case, do you really have time to take on heading up that Christmas play, begin practice for the choir for the Easter cantata AND continue to be effectual in the Tuesday/Thursday night prayer meeting that you head up? Even though that Christmas play would be lots of fun with the kids you may end up neglecting your own family not to count those people the Lord has led you to in the prayer meeting you’ve been helping spiritually.  “With her savings of time and strength she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.” Look at what extra fruit she was able to plant in Bob and Judy and they came back to prayer meeting. The main point here is considering. Putting great thought and prayer into what we do with our time, not neglecting our relationship with our groom, before we just jump and latch onto things just because. If it’s not something the Lord is leading us to do and we already have our hands full, it’s ok to say no. It’s also ok to say yes as long as consideration and prayer have been put into it. We must be producing fruit and fruit does not come from stressed out, undernourished vines.

17: She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental and physical fitness for her God given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.

The first definition of gird is encircle, with a belt or a band; surround. She encircles herself with spiritual, mental and physical strength. Physical: to be healthy and live a long time doing the work of the Lord. Mental: This is why we have a helmet of salvation. To protect the mind from the attacks of satan and influences of the world. Spiritual: strength from the inside out. Filled with the Word of God and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is strength for the spirit soul and body. We are a spirit, with a soul (mind, will and emotions) living in a body. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. “Her arms are strong and firm” This is to support anything or anyone she needs to. The strength to be able to intercede and lift others up before the Lord. She is filled with the Word and has strengthened herself. She is then able to keep her arms strong to uphold others for Jesus. She is part of his support staff. As Christians, until we are strong, girded about with strength for ourselves spirit soul and body, we can’t support others. We have to be sure and firm in our walk with God before we can help others effectively or their burdens will become too much for us.

18: She tastes and sees that her grain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow warning away fear, doubt and distrust]

The fruit she is producing and that others are producing, because of her work for the Lord, is good. You can’t have grain (fruit) without seed first. She is planting seed in others and is able to see it turn into tasty fruit (fruit that others will desire). She is growing up people for the Lord. Her lamp doesn’t go out. That light we carry for the Lord – the glory of Christ Himself dwelling in us- no matter what trouble or sorrow attacks us or our family we should continue to give God glory. She doesn’t back down, she has grit and her faith doesn’t waiver, Praise the Lord!

19: She lays her hand to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff

Spinning in this day was a thing of beauty and desire. The women skilled in this, regardless of stature in society, were treasured for their skill and they were encouraged and it was understood this was something they did not because they had to, but because they had pride in their work. They would sit with their hand maidens and teach and spin and work alongside them. In the Old Testament when the temple was being initially established this was a gift the women had; to be able to provide tapestry for the temple. It was a thing of beauty and art. Being detailed in her work serving the Lord should be a desire of the Bride of Christ. Verse 13 spoke of her developing the wool and flax; the inner and outer righteousness. This verse shows how important it is to the bride of Christ to develop this from the smallest of details and to look upon it as pleasure, not a burden. Serving our Lord is never a burden, we have purpose in every little thing we do.

20: She opens her hand to the poor, yes she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind or spirit]

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The needy are not always just poor. She helps any way they need her. Acts 3:6 the story of the cripple beggar, money would have helped temporarily but a completed healing helped him permanently. Needfulness is body, mind or spirit, she works to get to the root of the problem and helps no matter what. This is serving Christ through others. It may be money but it may be sitting and praying with someone. Whatever it is, it’s done by the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

21: She fears not the snow for her family for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.

Scarlet was s sign of protection. As in Joshua 2:18 Rahab hung a scarlet cord outside her window so no one would touch her or her family. The Israelites before they left Egypt were protected from Death as their door posts were marked with the (red) blood of the lamb. We are covered in the (red/scarlet) blood of THE LAMB-Jesus Himself. Snow represented cold, darkness and loneliness. Because of her service to the Lord, the same as Rahab, she did not fear for herself or her family. They—WE—are protected by the blood of Jesus. As the Bride of Jesus, I am protected and DO NOT FEAR!

22: She makes for herself coverlets, cushions and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine and of purple [such that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed clothes of the temple were made]

The tabernacle walls were all decorated with intricate tapestries, the holy of holies was covered with tapestries. The veil that hung protecting the people from the Glory: Exodus 26:31 “And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple and scarlet and fine twisted linen of cunning work; with cherubims shall it be made.” We are the temple now. Everything-her coverlets, cushions and rugs are fine tapestries as found in the temple. Coverlets, our prayer closet; Cushions, where we rest; rugs: where our feet trod or we fall to worship, they are all fine tapestries because we are the temple. She is clothed in fine linen and purple robes as the priests were. We are the priests now. We the church, the Bride of Christ, we are the priests. Garments of salvation and robes of righteousness.

