Posted by: Ety W. | August 19, 2008

Prov. 31:10 – A Woman’s Power

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This is part 2 in a series on the Proverbs 31 Woman. To start at the beginning, click here.

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.  Prov. 31:10

Last time we discussed authorship of verses 10 through 31 in Proverbs 31.  Our conclusion is that we cannot know for certain.  However, regardless of whose ideal wife she is, these verses are included in the inerrant Word of God, and that gives us good cause to study them.

In reading through these verses, we see a list of qualities which qualify her for the description of excellent. I propose to look at these qualities verse by verse, and lastly summarize them.  In beginning with verse 10, my first question is what does it mean to be excellent?  Let’s begin with a word study.

Excellent – Strong’s 2428 – חיל – chayil = a force, whether of men, means, or other resources.  To be firm, or strong.  An army, wealth, virtue, valor, might, strength, power.

In other words, an excellent wife is a force to be reckoned with.  This makes sense, considering that she is to be a guardian of her household.  This is also a far cry from the idea that the Bible portrays women as the inferior, weak-willed property of men. But we need to understand something else.  When we look at the context of the Proverbs 31 Woman, we see that she is united with her husband, not in competition with him. There is no strife nor conflict between husband and wife.  How do we know?

The heart of her husband trusts in her.  Prov. 31:11a

She does not use her power to try to dominate her husband, nor does she use it to undermine him, nor to get her own way.  Rather, she uses it to protect, nurture, and structure her household.  What we see is an example of the pattern for marriage which we saw in Genesis 2: unity, companionship, and teamwork.

Verse 10 concludes by saying

For her worth is far above jewels.  Prov. 31:10

In other words, no amount of money can compare to such a wife.  A man is better off with such a  wife rather than with wealth.  Such a woman is not to be feared, but sought after.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly want to be an excellent woman.  We’ll take the verses which follow one by one, and study the qualites that earn a woman the description of excellent.


Responses

  1. hello,
    first time to your blog. Look’s very interesting.
    Question for you… I always have heard many interpatations on prov 13-14.and 16. does this mean that in our modern day, that is ok for women to go into the workforce, or does God perfer us to stay at home? I am a single older mom of an 11yr son , so I “have” to work. I feel out of my element so to speak…My heart’s desire is to be a stay at home mom and not being able to do so is very stressfull and also goes against my “makeup” of who god intended to be. there would be much for me to do at home and also involved with ministry. So what would you say to us single frustrated ..”somewhat”unfullfilled mothers. My lord does strengthen’s me , and for now , he is my husband…, but it is “me” everyday getting up and going to work. I am playing both part of mother and father.
    what are your thoughts ?

  2. Welcome Renee.

    I don’t know your circumstances, but I can tell you that I too have been a single mom, so I know exactly what you’re going through. I’ve had to struggle with my heart’s desire to stay at home, versus having to work plus having to leave my children with someone else while I was at work. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Like you, I had to learn to rely on the Lord to be my strength, my husband, and a father to my two young children.

    Of course, the Proverbs 31 Woman had a husband, so it is impossible to look at this passage for an answer to a situation like yours. Some single moms are able to have a home based business like the Proverbs 31 Woman, though I never was. Even so, we cannot say that God forbids women to work to work outside the home from this passage. In context the passage is describing an excellent wife, not setting guidelines for if, how, and where a woman should work.

    But how can I encourage you? I know how difficult it is for you. Many women in your situation would be tempted to blame God for it, but I do not sense from your comment. I think this is half the battle. If anyone grieves for your situation, it is God Himself.

    One of the hardest lessons I had to learn when I was a single mom, is that I am not in control. In learning that lesson, I had to deal with my anger and frustration and choose not to become bitter. I had to learn to trust the Lord’s sovereignty in my and especially my children’s lives. 2 Tim 1:12 became a banner verse for me, “I also suffer….., but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him (my children) until that day.”

