Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her
— Proverbs 31:10-11
Many outstanding godly women appear throughout the Bible, but the virtuous wife described here merits special praise (Proverbs 31:29). This woman is not an actual woman, but rather an ideal to be realized, a paradigm for any wife or mother. For centuries women have been amazed and challenged by her example (Proverbs 31:31). She does not just represent a challenge, but rather a series of possibilities: she displays the many qualities and astonishing array of activities and accomplishments available to those seeking godly womanhood.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
– Proverbs 31:30-31
The passage describes what kind of wife a woman should be and what kind of woman a man should choose to marry. An acrostic poem, each of the twenty-two verses begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, encouraging the memorization of this literary masterpiece. Through the poem, the woman of strength comes alive.
This rare woman was a paragon of virtue: trustworthy, industrious, organized, and loving. Yet amazingly she was able to order the priorities of her world. Her husband totally trusted her, her children voluntarily praised her, and her home was a model of efficiency. She reached out to her community, helped the poor, and increased her family’s resources through wise investments and productive management. Her beauty was not merely outward. She embodied true wisdom.
The portrait of the virtuous wife closes with the key to her success (verse 30). Illustrating the theme of wisdom found throughout Proverbs, this woman first feared and reverenced God. Therefore, relationships and responsibilities were wisely balanced. She exemplifies the truth spoken by Jesus Christ: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). A close look at this woman can prove invaluable in helping every woman set her own priorities in managing the time, resources, and giftedness God has given.
Article drawn from study features in The Woman’s Study Bible. A perennial best-seller, The Woman’s Study Bible is relied on by women of all ages as the go-to source for Bible study needs. Now beautifully redesigned – and the only full color study Bible for women – its timeless content speaks God’s life-giving truth to women today.