Tuesday May 28, 2019: Proverbs 31:10

Krissa Lox

Member
Proverbs 31:10

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

Proverbs 31 is one of those parts of the Bible that, in my opinion, are often discussed but seldom understood, and therefore often misapplied.

There's a lot of analogies used in the verses that follow this one that made sense in Old Testament Jewish culture that end up interpreted very differently in modern times, usually to the effect of evaluating character by the evidence of material criteria instead of spiritual. For men, such error in evaluation can lead to inaccurate judgements in what he should be looking for in a supportive partner, for women it can lead to enslavement to non-spiritual ideals to feel worthy of love and acceptance, or even just to be considered a good and competent human being, and for churches it can lead to alienating or misguiding some of their membership and undermining its talents, cohesiveness, and effectiveness as a whole by pressuring individuals in ways that go against God's will and equipping rather than support it.

But analogies are just that. They're communication constructs designed to provide illustration to better understand a concept, but not necessarily the absolute entirety of everything that concept can entail. On top of that, concerns for material considerations were broadly rescinded by Christ's coming, so Old Testament references need to be lessened in priority in comparison to conflicting New Testament teachings:

Matthew 6:24-33

6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

So to really get an applicable understanding of the chapter, I think it's important to be able to separate the material manifestations from the spiritual foundations that underly them. Recently I found this song and thought it a very good expression of the spiritual elements, and over the course of life I've seen a lot of good people (both men and women) who are great blessings to the world in their cultivation of these spiritual principles, but end up being unappreciated, taken advantage of, or knocked back in life from not having societally-defined material attributes to go along with it. But God still finds them valuable even if the world will not.


 
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PeekABoo

Official Internet Mom
Staff member
So, Proverbs 31 and the Song below have something in common - talking about seeking or finding a woman who can do what she needs to do to get things done and take care of her loved ones. Interesting connection there. (BTW Beautiful song, never heard it before!) But I'm unsure what your intent is for connecting the passage in Matthew to this thought. The passage in Matthew speaks about not caring for your life or worrying about material things of this world - God will take care of you. Sorry, I think I missed the correlation you were intending to bring out. Could you break it down for me? :)
 

Krissa Lox

Member
So, Proverbs 31 and the Song below have something in common - talking about seeking or finding a woman who can do what she needs to do to get things done and take care of her loved ones. Interesting connection there. (BTW Beautiful song, never heard it before!) But I'm unsure what your intent is for connecting the passage in Matthew to this thought. The passage in Matthew speaks about not caring for your life or worrying about material things of this world - God will take care of you. Sorry, I think I missed the correlation you were intending to bring out. Could you break it down for me? :)
Oh, sorry. It's a lot clearer with the remainder of the text after 31:10, but I had to settle for linking it in the original post instead of writing it all out due to post length restrictions. I'll type it out here if that helps:

31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

In those verses, there's a lot of stuff about food, clothing, and such, that tend to get people caught up in thinking the main point is about housework and material things, but the contrasting verses in Matthew would indicate that's probably not supposed to be the main focus, or even if it was at the time it was written, it shouldn't be our main focus now.
 
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