    So why (if God is sovereign) does He allow things like this to happen outside His perfect will? In my case, my children’s father abandoned us. As I begged the Lord to make him come back, I came to understand that God will not force anyone to do something against their free will (in my case force my husband to come back). Just as He won’t force salvation upon anyone, neither will He force any of us to any thing according to His will. That is one of the consequences of living in a fallen world. What He will do, is to use the situation to bring us to mature us into Christlikeness.

    I can look back now and see that. At the time it was difficult. The pain of my burden was so great that I thought it would crush me. The book of 1st Peter became my lifeline and I clung to several verses including 1 Peter 4:19: “Let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” I would repeat that at work, over, and over, and over. Also 1 Peter 5:6 – “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”

    1 Peter 5:10 became the companion verse to these – “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” I didn’t know what “a little while” meant, but I figured that compared to all of eternity, my time of difficulty and pain was certainly that.

    I’m sorry I got so long winded (and preachy sounding!), but you’ve touched on something that is close to my heart. If I were to give you any nonbiblical advice based on my personal experience, then this is what I would tell you:

    1. Know that your son is absolutely your most important ministry at this time. I believe this is true for all mothers, even those who have the “time” to be involved in church ministries. Church and church ministry will always be there, but our children grow up and leave the nest someday. A stay at home mom who is so committed to church ministry that she spends all her time away from home, is not really a stay at home mom at all. She just has a job with no pay.

    2. Resist the temptation to look for a husband. This is a desire the Lord gave to all women, so we all struggle with it at some time or another. The problem comes when we try to fulfill it ourselves. Sadly, too many women rush into marriage only to find themselves in much more difficult circumstances later. It’s even harder for a single mother, because she sees the need for her child(ren) to have a father, which adds to the pressure. The Lord may have a husband in your future, but He may not. If you find that your interest in someone is taking time away from your son, I would say back off. If the Lord has someone for you, then that man will be for your son as well.

    3. Just take it one day at a time; one moment at a time. We can’t handle any more than that. Trust that God’s grace will be sufficient; focus on that. Again from 1st Peter, this time 1:13 – “Therefore, gird your mind for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you and the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

    Renee, I don’t know if I answered your question, but please know that my heart and prayers are with you.

  3. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who automatically knows what they’re talking about on the internet. You does know how to bring an issue to light and make it critical. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  4. Wade, thank you for your kind compliment. Really though, the only ones I’m writing for are those who have ears to hear.

  5. […] Influential – v 10 […]

    • Hi, this is 2013, and I love the teaching on Proverbs 31. My husband preached on the chapter and even though I have heard it so many time and read it too. It encourage my heart and I heard so much that I look it up on the internet and what he said was confirmed, that the virtuous women instruct her children to prepare them for life. Yes ! I was doing that, but did not realize I was doing that until that time he preached. I have raised 5 children and my last one will be leaving in the year 2014. I raise the first 4 with a husband who was not a true believer. He was a womanizer, and he abandon us for his father, because he let him do what he wonted to do. His mother help him get the divorce. So I raised them on my own for almost 11 years and waited on the lord this time. Married my husband, my friend, and the best man I have seen in years. Amen. Now I wrote this to say; I worked temporary job and some time, I stayed home to watch what they were doing, and what was going when I was a way. I stayed in church, and my’ husband said”; (I saw that she was the only one working, and I still is.) I prayed and fasted and taught my children to do the same. Now my husband daughter is the last one. She will leave next year, I say to all women be careful when you marry a man with children pass five. The mother of the child and husband is involve. You must than stay on your face before God. Now the daughter and mom and grand mom are in God will and out of my husband marriage. Thank God for peace and virtue to know the ways of God and his teaching. Please if you see this here the words of the ETY. W . Trust in the lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all thy way acknowledge him and He shall direct thy path. Proverb 3:5-6 No doubt about it. God less you all and keep you.


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