The Virtuous Wife

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What are the characteristics of a virtuous wife? Proverbs 31, written by King Lemuel of Massa, reveals the qualities of a married woman who not only pleases God, but also is a blessing to her family and even benefits society in general.

Lemuel received his teaching regarding virtuous wives from his mother (Proverbs 31:1). Although the exact location of the kingdom is uncertain, some commentaries believe it was located near Edom and may be linked to one of Ishmael's twelve sons who became princes (Genesis 17:20, 25:14). If this is true, it would make Lemuel one of the few non-Israelite writers of the Bible!

Proverbs 31 is particularly unique in that it conveys the wisdom of a mother to her son. The majority of the rest of the sayings in Proverbs are from a father (e.g. Solomon) to his sons (Proverbs 1:8, 2:1, 3:1, 4:10, 5:1, etc.).

How should a wife be submissive?
Is it wrong to wear jewelry?
How should women pray?

Proverbs 31 is also unique in that it refutes the common belief that the Bible teaches women ought to stay home and tend strictly to certain chores while their husbands engage in business and earn all the money. Key verses that show a virtuous woman is not only an asset at home but is also engage is business activities include the following.

She will do him (her husband) good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands.

She is like the merchants' ships; she brings her food from afar.

She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She binds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong. She sees that her merchandise is good; her lamp does not go out by night.

An archaeologist is the best husband
a woman can have. The older she gets,
the more interested he is in her.
Agatha Christie

A virtuous wife also makes fine linen and sells it, and delivers girdles to the merchants. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.

She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates (Proverbs 31:12 - 14, 16 - 18, 24 - 25, 27, 31).

The jealous are the readiest of all
to forgive, and all women know it.
Fedor Dostoevsky
Women deserve to have
more than twelve years between
the ages of twenty-eight and forty.
James Thurber

The ultimately outcome for women who take up the challenge of living as a virtuous wife is found near the end of Proverbs 31.

Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

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