Considering that we are in the book of Proverbs and will be looking at Proverbs 31 this Sunday, January 24, 2016, here are five things that might surprise you about Proverbs 31. Pay particular attention to the, “a women who fears the Lord”:
- This description of the ‘perfect’ female came from another woman—not a man. What we have here is the counsel of King Lemuel’s mom. This might seem like a minor fact and of no real significance but it has been surprising to those I have pointed it out to. Most people think that the content of Proverbs 31 came from a guy but it didn’t and I think that gives the good-wife profile that we find here a greater distinction by acknowledging the wisdom of mothers. (Proverbs 1:8 “…forsake not your mother’s teaching.”)
- Here’s another surprise—the girl’s not real. When you consider the context, as Lemuel’s mom describes the right partner for marriage to her son, she’s describing a married woman not a single girl! I don’t think that the point being made here is for the son to find the good wife of another man and take her for himself! Lemuel is being given a vision of what his domestic life will be like with the right girl; a woman who fears the Lord. He will not, cannot, find a young woman performing all the tasks and duties listed simply because most of them are within the context of marriage. But what he can and should look for is godly character that will bloom in marriage.
- We should also realize that the actions described regarding this wonderful lady are representative and not exhaustive. There are other righteous acts of women recorded in other parts of the Bible that are not listed here like Abigail going around her foolish husband to save her family or Deborah giving military advice, or Priscilla helping Aquila disciple an itinerant preacher. Every individual has strengths and gifting in particular. While one might be a great gardener another might teach music or be a nurse.And now this should be noted. Any man looking for a P-31 Girl to marry should first consider if he qualifies as a P-1–30 Man. After all, the young man ‘who fears the Lord’ gets 30 chapters of character descriptions compared to only a single chapter for the ladies.
- She makes independent decisions. I’m sure this was a prior arrangement with her husband but the text indicates that she is weighing options, buying land, purchasing materials, and making money without his direct involvement. She is exercising lots of freedom and her husband trusts her.
- Notice that the husband’s love for his wife is never mentioned. By the same token, neither is the wife’s submission to her husband. But what we do have here is a picture of a joyful marriage; a mutually fulfilling relationship. When married couples fear the Lord, there is little to no need of measuring how well each other is up to speed in their personal role. Fearing the Lord means that love and submission it is happening all the time.
Adapted from a article by Laurence Windham on July 20, 2015