Though this piece centers mainly on verses 10 – 31, it is important to bring out the first part of the chapter, because King Lemuel tells us that these are the things that his mother taught him about women and finding the right wife.
Vs. 10 Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies?
A virtuous woman is one that has good moral character and behavior. The implication here is that she is a rare gem and hard to find. Once she is found, know that she is precious and a price cannot be put on her worth.
Whether in King Lemuel’s time, New Testament times or today, in the 21st century, a virtuous is worth more than precious gems.
Vs. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil
Once a man finds a virtuous woman, he marries her and knows that he can trust her implicitly. He knows that she can be trusted in all things.
Vs. 12 She will doi him good and not evil all the days of her life
The virtuous woman and wife will always be beneficial to her husband. Nothing she does will ever bring reproach upon him.
Vs. 13 She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willing with her hands
This verse points out how the virtuous woman uses some of her time. She bargain shops to get the best deals on materials to make things herself, and she does it with a good attitude.
Vs. 14 She is like the merchanss’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar
She goes to the market and shops well for her family. One could probably assume that she had a well – stocked pantry. Much like the merchants’ ships, she has brought into their home all kinds of good things for her family.
Vs. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat for her household, and a portion to her maidens
It is still dark when she gets up in the morning to start breakfast for her family, before they start their day. She also fixes breakfast for her servant girls.
Did you smile when you read this? Or did you say to yourself, “I could be a virtuous woman and wife if I had servants?” Well, I hate to break it to you ladies, but we do have servants.
The modern woman has servants, and usually a lot of them. Granted they come in a different form than they did in King Lemuel’s day. Today they are called modern conveniences.
Almost all women of the 21st century has a stove, refrigerator and microwave. Then there are coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, washers and dryers, and then to end the day, we have a machine to wash our dishes. The hardest part of the day is pushing the vacuum and folding laundry and putting it away. We haven’t made a machine to do that yet.
If one wanted to apply the principle “a portion to her maidens,” probably she would want to make sure her appliances were kept clean and well maintained.
Vs. 16 She considereth a field and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard
The virtuous woman works within her budget, and with the money that she saves, she invest wisely.
Vs. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength; and strengtheneth her arms
The virtuous woman keeps herself healthy, and puts her entire being into everything that she does.
Vs. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out at night
The virtuous woman makes sure that the things she makes, are made well. She takes her time doing quality work; sometimes working into the night.
Vs. 19 She layeth her hand to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff
The spindle and distaff were in use long before the spinning wheel. Wool or flax was placed on top of the distaff, and bits of this was twisted down onto the spindle, which was kept spinning. The distaff was managed with one hand while the other hand controlled the spinning. It was tedious and tiring, but was necessary for yarn and cloth. It shows here that the virtuous woman was hard working and resourceful.
Vs. 20 She reacheth out her hands to the poor; yea, she reacheth out her hands to the needy
In this verse we see that the virtuous woman is kind and generous. She is also aware of the needs of others, and is willing to help where ever she can.
Vs. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet
She is not afraid of the fact that winter is coming on because she had already prepared for it. Her family has everything that they need, and is of good quality.
Vs. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry: her clothing is silk and purple
The virtuous woman is a well put – together woman. She makes herself look nice to the best of her ability.
Vs. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land
Her husband is well respected, and has a good reputation. His associates are among those who are the wisest in the land.
Vs. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchants
The virtuous woman makes beautiful things and sells them at the market.. It is her way of bringing extra income into the household, thus benefitting her whole family.
Vs. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come
The virtuous woman covers herself with mental fortitude and dignity. There will come a time later on in life when she can look back and be truly joyous about her life.
Vs. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness
The virtuous woman knows what she is talking about, and she gives kind and gentle guidance.
Vs. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness
The virtuous woman never rests from the good management of her home.
Vs. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed: her husband also; and he praiseth her
The family of the virtuous woman is happy and content, and her husband always talks about the good things that she does.
Vs. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all
Her husband let her know, that though there are many good women; as far as he is concerned, she is the best of them all.
Vs. 30 Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised
King Lemuel’s realized that beauty and charm are not the important things in a woman. The woman to be praised is the one who give honor and respect to the Lord.
Vs. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her works praise her in the gates.
It is the good and beneficial things that the virtuous woman has done throughout her life that bring her honor.
The Bible states in Psalms 119:152 (NIV) “Long ago I have learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever.” This helps to let us know that the same principles that made a woman virtuous in King Lemuel’s day, can be used today to help women become virtuous.