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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Bible Study, Proverbs 31 Woman » Proverbs 31:10

Proverbs 31:10

VERSE 10

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

  I think we all have a picture in our minds of what “virtuous” means, but I wanted to examine what the definition was.  Do we picture Mother Teresa or the VirginMary?  You know – like a slight glow surrounding with a halo on top and a chorus of angels providing the background music.  Perhaps we see the image of June Cleaver – perfectly pressed and not a hair out of place, steaming hot platter of fried chicken in her hands which of course are covered with matching pot holders that haven’t got a stain on them, and lest we forget the sweetly embroidered cotton check apron that is tied in a perfectly symmetrical bow around her very tiny waist. Come on!

 The word “Virtuous” is found only three times in the scripture – Once in reference to Ruth 3:11 “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” 

Once is Proverbs 12:4 “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed [is] as rottenness in his bones.” and then finally in Proverbs 31. 

 This is the definition of the word “virtuous” from the Hebrew as found in the Strong’s Concordance. 

Strong’s H2428 – chayil ???

1) strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army

a) strength

b) ability, efficiency

            c) wealth

            d) force, army

 Here are some modern definitions I found:

WorldNet Princeton – morally excellent

Merriam Webster -1. potent, efficacious 2. having or exhibiting virtue b : morally excellent : righteous

Free Dictionary – 1. morally good 2. chaste

  The rest of the time this Hebrew word is used to denote masculine traits.  Here are the words and the number of times that they are used in the Old Testament:

  army 56, man of valour 37, host 29, forces 14, valiant 13, strength 12, riches 11, wealth 10, power 9, substance 8, might 6, strong 5, misc 33

  I also looked up the word Virtue which is of course the root of the word Virtuous:

WorldNet Princeton – the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong

Merriam Webster –      1  a : conformity to a standard of right : morality

    b : a particular moral excellence

                                    2 plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy

                                    3 : a beneficial quality or power of a thing

4 : manly strength or courage : valor

5 : a commendable quality or trait : merit

6 : a capacity to act : potency

7 : chastity especially in a woman

 I think we can safely venture to say that this descriptive word “virtuous” used in Proverbs 31:10 is referring to a really excellent woman –  Excellent in every way.  She is the epitome, the ideal, the model woman. She is up to the challenge for whatever task is at hand.  I want to venture to say, from the beginning, that I do not believe this woman depicted is young.  She obviously has children and has some years behind her.  Why do I say that?  Well, we will get in to that more later, but I believe it is evidenced in all the tasks that she has mastered and the position which she and her husband have attained in the community.

I wanted to mention this now because I remember when I was a very young woman and studied this passage of scripture and ended up feeling inadequate in so many ways because I didn’t know how to do anything.  So if you are a younger sister, please recognize that we are all in a process.  It takes time to develop skills and gain wisdom and none of us have it all mastered.  Do not despair over what you do not know or cannot do yet.  Each of us must ask the Lord where we are to begin and what step is next for us to take.  He will lead you!

 I have talked toPaulseveral times over the last few weeks about my intrigue that the Hebrew word translated here is also translated for the most part to denote things like “strength”, “efficiency”, “ability”, “might”, “power”.  It even is used for “army” and “force”. These words sound to me like they are describing a general or some type of superhero.  And yet I do not get the impression– from the rest of the chapter – that this woman is a forceful, bold or controlling person.  Do you agree? 

 A picture begins to emerge in my mind’s eye of this person.  Our family has off and on through the years enjoyed the experience of having “tea” in the late afternoon.  We do it up with all the trimmings –special teas from all over the world, teapots, cream, sugar cubes, little sandwiches or cookies, cloth napkins, tiny spoons, etc.  I have an assortment of lovely teapots that we use. Some are fine china, some are utilitarian stoneware, some are small, and some are a bit larger. I have also enjoyed collecting stoneware pitchers through the years.  We have several that are hand-thrown pottery made by friends of mine.  Several are just very utilitarian and while not so pretty, they are very sturdy.  I try to use everything I have at some point or another and I also match the item to the task.  I do not use my large, heavy stoneware pitcher to serve hot tea during tea time.  If I am making tea for myself, then I will use my very small “Brown Betty”.  If we are having a family time, then I will bring out my larger teapots that are more suitable.  When I am making a pitcher of punch or sweet tea for supper, then the large pitchers are brought out.  The correct vessel for the correct task – The value of each vessel is in its ability to fill the need. I see this woman as someone who can handle what is given her to handle. 

 *I want to note here that there are some of my teapots and pitchers that are so delicate and fragile they are no longer used.  While they are beautiful, they are merely set on a shelf to remind me of special times in the past. I have to admit that at this point in time they are on a very high shelf and quite often the only time I remember them is when I have to dust them.  But because of their sentimental value, they are still given a place to exist.  I pray that the Lord never considers me one of these. I want to be fulfilling His purpose until the day He returns or I draw my last breath, whichever comes first.

 This woman is a woman who is ready for the task at hand whatever it may be.  Efficient, strong, able, organized (the image of an army makes me think of an organized situation), ready – all these words would be appropriate to describe her. This point begins to lead me into the next point of this passage – “for her price is far above rubies”. 

 Price far above rubies – this has been the title of many books, studies, websites, etc for women for many, many years.  Far above rubies – I don’t know about you but I haven’t ever bought or even priced a ruby so I have no clue what they are worth.  But I decided to check the price of rubies and found some amazing information.

 “The very finest, top quality ruby is so rare that it has been the world’s most valued gemstone for thousands of years. In fact, even today, flawless top quality rubies are more valuable and rare than top quality colorless diamonds. Top rubies are so rare even the world’s top gem dealers must incessantly comb through wealthy estate sales and auctions to find them. Clean bright stones in sizes above five carats are particularly rare.”           Chris Ralph

“During the course of history, rubies have been so highly prized and valued that they have, at times, reached a value over 7 times the value of diamonds.”  allaboutrubies.org

 The more I read the more I see that rubies truly were the most valuable item of the era when this was written.  Even today the ruby is the rarest of all the gems. So this tells us that this woman is an extremely rare commodity and her value is incredible. Now, I want to say – I don’t think her value is necessarily based in the fact that she is rare.  There isn’t going to be a bidding war over a wife.  But instead I see her value as the fact that she is so in tune with the needs of her loved ones and being so in tune, she does what is necessary to cover all those areas to the utmost degree.

  According to scripture the only other thing that was listed as more valuable than rubies was wisdom. 

Proverbs8:11“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” 

  Sisters – Now is your turn to jump in.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this so far.  Yes, we are just barely beginning, but I am interested to hear what you think about the definitions that we have seen or about why this woman was so valuable.  It would be easy to jump ahead and look further down the chapter but let’s establish here at the beginning what we see so far.

Comments

Verse: Verse 10

Thoughts: I love this particular verse. I like many Christian sisters have read this chapter of Proverbs and thought there’s no way I can be like this woman. Anyway I see verse 10 as saying that our value to the Lord is way more than the most rare ruby. Can you even imagine such a thing? I’m looking forward to this lesson and growing into the Proverbs 31 wife I was met to be.

Name: Regina

Verse: proverbs 31:10

Thoughts: I am a first timer to these bible studies and have been so greatly blessed! I have longed for a study on Proverbs 31 but could not get anyone willing to start one or EVEN interested in one! Ever since my husband and family decided to follow the teachings of 1 Corinthians 11, I have had difficulty finding studies or lessons to help me grow as a submisive and Godly wife. I so crave to know more about doing what God has called me to do. It is still “new” to me. I so enjoyed your last lesson and that is what inspired my family and myself to live and walk this way with our Lord. Thank you so much Angie, you truly are an answer to prayer!

Name: Maria

Verse: 10

Thoughts: The info on the diamonds being clean bright stones really should me that I should always be that bright shining light that reflects Jesus in my life.

Name: Susie

Verse: Proverbs 31:10

Thoughts: I looked up this verse in my Guideposts Parallel Bible, as well as other versions that I have in my library. It’s interesting to note that all the other versions use the word “wife” in place of “woman”. While I need to look at myself and ask how I measure up, I also see that as Mothers we need to be preparing our daughters to enter marriage as virtuous, capable wives. The example we set and the importance we place on being virtuous wives will help our daughters prepare for marriage.

Name: Susan

Hi Susan- Good point!  The Hebrew word used here is:

  • Strong’s H802 – ‘ishshah ???
  • 1) woman, wife, female
  • a) woman
  • b) wife
  • c) female
  • d) each, every

So I believe it can be translated safely to either woman or wife, but obviously this woman is a wife.  Again this confirms that she is not a young girl.  I appreciate your sharing the importance of us being Godly examples of this to our daughters.  There is so glaring a statement in our society of the lack of training in biblical standards in this generation of young women and men.  The training the world has given them is clear.  How much more important it is for us to be diligent in training our children to walk in the way the Lord has set.

Thanks so much for jumping in on this –

Verse: value/worth

Thoughts: I have no “value” in and of myself; and it would do me well to remember that. As a born-again Christian and therefore a daughter of the King, my “value” is founded in God alone. The Father looks at me and sees His Son. I believe that is the “value” that truly counts. I’m a work in progress on God’s road of sanctification by His grace and mercy. A sister in Christ, Carol

Name: Carol Ann

How right you are Carol!!  Our value in every way rests in our relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord!!  It is through obedience and submission to Him and His Word that we find our place of purpose. It is like the teapot I was sharing about – the teapot’s value to me is in its ability to keep the tea hot or cold and pure.  That is where our value lies – in how we exhibit Christ to the world.  Without Him, there is no value in us or our efforts whatsoever. 

I do remember a time in my life, not too long ago, when I felt as if my existence was less important than a slug in the dirt.  Eventhough the Lord saw me as worth loving, I didn’t feel worthy of being loved – my surroundings and the people in my life made that very clear to me.  But one glorious day the clouds broke and the warmth of His love broke through all those other voices and He showed me my value to Him.  Many people are going through the same thing.  They feel as if their worth is non-existant.  I thank the Lord that He has brought me out of the miry clay and given me the opportunity to share with others that indeed, He values them.  He values each of us so much that He gave His Life and His Blood to buy their pardon from death and Hell. To Him our value is far above rubies.  Praise Him forever!!

What a glorious and precious thing to be able to daily give our lives and our goals to Him and allow His Life and Goals to take over!!

Thanks for the reminder and insight!

Angie

Verse: Why is she so valuable

Thoughts: My thoughts as to why she is so valuable…because she strives for a Godly manner and serves others before herself is certainly part of it. Selflessness is so vital in marriage and relationship and I think this passage certainly depicts an example of it. That among many Godly qualities contribute to her value. But as to rarity itself effecting value…I would think that she is indeed rare. I think the very fact that it says…Who can find a virtuous woman?…indicates to me that if a man can find a Godly wife as such described he has been exceedingly blessed. Scriptures say few will walk the narrow path. Thus a woman to be the example as described, I think in comparison to the world especially, she will certainly be of rare character. Now that said, does it HAVE to be that way. No, I don’t think so. I think God gives us all the strength and ability to be like her, but few will actually even try. I know I myself try, but I often feel I fall short. I am sure most of ladies who do strive to be that Prov 31 lady do feel that way, we all know the flaws of our own hearts. May we all improve each day. I know am very glad for this study to help us to do so.

Sweet Angie would you be so kind as to add me to the email list of being notified when you update this please? I don’t want to miss out. 🙂

Name: Eleanor

Dear Eleanor – You were already on the list – not sure why you didn’t get the email but I will make sure you do next time!  So glad you are with us.  Something you wrote – “I know I myself try, but I often feel I fall short. I am sure most of ladies who do strive to be that Prov 31 lady do feel that way, we all know the flaws of our own hearts.” along with Carol’s words about our worth being in Christ – truly these words of humility that you both shared are what we all must be striving for.  It is an act of our will to put pride down in all situations and something we must all strive to do. Yes!  Selflessness is VITAL – May the Lord have mercy upon us and helping us to gain humility by keeping us focused on His greatness and our complete need of Him.

