Summary: Wisdom is compared to the virtuous woman in this closing poem of the book of Proverbs: the very personification of Christ, and of all that we all should be in Him.
A FINAL PERSONIFICATION OF WISDOM
The book of Proverbs closes with an acrostic poem which commends the virtues of a certain (literally) “strong woman” (Proverbs 31:10). If we have been reading through the book up to this point, we will find that we have met her already. This woman of worth, whose “price is above rubies” - is Wisdom itself (cf. Proverbs 3:13-15).
We find that Lady Wisdom is like Jesus. Wisdom, like Jesus, is to be sought after; to be desired: to be found. Wisdom, like Jesus, is to be trusted; and will do us good (Proverbs 31:10-12).
This efficient homemaker and provider for her household (Proverbs 31:13-15) is one and the same as the Wisdom who furnishes a table before us, and calls us to ‘Come and eat’ (Proverbs 9:1-6). In fact - viewed in this light - we can see in her the LORD our shepherd, who prepares a table before us (Psalm 23:5). We can hear Jesus, who cries ‘Come unto me’ to the weary and heavy laden (Matthew 11:28-30; cf. Isaiah 55:1).
This lady’s industriousness stands as an example to all of us, both women and men (Proverbs 31:16-19). Yet behind the imagery we see that the LORD God is the landowner, and that we are His vineyard (cf. Matthew 21:33). We also perceive that Jesus is the true vine (John 15:1).
The Lord strengthens His arm for our salvation (cf. Proverbs 31:17). Wisdom stretches out her hand to the poor, as should we when we are able (Proverbs 31:20). In like manner, the needy find their solace in Jesus: He is the LORD our provider (cf. Proverbs 31:21).
There is great honour in being attached to Wisdom (Proverbs 31:23). We are not foolish to follow Christ. When we walk with Him we will be respected, even by those who do not agree with us.
We read of this woman’s coverings (Proverbs 31:22), and merchandise (Proverbs 31:24): but her greatest adornment is her strength and honour (Proverbs 31:25). We, like her, will have assurances as to the future when we are ‘clothed’ with Christ. We have put on Christ (Galatians 3:27); we must put on Christ (Romans 13:14).
In the poem, this woman opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindness (Proverbs 31:26). In this, as in so much else that we can discover, she is the very personification of Wisdom (cf. Proverbs 4:5-6). If the law was our tutor, pointing us to Christ (Galatians 3:24); then Wisdom serves us in the same way: steering us away from folly, and pointing us towards Jesus the Word of God, the ultimate manifestation of Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Just as Lady Wisdom looks to the way of her household (Proverbs 31:27), so the LORD also is industrious (John 5:17). The Father continually watches over His people (Psalm 121:5); and the Son feeds His flock, and tends the lambs with the tenderness of a good shepherd (Isaiah 40:11). The Holy Spirit preserves us in hope, even in adverse circumstances (Galatians 5:5).
The person who is married to Wisdom safely trusts in her (Proverbs 31:11), and is honoured to be associated with her (Proverbs 31:23). In a similar way the people of Jesus (Hebrews 2:12-13) deem Him to be blessed, and praise His holy name (cf. Proverbs 31:28). Wisdom is the principal thing, so by all means get wisdom (Proverbs 4:7) – and wisdom will teach you that ‘there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved’ apart from the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12).
There is a kind of beauty which is only skin-deep. We find this personified in the woman whom I call Dame Folly (Proverbs 6:25). Yet Lady Wisdom’s attraction is of a spiritual order: she fears the LORD (Proverbs 31:30).
Works stand as the evidence of wisdom’s virtue (Proverbs 31:31). The works that the Father was doing in the Son stood as a verification of Jesus’ words (John 14:10-11). Works are an evidence of faith in the believer (James 2:18-20), who is ‘called unto good works which the Father has before determined’ (Ephesians 2:10).