The Ideal Wife and Mother

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Text: Proverbs 31:10-31

THE IDEAL WIFE AND MOTHER

We are not sure who wrote Proverbs 31:10-31 . It may have been King Lemuel or his mother or someone else. The text does not clearly indicate the author of this section of Proverbs

Something you cannot see in English is that this section is an acrostic. This means that in the Hebrew text each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus, the first letter in verse 10 is aleph, the first letter in verse 11 is beth, the first letter in verse 12 is gimel, etc.

In Proverbs 31:10-31 we see a description of an ideal wife and mother. It is the sort of wife and mother who would be a credit to any family.

Proverbs 31:10 10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Many women are available for marriage, but a woman who will make a fine and godly wife, i.e. a noble wife, a capable wife of noble character, is rare. In my churches I have been privileged to know a good number of ladies who are good wives, who strive to be like this ideal in Proverbs 31 . However, though they might make fine wives for someone, God only has one for me. When seeking a wife for your sons, steer him to the group of girls who are going to be virtuous women because it is from this group he needs to find God's choice for him. Likewise, in our churches there are a good number of good, godly husbands; but God only has one for each lady. My wife is that woman for me, and I am that husband for my wife. This is also true in your families. The husband/wife relationship is an exclusive relationship. Don't ever let anything break it.

A virtuous woman is a woman of strength, a capable woman, a woman of noble character; and the context suggests that this refers to her character. She is capable, diligent, worthy, and good.

Her price is above rubies suggests that a fine wife is rare. Her worth to her husband cannot be measured in terms of costly jewels.

Proverbs 31:11 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Her husband can have great or complete confidence in her and trust her implicitly. He can trust her with his money, with his checkbook, and with his credit cards. He can trust her not to steal from others. Her careful financial management enhances their family's wealth.

Proverbs 31:12 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

She recognizes that her reason for existence is to be an appropriate or fitting help for her husband. She always puts forth her best effort to assist him and would never knowingly do anything which would cause him problems. She is an asset to her husband rather than a liability. She supports and encourages him, and she is always faithful to him throughout her life.

Proverbs 31:13 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

She is a hard worker, providing for her family's needs. She makes cloth and then makes garments out of them.

Proverbs 31:14 14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

She goes shopping and brings home the best bargains for her husband and their family.

Proverbs 31:15 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

She gets up early (before daybreak, i.e. while it is yet dark) and provides food. She does not sleep in until noon. She looks after her household, whether she does the work herself or sees to it that it gets done by someone else. She is a keeper at home.

Proverbs 31:16 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

She is industrious. She has a healthy attitude toward work. She buys a field and plants a vineyard. Perhaps, she plants and tends a garden. She may work outside the home. It is not wrong for her to do so as long as it is with her husband's approval and as long as she continues to be a keeper at home. Her husband, her children, and her household must all appear on her list of priorities before her outside work.

Proverbs 31:17 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

She works hard and is not afraid to work physically.

Proverbs 31:18 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She recognizes the worth of what she has done. It is not a sinful pride but an honest appraisal of her work. She is not afraid to make things and sell them for others. She stays up in the evening and works.

Proverbs 31:19 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She finds time to spin wool and flax. She undoubtedly sews and makes things for her family.

Proverbs 31:20 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She is generous toward the poor and needy. She unselfishly shares with those who are less fortunate.

Proverbs 31:21 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

She has adequately prepared in advance for her family for the approach of winter; so she is not running around in a tizzy at the last minute trying to adequately clothe her family.

Proverbs 31:22 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Coverings of tapestry are decorated spreads. They may refer to her family's bed coverings.

She makes her own clothing, perhaps, from cloth she has woven, with which she covers herself. She makes herself look nice.

Proverbs 31:23 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Her husband is prominent in the community. He can devote himself to things outside the home because his wife has taken care of things at home. She enhances her husband's standing in the community and does not detract from it. She honors her husband's leadership. She respects him and builds him up.

Proverbs 31:24 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

She makes fine linen by weaving it. She sells what she makes and supplies girdles, i.e. belts or sashes to merchants.

Proverbs 31:25 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

She faces the future with confidence because of her industry and diligence. She is not a weakling. She is characterized by strength and honor.

Proverbs 31:26 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

She provides wise instruction for her family (and others), but she always does it in a kind manner. She speaks with kindness.

Proverbs 31:27 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

She looks out for her household, and does not waste her time sitting around doing nothing.

Proverbs 31:28 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Her children and her husband will recognize how fortunate they are to have had her as their mother and wife and will appreciate and praise her.

Proverbs 31:29 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

Her husband says, There are many fine wives out there, but you are the best.

Proverbs 31:30 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Favor is grace or charm. A woman may have grace or charm, but it does not mean that she is a good wife or a good mother. There are lots of ladies with pretty faces, but a pretty face does not make a good wife or a good mother. A woman who fears the Lord is the best kind. She is one who is saved, who loves the Lord with all her heart or with her entire being, and who is seeking to live for the Lord.

Proverbs 31:31 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Let her be honored for her diligence and noble character. Let praise be given to her from the leaders in the community as a result of what she has done in her life.

In Proverbs 31:10-31 we have seen a description of an ideal wife and mother. How can every lady be like this lady? You say, But I could never be like this. I beg to differ with you. Every lady here not only should be like this lady but can be like this ideal lady.

So, how can a lady go about becoming an ideal wife and mother like the lady in Proverbs 31 ?

Becoming like the ideal wife and mother starts with being born again.

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

No lady who is unsaved will ever be like the ideal wife and mother in Proverbs 31 .

Becoming like the ideal wife and mother comes by being surrendered to the Lord. Again, no lady who has not surrendered her life to the Lord to live for Him will ever be like the ideal wife and mother.

Romans 12:1-2 - 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Next, being like the ideal wife and mother in Proverbs 31 comes by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Matthew 6:33 - But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Put God first in your life.

Furthermore, being like the ideal wife and mother comes by pursuing after the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Mark 12:30 - And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Another way of saying it is that being like the ideal wife and mother in Proverbs 31 comes by studying the Scriptures daily and submitting your heart and mind to them.

II Timothy 3:16-17 - 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Pursuing after the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and submitting your heart and mind to the teaching of the Scriptures will result in your being filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 - And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

Being filled with God the Holy Spirit will result in your having the fruit of the Spirit produced in your life.

Galatians 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

This is how every lady can become an ideal wife and mother. It is also how every man can become an ideal husband and father.

How are you doing at becoming an ideal lady or an ideal man? I have given you the pattern. Go, follow the pattern, and be what God wants you to be.

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