What a wide variety of women we have studied this month! These Old Testament women have made courageous decisions by faith, stepped up to lead, struggled with bitterness, loved with kindness, worshiped idols, spoke with wisdom, and prophesied truth. Each had different goals, obstacles, victories, flaws, and failures.
We finish our journey with a look at the ideal woman, the “wife of noble character,” described in Proverbs 31. Modern readers may not realize that this chapter is actually a skillfully crafted poem. In the Hebrew, it reads as an acrostic, each verse beginning with another letter of the alphabet. In addition, the poem is written with extended chiastic structure, meaning that opposite lines are parallel. The first line is parallel to the last line. The second line is parallel to the second-to-last line. Using both techniques in one poem is remarkable!
The author describes the sort of woman a young man should look for in a wife: someone with a noble character, someone in whom he can place his confidence. She should have a strong work ethic and manage money well. She should care for the needy and maintain her household.
Verse 23 says her husband is respected as a leader in the city, and this, significantly, is the center of the poem, the main point. It follows, then, that this woman was not only savvy in business but also strong and dignified, full of peace and joy for the future. She was a wise and capable teacher. Her children and her husband would speak her praise. The poem concludes with an important point. While charm and beauty are not bad qualities to possess, they are not the most important foundation. “A woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (v. 30)!
>> While the qualities developed in this poem describe a wife, they are characteristics we can all emulate and pursue. Consider which women in this study have made an impact on your life. What lesson will you take forward from their lives?
Sanctify us, Lord. May we be known as men and women who fear You and whose characters are shaped by You. Cultivate biblical virtues in us, bless our families, and grant us godly wisdom. We are blessed to be Your servants.