An Alphabet of Wifely Excellence

It is that woman I am thinking about.

Yes, that one woman every woman looks up to with great admiration and a healthy dose of envy.

They call her the Virtuous Woman. You can find her at Proverbs 31 #10-31 (which, as lined out in verse 10, might send you into a further search for this lady 🙂 ). As I am one among those who are still searching, I found this commentary written by Derek Kidner in his book Proverbs throws clearer light along the path.

May I share this with the many women who share my quest for this wifely excellence.

The subject of this portrait is a lady of some position, who has servants to manage (15c) and money to invest (16). As her husband’s trusted partner (11) she has sole responsibility in her domain, which extends beyond the house to the management of her lands (16) and to dealings in the market, where she is as shrewd a seller (11, 18, 24) as a buyer (13, 14). She treats her advantages not as a means to self-indulgence but as a widening of her responsibilities (27), for she is a tireless worker (15, 18, 19): there are the poor to help (20) and the vicissitudes of life to meet forearmed (21, 25b). Yet with all her thrift, she is not austere (22), and with her business sense she is not hard, but a friend in need (20) and the delight of her children and her husband (28, 29). Her charm and her success (30, 31) owe nothing to chance, because her outlook (30) and her influence (26) have the solid foundation of the fear and wisdom of the Lord.
Except in this last respect, this lady’s standard is not implied to be within the reach of all, for it presupposes unusual gifts and material resources; nor is it much concerned with the personal relationships of marriage. Rather, it shows the fullest flowering of domesticity, which is revealed as no petty and restricted sphere, and its mistress as no cipher. Here is scope for formidable powers and great achievements – the latter partly in the realm of the housewife’s own nurture and produce (31); and partly in her unseen contribution to her husband’s good name (23).
– Proverbs, 178-179

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