10 [d] An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She dresses herself[e] with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[f] 22 She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. Footnotes: Proverbs 31:2 Hebrew What, my son? Proverbs 31:6 Hebrew those bitter in soul Proverbs 31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet Proverbs 31:17 Hebrew She girds her loins Proverbs 31:21 Or in double thickness
Proverbs 31:1 - 10
MSG - 1 The words of King Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him: 2 Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of! Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God! Don't dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.
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Although several portions of the description in this passage deal with actions and roles that would have been more prevalent in Biblical times than today, I would say that the attitudes and qualities underlying them are timeless, desirable characteristics that would still be present and discernible (and also just as indicative of a God-centered orientation) in women (or wives, where applicable) of modern times. These would include: Reliability; Discretion in how she speaks and behaves; Active support of her husband's plans and goals, both in her relationship with him, and in her dealings with others; A full contributor to the couple's success through her own efforts and decisions, which, in turn, facilitate her husband's success; Industry (being productively occupied on an ongoing, self-motivated basis); Conscientious discharge of the responsibilities that are expected of her or that she has agreed to perform, exerting whatever effort is needed to accomplish them; Using her own unique personal talents and abilities for the benefit of the entire family; Generosity; Concern for the welfare of others (both inside and outside her family); An appreciation of eternity (which implies a knowledge of and relationship with God), and an ability to distinguish between superficial, temporal, or transient concerns, and matters of eternal value or importance; Kindness and wisdom in her speech; Confidence in facing the future, based both on reasonable personal preparation for it, as well as on faith in God (as opposed to constant worry about what the future might bring).
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