Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 is attributed to King Lemuel, whom we really know little about.  He obviously had a good mother as she gave him some great advice here in this chapter.  She warns him “Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings”.  This refers to the need for single and young men to remain pure, and not give up their sexual purity to a woman who can rob a man of his strength by using sex to steal his power and leadership position.  Sound advice from a wise mom.

She also tells him to care for the less fortunate.  “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy”.  We need to defend those who can’t defend themselves.  Take care of hurting people. Defend those who can’t defend themselves. Stand for the oppressed. Support the needy and deal justly with everybody.  This is great guidance for her son to help him be a good king and a great man.

Then she moves on to the section that typically is tied to this passage – the description of “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels”.  She gives him a description of this wife physically, mentally, morally, spiritually. In every dimension the character of the excellent wife and mother is unfolded here. She describes this ideal woman, this model woman by looking at six features:

  1. her character as a wife (vs 11-12)
  2. her devotion as a homemaker  (vs 13 -19)
  3. her generosity as a neighbor (vs 20-24)
  4. her influence as a teacher  (vs 25-26)
  5. her effectiveness as a mother  (vs 27-29)
  6. her excellence as a saint  (vs 30-31)

She is truly a gift from God.  “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all”. As she becomes older, as her children grow, they will appreciate her more and more and so will her husband because of her sacrifice and they will rise up and call her blessed. They will praise her and her husband should say I wouldn’t trade her for anyone or anything.  The lesson ends with an understanding that a woman who fears the Lord is not only beautiful inside and out, but is worthy of praise.  “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised”.  It’s what’s in the heart that makes a woman beautiful!

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