Often times the messages given to young men seem to forgo the admonishment given early on in Proverbs. Rather the messages leap straight into the final chapter. But Solomon distinguishes between two kinds of women. The early chapters of Proverbs warn of the way of folly while the last chapter exhorts young men to the way of wisdom with regards to considering a woman for marriage. Let’s first visit the discerning counsel from the early chapters of Proverbs including cross references that demonstrate the way of folly when considering a woman for marriage:
Bitter. Proverbs 5:4, Ecclesiastes 7:26
Evil. Proverbs 6:24
Flattering tongue. Proverbs 6:24, 7:5
Lustful . Proverbs 6:25
Flirting. Proverbs 6:25
Adulteress. Proverbs 5:3, 6:26, 29, 32, 7:19, Hebrews 13:4
Immoral. Proverbs 7:5, 1 Corinthians 5:11, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 18
Seductress. Proverbs 7:5
Manipulative. Proverbs 7:6-23
Predatory, Cunning. Proverbs 5:8, Proverbs 7:7-8, 7:10, 7:12, Proverbs 23:28
Dressed as a harlot. Proverbs 7:10, 1 Timothy 2:9
Crafty heart. Proverbs 7:10
Loud, Rebellious, Wayward. Proverbs 7:11, Proverbs 9:13, Titus 2:5, 1 Timothy 5:13
Sexually aggressive. Proverbs 7:13
Deceitful. Proverbs 7:14-15
Enticing speech. Proverbs 7:21, Proverbs 5:3
Flattering lips. Proverbs 7:22
Foolish. Proverbs 9:13
Quarrelsome. Proverbs 19:13, Proverbs 21:19, Proverbs 25:24, Proverbs 27:15-16
Brings destruction. Proverbs 5:5, Proverbs 7:23-25, Ecclesiastes 7:26
Her ways are death. Proverbs 5:5-6, Proverbs 7:26-27
It is the last chapter of Proverbs which is often wisely cited when it comes to the characteristics of a godly woman. What is significant to note is that these are the words of a King as he was instructed by his mother.
In the first nine verses she exhorted him not to fall into the temptations of sinful relationships with women, over indulgences or indifference that would jeopardize his position and duties. He is to remain righteous, sober-minded and compassionate. Proverbs 31:1-9
“To be a mother is by no means second class. Men may have the authority in the home, but the women have the influence. The mother, more than the father, is the one who molds and shapes those little lives from day one.” ~ John MacArthur
Let’s be clear, Proverbs are not promises or laws, rather it is a book compiled of wisdom, Divine wisdom from the holy mind of God where He has provided us with practical application that cuts through the mire and muck as we navigate the world that we live in.
The Proverbs 31 woman is expressed as a mother’s prayer for a wife for her son. Not only is it counsel to a son from his mother but it is counsel to women from a woman. On a side note, to understand the poetry behind this writing verses ten through thirty-one were literally arranged in consecutive order of the first twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
What are the godly traits our sons are to consider for a potential wife?
♥ She is a Christ follower.
♥ She is a woman of excellent and virtuous character. v10
This woman is difficult to find but when she is discovered she is like precious jewels. ‘Excellent’ in Hebrew means ‘force or strength’. She is a woman of force. A woman of strength. ◊
“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Proverbs 12:4
♥ She is trustworthy. v11
She demonstrates impeccable loyalty to her husband. In all facets he trusts her to have integrity, be honest, faithful, wise, discerning and modest. She governs the domestic matters. She is meticulous about her stewardship of what God has provided. She honors those provisions. She is a blessing to her husband’s well being.
♥ She does him good and not evil. v12
Whether by word or deed she does him good. All the days of her life. Her love for him is rooted in Biblical principles and is not moved by circumstances. Through all times and all days she loves him with a depth of abiding devotion. His blessings are her delight that they uniformly reap the benefits. She is selfless.
“Wives, love your husbands. Do them good all your life, manage properly that which is in your care so that they have no need of gain.” Titus 2:4
♥ She works with her hands. v13-17
She is industrious. Managing all the operations of her household. She is the guardian of the home. She is steadfast in her devotion. She is resourceful and disciplined.
♥ She is strong…spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. v18-21
Her strength and perseverance lends her to provide and protect not only her own family but those in need with a spirit of love and delight towards her neighbor. She is a comforter and nurturer.
♥ She is of noble character. v22-24
A man’s public honor begins in the home. She has honored her husband with her godly virtues. The Lord has bestowed a harvest of blessings and honor for her faithfulness.
“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.” Ruth 3:10
♥ She is a teacher. v25-27
She teaches by the content of her character. She lives what she believes. Her faith exudes strength, dignity, confidence, wisdom, kindness and diligence. Not by shallow works and hollow appearances but rather by the demonstration of these qualities in her daily life as pleasing to the Lord.
♥ She is blessed and praised. v28-29
The greatest reward next to pleasing God is to be called blessed by your children and praised by your husband.
♥ She is not worldly. v30-31
The world looks for charm and beauty but they are empty of eternal value. The godly woman fears the Lord with a depth of character that only He is able to create within her through the power of His Spirit.
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” Proverbs 18:22
God’s standards are high. This is a challenge. May we desire as women to be this kind of woman by God’s grace. Being mindful of His forgiveness for our failures and the power of His spirit, not by works of the flesh, to work in our sanctification to meet the Lord’s standard.
“House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.” Proverbs 19:14
May our sons seek to find a woman who exemplifies these standards, not necessarily in fulfillment but with a conviction to pursue God’s design. May the Lord sanctify our sons to be the men they ought to be in His sight, knowing that an excellent wife is a gift of the Lord. Amen.
For further study please consider the following: