Who is the Proverbs 31 Woman? Part 3

She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry 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,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over 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 daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:13-31

The wool and flax reference starts the part of this study where we have to look for principles of this virtuous woman’s life. Most of us don’t have to spin our own yarn or weave our own cloth, though I suppose we could. What’s the point of this verse?

She’s willing to do some hard labor and get her hands dirty. I don’t thing the virtuous woman has soft, delicate hands. She isn’t afraid of grunt work or making do with what she has. She will do what needs to be done and will search out the means to do so. She’s not just sitting around looking pretty, or texting her friends, or even reading all the time. She is a hard working woman!

What about verse 14?

“She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.”

v. 14

That doesn’t seem super applicable at first, either. She is like the merchant ships… what does that mean? Ships go out and come in. As virtuous women, we are expected to go out of the comfort of our homes, the safety of our “port.” We go to the grocery store, we take the kids (or siblings) to activities… we do things for others to the best of the ability God has given us.

Given her financial situation, the I’m sure the virtuous woman gets the best supplies she can and is wise with her purchases, not to mention her time. She doesn’t overcrowd her schedule with activities and busyness if she can help it. She leaves room for God to work and create Gospel opportunities.

“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.”

v. 15

This verse actually cross-references to Luke 12:42 where Jesus is talking about the faithful and wise steward. This woman is a wise and faithful steward that can be entrusted with much. That word for night, in the Hebrew, can be used figuratively to mean much more that time of day. It can also mean a time of depression, gloom, or despair; when the heart is overcome; calamity, or affliction.

During this time, she remembers that God is the source of her joy, not her circumstances. She continues to provide for her family and meet needs, even when she’s really down. God is still her strength. The fact that she even provides a portion for her maidservants is significant, because maidservants would’ve been considered some of the least significant in the household. She still remembers the small details of her household and doesn’t let them slide just because she’s in a period of night.

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