The Woman Whose Price Is Far Above Rubies
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10).
These words serve to introduce the Bible picture of an ideal woman. This is God’s “ideal.” This is beauty as God sees beauty. This is God’s formula for happiness and contentment. We would emphasize that this is the ideal. This is the standard for which godly women strive. No one woman has reached it to perfection. Many women, however, focusing on the qualities that characterize the woman of Prov. 31, recognizing her beauty, and realizing that she is a picture of what God wants them to be, have taken on her character to a remarkable extent. We hope that we can encourage others to do so. God’s picture of the ideal woman provides a refreshing alternative to the world’s standard. The world would picture her as a career oriented, independent, aggressive, self-assertive, refusing to allow anyone or anything to get in the way of her personal ambitions and goals, looking out for self, unrelenting in her pursuit of “success.” Some would even go so far as to picture her as being able
to out-cuss, out-drink, and out-maneuver any man if competition demands it. We
are confident that our readers’ faith in God and His wisdom will enable them to
overcome the pressures of this modern and sinful world in order to appreciate the beauty and grace of the woman pictured in this passage.
She Is Trustworthy. Whether her husband leaves the home for an hour, a day, or many days, he knows that he can trust her to be faithful to the vows she made when they married and to carry on the affairs of the home in the most efficient manner possible. “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil” (v. 11).
He is able to trust her in regards to the family’s financial affairs. She is a good
manager. He faces no temptation to plunder or steal because she has overspent.
He has no lack of gain. She is capable of living within the family income and is
conscious of getting good value in her purchases: “She seeketh wool and flax…
She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar” (vs. 13, 14). “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good” (v. 18). She stretches the dollar to provide the very best for her family. Through her careful management the family enjoys what other families of greater income seem to be unable to afford.
She Is Unselfish. She places the interests of her husband and children ahead of her own. “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life” (v. 12). She loves her husband, rejoices in his successes, helps to build his self-image, and is always supportive in everything that is good. She is unselfish with her husband’s time: “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land” (v. 23). This verse suggests that her husband is respected, that he joins with other “elders” of the city in settling disputes among the people. She encourages him in this even though no doubt such duties require time away from home.
She watches after her children and provides for their needs. “She looketh well to the ways of her household,” (v. 27). She makes it her business to know where her children are and what they are doing. She is a disciplinarian.
She Is Hardworking. She “worketh willingly with her hands” (v. 13). She is not the family breadwinner, but she finds ways to supplement the family income by buying a field and then “with the fruit of her hands (out of her earnings – NIV) she planteth a vineyard” (v. 16). “She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant” (v. 24). She is skillful in her work: “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff” (v. 19).
She is hardworking, but is not in competition with her husband. He does not feel
threatened by her, for she seeks his good. She is hardworking, but not in such a way as to neglect her children, for she looks well to their ways. She can be found when a bloodied knee needs attention or hurt feelings need comfort and sympathy. She is hardworking; even though all indications are that the family is prosperous with plenty of household servants. She does not use her affluence as an excuse for idleness, for she “eateth not the bread of idleness” (v. 27).
She Is Well Organized. Plans are made before the day ever begins. “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens (servant girls – NIV)” (v. 15). It is likely that the “portion” mentioned in this verse refers to “tasks” that the servant girls are to carry out. No time is wasted. She knows what tasks are to be performed during the day, and she is ready to assign them just as soon as the servants are available.
She also is aware of winter’s approach and sees to it that proper clothing is
available for the family. “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet” (v. 21). Nothing “slips up” on her. She thinks ahead. She is organized. There is little last minute scurrying around in this
The future holds no fear for her. “She can laugh at the days to come” (NIV – v. 5). She is well prepared for the future. She has her trust in God. She has nothing to fear. She can live her life in peace and serenity.
She Is Benevolent. She is a woman of compassion, of sympathy, of concern for the needy. A child that is hungry and poorly clothed, a family that has fallen on misfortune, or an outstretched hand from an impoverished fellow-being, stirs her spirit. “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy” (v. 20). Her children grow up, learning by example the importance of caring for the fatherless and widows.
She Commands the Respect of Others. When she speaks, “she openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (v. 26). No malicious gossip comes from the lips of this woman, no harsh and unkind criticism, no shallow babble. Her mind is fertile, and her speech manifests the depth of her thoughts. She is kind, and her lips speak forth words of kindness.
She dresses becomingly. “Her clothing is silk and purple” (v. 21). She cares about her appearance. Her clothing reflects her character and self-respect. She knows what is appropriate for various occasions and dresses accordingly.
She is a woman of strength. All who know her admire her fortitude. “She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms” (v. 17). People respect her for her quiet, but strong, confident demeanor. “Strength and honour are her clothing” (v. 25).
She Is Valuable. She is not just valuable, she is invaluable. Her worth cannot be stated in monetary terms. “Her price is far above rubies” (v. 10). She is not for hire. Her labor is a labor of love. What she does and what she is cannot be bought for any price. She can only be repaid with love, appreciation, and praise. Her “job benefits” are a good self image, fulfillment, the joy of a well-run household, the respect of her children, the praise of her husband, the admiration of all who know her, and, above all, the approval of God, who calls her a “virtuous woman.” Her benefits cannot be stated in monetary terms, for they too are invaluable.
Her life is not an easy one. It calls forth all the energy, determination, and strength she can muster. But her joy is complete. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed” (v. 28); and her husband, in love and appreciation, praises her, saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all” (v. 29). She may or may not have physical charm or beauty, but she is beautiful with a beauty that lasts and is enhanced with age. The man who finds such a virtuous woman may not be rich in this world’s goods, but he is rich indeed. A virtuous woman — God’s wonderful gift to man! — Via Searching the Scriptures, July 1992, Volume 33, Number 7
April 14, 2010