Skip to comments.Proverb 31 [Prayer and Meditation] A Proverb With A Message Especially for The Ladies
Posted on 05/31/2014 7:28:34 AM PDT by OneVike
The message is in the accompanying comment.
Proverb 31 (NKJV)
The Words of King Lemuel's Mother
01 The words of King Lemuel,
00 the utterance which his mother taught him:
02 What, my son?
00 And what, son of my womb?
00 And what, son of my vows?
03 Do not give your strength to women,
00 Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
04 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
00 It is not for kings to drink wine,
00 Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
05 Lest they drink and forget the law,
00 And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.
06 Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
00 And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
07 Let him drink and forget his poverty,
00 And remember his misery no more.
08 Open your mouth for the speechless,
00 In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
09 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
00 And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
The Virtuous Wife
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
00 For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
00 So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
00 All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
00 And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
00 She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
00 And provides food for her household,
00 And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
00 She considers a field and buys it;
17 She girds herself with strength,
00 And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
00 And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
00 And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
00 Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
00 For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
00 She makes tapestry for herself;
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
00 When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
00 And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
00 She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
00 And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
00 And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
00 Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many daughters have done well,
00 But you excel them all."
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
00 But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
00 And let her own works praise her in the gates.
The purpose of Writing the book of Proverbs by Solomon is to reveal the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations. It appears that no topic escaped King Solomon's attention. Matters pertaining to personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and Godliness are among the many topics covered in this rich collection of wise sayings.
Without wisdom, knowledge is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts, influenced by emotional feelings. Many highly educated people are in positions of power in the United States, but very few of those educated leaders have the wisdom needed to rule properly.
One can say that they have been educated well beyond their intelligence. A cursory look at the court system will prove my point that knowledge without wisdom will only lead to an immoral society that eventually crumbles from within. Judges are supposed to be above the fray, and immovable to emotions. Instead, the vast majority of judges today are Godless individuals who are vacant of wisdom. So their rulings are totally based upon emotional feelings.
We the people are to blame, because we ignored God';s guidance in appointing our leaders. Instead of putting leaders full wisdom in power, we instead chose those who would scratch our itchy ears to lead us.
Along with my daily routine of reading the Bible, I try to read through the book of Proverbs once a Month. It's an easy task when you consider there are 31 Proverbs. So all you need to know is what day of the Month it is to know which Proverb to read. In the Months that have less than 31 days, I just double so I can begin the next month with Proverb 1 on the first again.
My wife ran across this some Months ago and shared it with me. I liked it so much I planned on sharing it with others. Then when I began posting the daily Proverb I decided to attach it to Proverb 31. Unfortunately I forgot about it, until yesterday when I stumbled upon it. Perfect timing, because today's Proverb is the Virtuous Woman. It's an excerpt from Rachel Held Evans book, "A Year of Biblical Womanhood)", and it really does an excellent job of explaining the Virtuous Woman, King Lemuel's Mother is speaking of in today's Proverb. I hope you enjoy it as much as my wife and I did.
Finally, I consulted Ahava, an Orthodox Jewish woman I had befriended during the project.
So do Jewish women struggle with this passage as much as Christian women? I asked.
Ahava seemed a bit bewildered.
Not at all! she said. In my culture, Proverbs 31 is a blessing.
Ahava repeated a finding Id discovered in my research, that the first line of the Proverbs 31 poema virtuous woman who can find?is best translated, a woman of valor who can find? In fact, the structure and diction employed in the poem closely resembles that of a heroic poem celebrating the exploits of a warrior.
I get called an eshet chayil (woman of valor) all the time, Ahava explained. Make your own challah instead of buying? Eshet chayil! Work to earn some extra money for the family? Eshet chayil! Get promoted at your work? Eshet chayil! Make balloon animals for the kids at a party? Eshet chayil! Every week at the Sabbath table, my husband sings the Proverbs 31 poem to me. Its special because I know that no matter what I do or dont do, he praises me for blessing the family with my energy and creativity. All women can do that in their own way. I bet you do as well.
I looked into this, and sure enough, in Jewish culture it is not the women who memorize Proverbs 31, but the men. Husband commit each line of the poem to memory, so they can recite it to their wives at the Sabbath meal, usually in a song. (The astute reader will notice that the only actual instruction found in the entire poem is that a husband celebrate his wife for all her hands have done.) The praise is meant to be unconditional.
But the blessing goes beyond the family. Ahava explained that her Jewish friends cheer one another on with the blessing, celebrating everything from promotions, to pregnancies, to acts of mercy and justice, to battles with cancer with a hearty eshet chayil!woman of valor.
The biblical heroine Ruth is called an eshet chayil, in fact. And she is called that at a time when her life looked nothing like the life of the Proverbs 31 woman, when she was a poor, childless, widow, who, far from exchanging fine linens with the merchants, spent her days gleaning leftover grain from the fields.
All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character (eshet chayil), Boaz says to her.
I liked it.
No, I loved it.
So I set aside my to-do list and began using Proverbs 31 as it was meant to be usednot as yet another impossible standard by which to measure our failures, but as a celebration of what weve already accomplished as women of valor. When my friend Tiffanys pharmacy aced its accreditation, I congratulated her with eshet chayil! When my sister beat out about a million applicants for the job she wanted in North Carolina, I called her up and shouted woman of valor! When my mom overcame breast cancer, I made a card that said eshet chayil on the front. When I learned that three women had won the Nobel Peace Prize, I shared the new with my readers in a blog post entitled, Meet Three Women of Valor.
I must admit that through the years I met many women who struggle with this Proverb, because of all that is expected. It looks like a Jewish woman has said it better than I ever could imagine to, and with this explanation. It's my hope and prayer that all you woman who strive to be what the King's Mother said, that instead you may be discouraged to be a women of valor day in and day out!
I'm reminded of the story of Ruth and Boaz, and how he saw what God already saw in Ruth. She was already a woman of valor even though from outward appearances she was currently considered by others in his culture as pagan that was unworthy of any Israelites attention. Yet Jesus saw in us what Boaz saw in Ruth, what we would become, not what we were. So if Christ sees His bride this way, we too must see our earthly brides this way, praising them for they already are and what they will become! For us Christians, God does not His word as an impossible standard to beat us up on a daily basis, but instead He uses it to encourage us so that we will become what He knows we can be. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17;
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
God sees us as His adopted children who have been saved by grace in a state that does not require us to do anything, because the work was accomplished on the cross by His Son.
So ladies, don't feel as if you need to live up to something that is, because just as all Christians do not have to live up to the unattainable standards of the Law, you do not have to live up to some unattainable standard set in a Proverb. When it comes to the question of,Am I beautiful, the answer is a resounding YES! You already are because Christ has made you beautiful. So, women of valor, go forward and be the child God has created you to be, and always remember that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
The verses 1-31 should be read by every woman every day if possible. I think they are fantastic.
I am so tired of the man-bashing in our society and ask all women to think about lifting up/edifying their spouse today.
From a woman who lost her husband to cancer back in the 1980s.
Thank you for this, OneVike!
Thank you, my friend.
I needed that one today.
Thank you, and may God’s blessings shower upon you and yours.