In Faith

I would like to start a study on Proverbs 31-10-31…the excellent (NASB) woman.
This passage is an acrostic style poem that King Lemuel’s mother taught him (just like a mother, isn’t it? We are to teach our sons what to look for in their future wife!) An interesting tidbit about this passage:

It has become a Jewish custom for men to recite this hymn at the end of the week, and thus to think about and be thankful for all his wife has done for him and their family throughout the past week.

Proverbs 31:10:
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies?” NIV
“An excellent wife, who fan find? For her worth is far above jewels.”  NASB
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”  KJV

You might notice each version (as well as many others), describe the woman/wife with a slightly different adjective…
Noble, excellent, virtuous.

The Hebrew word is Chayil, which is used throughout the Bible for the following words:
1) strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army
a) strength
b) ability, efficiency
c) wealth
d) force, army

You might notice these are not exactly the same words our English translations use. In fact, I had to study up on this to figure out why this might be. These are words that usually describe male roles, who fight for their land. As women and wives/mothers, we are to fight for our family in every way possible. This makes the woman virtuous, noble, excellent and good.

What are we fighting for? What are we protecting?
Like a soldier in battle for their land, the excellent woman fights for her home. She protects it from any influences from the enemy. She covers our husband, children and home in prayer. She serves her husband (cheerfully, I might add!), to help him succeed in whatever he does. He blesses her children. She manages her home and makes it a haven. She wisely manages her finances and makes sure her work is profitable. She does all these things and more and her children and husband bless her. Her work does not go unnoticed.

The second part of this verse states that she is worth more than rubies (NASB uses the word Jewels).
I found a lesson on Proverbs 31, written by Kathi Woodall, and what she states is fascinating:

What is the significance of being compared to rubies?  In our society, when we think of the most valuable gemstone, we immediately think of diamonds.  But, just as the value of wisdom and the value of a good wife are not recognized by our society, neither is the value of a ruby.   According to a jeweler friend of mine, a ruby of gemstone quality can be worth more than a diamond of the same size, and it is definitely rarer.

Isn’t that interesting? Our society is all about diamonds. We don’t really desire rubies, which can be more precious. Look at society and women. Not only is the lifestyle of the Proverbs 31 woman not appreciated today but it is not even desired by women.

I will continue to post studies on the verses in this passage. I pray that this not only helps you learn more about the Excellent Woman but also encourages you to strive toward these characteristics. Most importantly, do not feel like this is a checklist and you are not a good wife…there is Grace. Ask the Lord to show you what He wants you to improve right now (this is what I have to do!)…if you try to go down the passage as a checklist or feel like you have to be perfect, you will most likely become overwhelmed. The Excellent Woman is not excellent, virtuous, noble or good because of herself, she does it with the Lord’s help. Seek the Lord and ask Him to make you the woman He desires You to be. Then work on it! You can’t continue doing what you do and expect to change…be proactive and make the changes in your attitude, your daily schedule, your work, etc. (Believe me, I am speaking this because this is what I am having to do…I am not the Excellent Woman yet….just striving toward it!)

I hope you will join me as I continue to study the rest of this amazing passage that inspires me to become a woman of excellence.


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