The 31st chapter of Proverbs, specifically verses 10 through 31, is a prophetic blueprint of perfection for wives to attain. The core of this woman's life is her husband -- his care and sustenance -- which ripples outward to
that of her children and household. Whatever she does, whatever she thinks, even the attitudes she allows herself to foster, are always weighed against the barometer of her husband's and her family's well-being, based in agape love. As we study
this chapter verse by verse, we will see the order of importance of her characteristics, beginning with verse 10. It starts with a solid base and builds upward, much like "the house built upon a rock" which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:24-27.
The following is a brief summary of Proverbs 31:10-31, verse by verse, which we will be studying in more detail:
Verse 10 deals with the Proverbs 31 woman's basic character and moral fiber.
11 and 12 tell of her husband's uncompromising trust in her, based on his knowledge of her nature and way of life.
Verses 13 through 19 give details of her ceaseless activity in providing care and sustenance for her household, and
the sense that she can always be counted on to be a stabilizing force each and every day.
Verse 20 tells us of her charitable deeds, which come after her household's needs are discussed within the chapter. Although she has
a charitable heart, her family always comes first in terms of priorities. Her excellent time management gives her leave for charitable work and other activities outside of her home.
Verse 21 tells us that, based upon her spiritual
well-being, her complete and untiring care of her husband and family, and her consideration of the poor, all these things taken together give her confident trust in God's protection of their household.
Verse 22 speaks of her home's
decor and her personal appearance, which is important and tended to, but next to last on her list of priorities. The beauty of her inner self takes precedence, which will of itself give her a natural glow and pleasing demeanor.
23 and its position in the chapter tells us that all of her above qualities contribute to the respect which her husband receives from men of importance in the land. It's safe to assume that he also receives such respect from his contemporaries and colleagues.
Verse 24 speaks of her work outside of her home, which is last in her list of priorities, and in her case, these activities are only an extension of what she already does each day in providing for her family and the needs of her household.
Verses 25 through 27 give us a synopsis of her character and diligience, which results in the praise she receives from others: first, from her family in verses 28 and 29, and secondly, from those outside of her household.
These include those with whom she has direct contact, as well as others' indirect knowledge of her through her public activity.
Verses 30 and 31 discuss the praise she receives from others due to her works and her worshipful
fear of the Lord.
Here is what the Amplified Bible has to say in footnote to the introductory verse, Proverbs 31:10, as a basis in studying the Proverbs 31 woman:
"Most unfortunately this
description of God's ideal woman is usually confined in readers' minds merely to its literal sense -- her ability as a homemaker, as was Martha of Bethany. But it is obvious that far more than that is meant. When the summary of what makes her price
'far above rubies' is given (verse 30), it is her spiritual life only that is mentioned. One can almost hear the voice of Jesus (Luke 10:42), saying, 'Mary has chosen that good portion ... which shall not be taken from her.' " 3
A good spiritual foundation gives a woman the wisdom she needs to function effectively each day, and to live every area of her life fully and well.