Proverbs 31

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Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Exhortation to Christian women -or- inclusio to the whole book of Proverbs describing the virtuous woman Wisdom (cf. Prov. 9:1-12)? (I guess "both" is a viable option as well.) Thoughts? Opinions? Reasons?
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
Exhortation to Christian women -or- inclusio to the whole book of Proverbs describing the virtuous woman Wisdom (cf. Prov. 9:1-12)? (I guess "both" is a viable option as well.) Thoughts? Opinions? Reasons?

Either works well, I suppose. One thing I DO know: back in our broad evangelical days, my wife sure got tired of being beaten over the head with it in sermons every Mother's Day!
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I'm not a big fan of spiritualizing everything. It's talking about a woman, with servants, whose husband is an elder. I see it as something for women to aspire to no less than the qualities of elders and deacons that men are to aspire to (and elder's and deacon's wives for the women).

It praises her for:
- her hard work
- her industry
- her shrewdness
- the way she dresses herself and her children
- how she brings honor to her husband
- for raising Godly children

It's a beautiful Proverb.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
But what is the point of coming up with a metaphorical interpretation of that section? It seems to me the passage works perfectly well as a description of a flesh and blood virtuous christian woman. I have to confess I can't seem the reason to speculate about an additional interpretation. There might off course me somethings we can learn about Lady Wisdom here, but I would think such an application would be very, very secondary. Note also that from verse one and two the hold chapter is supposed to be comprised to advice given to King Lemuel by his mother, which I would think supports a literal reading.

Edit: Posted at the same time as Rich.
 

Archlute

Puritan Board Senior
I think that chapter 31 is describing the ideal of a virtuous woman, but a woman who is also a flesh and blood ideal, not just a reference to Lady Wisdom. The Jews clearly understood it this way, since in their ordering of the Scriptures Proverbs 31 is followed by the book of Ruth, who is also set forth as a flesh and blood model of virtue.

Even though this passage can be overused as a Mother's Day text, it still is a great passage for the formation of a woman's character. I know a female friend of the family who just this week was convicted of some sin in her life by the reading of this passage, and took action to change that behavior in the future. If this text were only read as a metaphor for wisdom, then the Holy Spirit would not be able to work upon our conscience when we were exposed to it.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
My humble opinion is that the description was given to a man, and shows what men naturally look for in a woman, especially one that is going to cost a handsome dowry. The description of a never-tiring, ever-glowing, and kind-speaking woman are qualities which men naturally look for. Verse 30 points to the quintessential quality men should seek in a life-partner: "favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
My humble opinion is that the description was given to a man, and shows what men naturally look for in a woman, especially one that is going to cost a handsome dowry. The description of a never-tiring, ever-glowing, and kind-speaking woman are qualities which men naturally look for. Verse 30 points to the quintessential quality men should seek in a life-partner: "favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."

Proverbs 31:1 sets the context:

"The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:"

It is written by a man, something which his mother had taught him.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I suggest that "his mother taught him" confirms my point that the description was given to a man. Verse 31, the only prescription of the section, is directed to a man, and is corrective of the previous description, where the woman toiled tirelessly for others while her husband gained all the notoriety in the gates. The text instructs the man to let his good wife enjoy the fruit of her hands as much as others, and to give her due respect and recognition for her own works.
 
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