23: Her husband is known in the city gates when he sits among the elders of the land.

Because of her dedication to the Lord and her reverence to Him, He is well known and has a wonderful reputation. It is our job to make the Lord look good. If we are always standing around griping and complaining about our husbands, whether someone as met him or not, they are not going to like him on first impressions. In the same respect, if we are always glorifying our situations and the difficulties with them, no one is going to see the Lord’s hand in anything and it’s certainly not going to five someone else confidence in Him. However, if we are praising Him always, rejoicing in Him always (rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice! Philippians 4:4), living for Him as His bride, lifting Him up to others, then we have built Him up with reverence and love and respect. As she continues to live uprightly, she makes Him look desirable- Proverbs 12:4 says A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband. Are you representing the Lord in a way He is desired among others and you make Him so great in everyone’s eye they look up to Him? Are you a virtuous woman as a crown to your Lord’s head? Christ is the head of the church. We are the body. The head can’t move without the body. The head of the body, Christ, needs to be raised up among others, He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty!

24: She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants, girdles [or sashes that free up one for service]

She leads others to salvation!! She then disciples them into service to her Lord! She doesn’t just get people saved but she instructs them on how to live, serving the Lord and how to make Him their one and only also. These sashes were representative of the belt of truth in the new testament (Ephesians 6:14). All the clothing in Ephesians, our armor, is bound together to the body by the Truth.

25: Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; She rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]

One definition of strength which I think applies here is: the quality of being able to withstand great force, stress or pressure. She is Ephesians 6. When you have done everything-stand. She is that kind of faith. Dignity or honor: A state of self-worth. But in this case, It’s the worth we have because we belong or are betrothed to Jesus. And even her position in all things is strong and secure, she does not waiver. She rejoices over the future because of this. She has complete peace of mind and body and soul knowing that her family belongs to Jesus and she has served Him with all of herself. Ephesians 6:15 says, “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”. She has total peace.

26: She opens her mouth in skillful and Godly wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving kindness and instruction]

She only speaks the Word the Lord gives her to speak. It is so important we fill ourselves with the word of God. Without this, we won’t even know His voice. But not only that, we can’t speak it. We can spend time in prayer all day but if the Word is not in there, God has absolutely nothing to pull from to speak to us. The word is Jesus. No Word, no Jesus. Wisdom comes only from the Lord. Proverbs 2:10 says “The Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” The Lord can only give it if we receive it by spending time in His word and with Jesus. The woman gets to know her betrothed by hanging on his every word. What her betrothed speaks she shares and counsels, others with. Proverbs 19:4 says “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord my Rock and Redeemer.”

27: She looks well to how things go in her household and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent and self-pity) she will not eat.

Her household goes well because she only speaks words of faith over it, she only has need for the bread of life. She doesn’t take part in any form of idleness. How can we expect the Lord to bless us when He can’t get a word in edgewise between our gossip, discontent and self-pity all the time? She serves someone much higher than herself. (read 1 Tim 5:11-14 & Titus 2:5)

28: Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate and to be envied); and her husband boasts and praises her, [saying] 29: Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness] but you excel them all.

Her steadfast strength and faith, she has held to all this time, in her Lord has been recognized and her children respect her for this. They want to grow up the way she has, because everyone see’s she has been blessed. Her husband boasts and praises her, Jesus is so proud of her, He is so proud of you and me! Malachi 3:17 says “And they shall be mine…when I publicly…declare them to be my jewels (my special possession, my peculiar treasure)” Jesus says we’re His peculiar treasure. His bride, the bride of Christ…US! We excel at virtue, strength of character and living for Him.

30: Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting] but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!

What our flesh looks like has never mattered to our Jesus, this is an earth suit and our flesh will pass away. The bottom line to this virtuous woman, this bride of Christ, us, is to reverently and worshipfully fear the Lord-to always put Him before ourselves and our flesh-this woman will be praised.

31: Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!

Bless her abundantly because of the fruit she has produced in others and because of the fruit the Lord has produced in her. Again, as the Lord said in Malachi 3-He will publicly recognize and declare her-US-to be His treasure [in the city gates] because of her virtue. Because of her devotion and reverence for the Lord she will be blessed and recognized.

Remember: YOU are far more precious than jewels and YOUR value is far above rubies or pearls as YOU serve the Lord as the bride of Christ.

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