Big hugs

Verse: Proverbs 31:10

Thoughts: I fall so far short of the Proverbs 31 woman. I know that it is only through the Lord that I can hope to gain even a fraction of who she is. My husband left me and my 2 sons when I became a Christian. I was able to raise my boys in a Christian home but I don’t think either one of them look up to me.

I would love to have the relationship with my family as the Proverbs 31 had. I have done my best for my children but seem to have failed in so many ways.

I don’t even know where to start now. It all seems so overwhelming.

Name: Maggie

Dearest Maggie,

We all fall short.  It is only through our daily surrender do we gain the victory and overcome the enemy.  None of us can undo the past – we can only move forward from this very moment. The scriptures tell us that when we surrender it all then He will guide our steps:

Isaiah 30:20 –  21 

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 

Determine in your heart and in your mind to not allow despair to keep you from obedience and diligence.  Get into the Word and stay in the Word and commit every day to serving Him and walking His life and you will have victory.  The past is past, Sister.  He has promised you good things for your future!

Angie

Verse: Proverbs 31 study

Thoughts: Dear Angie,

I recently had an experience that illustrates what you wrote to Maggie and fits right into where I’m at with this study. I am 38 and my oldest child is 13, youngest is 5. I do not consider myself a young mother but I am not a “seasoned” mother either. Over the past 5 years I’ve really tried to live my life as dictated in these verses of Proverbs 31. My pride was telling me that I was doing a pretty good job. About 6 months ago my husband gave me permission to buy my first sewing machine. I was so excited and thought “Here I go, I’m going to make our own clothes, sew everything in sight and really be a true homemaker now”. Well, that was before I opened the box and had no clue what to do. A few months later as that sewing machine sat there and I was still hand sewing everything, my mother in law came for a visit. We have not always had the best relationship although it has been better over the past years. She is an expert with a sewing machine and has been sewing for many years. Would you believe I took that sewing machine and put it away in the closet when she came for the visit? My PRIDE would not allow me to gain knowledge from this well seasoned wife and mother. I was just wanting to put her up on a shelf so to speak like you did with your teapots Angie. I wanted her to think I had it all together and she was too frail, too precious, too much of the “perfect” mother and wife for me to ask for help. So the machine sat there. This past week we went up north to help her celebrate her 80th birthday. On the last day of the trip I spent some time with her and my children while my husband was off doing something else. I realized the morning of the visit that it was my pride keeping me from gleaning knowledge from this godly woman. Pure pride. I asked the Lord for forgiveness and then went to my mother in law and told her about the sewing machine. I said “Can you please help me?” She was thrilled beyond words!!! She was able to share what she has learned with me, her son’s wife and mother of her beloved grandchildren. She was actually honored that I asked for her advice. And I was humbled by my own stupidity that I allowed all this time to pass and that sewing machine to collect dust all because I didn’t want to ask for help.

To all of the young mothers — learn from my mistake. Don’t assume that you’ve got it all together. None of us are perfect Proverbs 31 women. We all need to have a teachable spirit. And the older women in your lives the Titus 2 women – they are a treasure not to be put up on a shelf and admired but to be used while we still have them on this earth with us. I have always regretted not learning from my Grandmother and now I almost lost another opportunity with my mother in law.

And yes, I am slowly learning how to use the sewing machine and I’m determined to continue to ask for help. And for forgiveness when my own pride gets in the way.

Thank you Angie for this study. You are a blessing in my life.

Name: Donna

A beautiful testimony, Donna!  I so appreciate you sharing this with us.  It is such a true portrait of the beauty that comes from putting down the flesh and growing in submission and developing a teachable spirit.  Excellent!

Big hugs!

 

Angelia

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"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

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