I don’t think I am alone, as a Christian woman, when I say I read the section about the virtuous woman often and strive to be like her. She, this fictional perfect woman, is such an inspiration and motivator for me.
As I was finishing up writing out the book of Proverbs recently, I noticed the virtuous woman section seemed to be separated into 4 sections. Each are equally challenging in the modern Christian woman’s life.
Her role as a wife: 11The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 2She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. And 23Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
I thought it was very fitting for her husband to be mentioned first. Woman was originally created to be a help meet for her husband. In Genesis 2, God sees it is not good for man to be alone. He causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep, takes one of his ribs and forms a Woman. Wives are called to not merely submit to their husbands, but to love them. Ultimately, true Biblical submission comes from love. In Titus 2, the aged women are commanded to teach the young women to do a host of things, including “to love their husbands”. Men and women are similar in that we both need to feel safe and secure. Not only physically, but also emotionally. Men need to know that he can pour his heart out to his wife and that her lips are sealed. She won’t go laughing about it with her mom or her girlfriends. He will learn very fast his heart is not safe with her, will stop confiding in her, and ultimately stop communicating with her.
She is a hard worker: 13She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. And 18She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. Also 21She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Lastly 27She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
The virtuous woman works hard for her family. She made their clothes, bought/made food, bought and sold products…she was very busy and not idle. Today, clothing is much cheaper to buy than make, but the same principle applies. She also planned ahead, saving her family money, time, and a cold winter! Her work wasn’t limited to staying inside the home, she was involved in real estate and was an entrepreneur. The role of help meet and keeper of the home can definitely include working outside the home, sometimes it must.
She is a strong woman: 17She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. And 25Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
The idea that Biblical women are these mindless, meek, parasitical doormats is definitely a misconception. In order to be a submissive, loving, virtuous woman/wife/mother you must be strong. We will also become phyiscally stronger, any mother who has held a toddler on her hip for any extended period of time knows this! 😉
She is charitable: 20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. And 26She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
This is really every Christian’s job, not just women’s. Giving to the needy, helping widows and orphans are concepts all throughout the Bible. Amongst the busy life of this virtuous woman, she stops and considers those who don’t have as much as she has. She also offers her kindness and wisdom. We should always have a tongue of kindness and love one another.