We will cap off the series with the passage on the Woman who Fears the Lord from Proverbs 31:10-31.
Also known as the Proverbs 31 women, this passage is the standard many in evangelical and other Christian circles measure womanhood by. It is a standard some Christian women like to rebel against and one many Christian women think they fall short of, but try to attain.
Any patriarch-to-be should examine this woman carefully. Make sure any potential woman you plan to marry matches what is written here, or at least is trying to. (This goes for anyone else planning to hitch themselves to a woman, not just patriarchs).
So let’s look at the kind of women a patriarch should try to find. I’ll break it down:
An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
A wife of good character is one of the greatest gifts a man can have. If you marry, make sure you marry a wife of good character.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
A good wife is trustworthy. If you can’t trust a woman, don’t marry her.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
A good wife will seek the good for her husband. She will not try to hurt you. Marry a women who wants to to good by you, not a women who demands and criticizes (or worse).
She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
A good wife works hard. Marry a women who is active and productive, not lazy. Do not marry a woman who’s spoiled or unwilling to get her hands dirty.
She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
A good wife prepares food for her family and makes sure they are fed right. Marry a woman who likes to cook. Do not marry a women who refuses to cook because it’s sexist.
She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
A good wife can take be trusted to care of finances and handle her wealth properly. Marry a woman who can follow a budget. Do not marry a wasteful spendthrift or a women who likes wracking up consumer debt.
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
A good wife is strong. Marry a woman who can take care of herself and won’t be utterly helpless without you. Do not marry a delicate flower, a weak women, a dependent women, or someone unwilling take care of themselves. (Hint: Do not confuse being strong with being bitchy or a ball-buster as some feminists are wont to).
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
A good wife is productive and industrious. Marry a women who is willing to work hard, do not marry one who is lazy.
She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
A good wife is compassionate, charitable, and generous. Marry a woman who cares about the people around her, do not marry a woman who thinks only of herself.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
A good wife will make sure her family, herself, and her home are kept well and look presentable. Look for a wife who will value and create beauty in herself, her family, her home, and you. (Hint: Valuing beauty is not the same as vanity and superficiality). Marry a woman who takes care of herself and her home, do not marry a disorganized mess.
Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
A good wife is one who will bring you respect among your peers and your betters. Marry a woman you are proud to show off to your friends, your church, your family, and you boss. Do not marry a woman you would be embarrassed to bring to an office party or family dinner.
She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
A reiteration; a good wife is productive, industrious, and financially astute.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
A good wife is dignified, but has a sense of humour. Marry a respectable women with an easygoing, joyful temperament. Do not marry a coarse or “low-class” woman or a women who feigns dignity through being stuck-up, prissy, or a stick-in-the-mud.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
A good wife is wise and speaks kindly. Marry a woman whose judgment you respect and who talks kindly to you and others. Do not marry a stupid, foolish, or rude woman.
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Another re-iteration; a good wife takes care of her family and isn’t lazy.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
A good wife will bring joy to you and your children. Choose one that will. Choose a good mother for your children. Do not marry a woman that will bring pain or sorrow to you or your children.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Beauty fades. Choose a wife who has good character; do not fall into the trap of marrying a beautiful woman lacking character. Beauty is good, but character matters more in the long run.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
A good wife will let her good works speak for her; she will not be vain, boastful, or arrogant. Marry a humble woman who desires to do good and help those around her. Do not marry a selfish narcissist, an attention-whore, or an arrogant, vain, or snotty woman.
The Proverbs portion of the Biblical Alpha series has been a bit different from the rest of the series; it has focused more on advice for men, than on Biblical teaching on masculine virtues, but I hope it’s been valuable to some of the readers.
A major theme throughout, is choosing the right woman and avoiding destructive women. Hopefully, this will help patriarchs-to-be (or others looking for relationships with females) know more about the kind of woman they should look for, and the kind of women they should avoid.
* All references from Proverbs, ESV version.