The ABC’s of Wisdom: Building Character with Solomon - Nobility
The Legacy of a Godly Wife
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
The final section of Proverbs is an acrostic, a poem in which each verse begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. One commentator calls this “an alphabet of wifely excellence.” The phrase of noble character translates a very common word (used 246 times in the Old Testament) that in various passages refers to strength, courage, valor, ingenuity, and wealth. Perhaps the last meaning was on the author’s mind when he wrote that a godly wife is worth “more than rubies.” Just as a good name is more desirable than great riches (Proverbs 22:1), so also is a wife of noble character a greater treasure than the riches of the world.
This wife has many admirable traits. She is trustworthy (v. 11), a blessing and not a burden (v. 12), fully committed to her husband (v. 12), hardworking (v. 13), industrious (vv. 13-15), well organized (v. 15), shrewd in business (v. 16), confident (v. 18), diligent (v. 18), a self-starter (v. 19), compassionate (v. 20), prepared for future contingencies (v. 21), well dressed (v. 22), a strong boost to her husband’s career (v. 23), active as a businesswoman in her community (v. 24), a woman of honor (v. 25), both wise and kind (v. 26), and a homemaker in the best sense of the word (v. 27). As a result, her children and her husband praise her (vv. 28-29) because she does not depend on charm or beauty but instead fears the Lord (v. 30). Her fame spreads throughout the city and she enjoys the reward she has earned (v. 31).
Throughout the centuries, women have marveled at this depiction of the ideal wife. She is a wife, a mother, and a very successful businesswoman. If on first reading this seems more like Superwoman than a real woman, it may be that the author is describing not one particular woman, but the life of any godly woman who supports her husband, loves her children, takes care of her family, and uses her gifts and talents to bless others.
She is the kind of wife a woman should be and the kind of woman a man should choose to marry. Although we are not told who she was, we know what she was-a woman who feared the Lord and put her faith into practice. That is the key. Because she reverenced God, everything else in her life stayed in balance. Because she loved her husband, she supported him and used her gifts to increase the family’s resources. As she found her fulfillment in the mundane tasks of life, God blessed the entire family and gave her honor throughout the whole community.
It is no accident that Proverbs closes with this lengthy portrait. The wife of noble character stands in sharp contrast to the contentious woman (19:13) and the immoral woman (chaps. 5-7). In the end those who know her best give her the praise she deserves. In her husband’s eyes, there is no other woman like her. Her children call her blessed. Everyone who knows her praises her.
Here is a worthy model for every wife and for every woman who hopes to be married one day. Study this passage; learn these principles; ask God to make you a woman of noble character. The praise she received is also meant for you.
Lord God, may I be worthy of praise by those who know me best and love me most. Amen.
Which attributes of this noble woman most impress you? How does your life stack up against hers? How would your friends answer that question? Which of her qualities would you most like to develop over the next few months?
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