Summary: Is it a shock that the writer of Proverbs 31 used the metaphor of a wife and a mom to explain wisdom? It's not a shock to me.
The Work of Wisdom
In honor of mothers day we’re going to talk about wisdom; which is appropriate considering how wisdom plays an active daily part in the life of a mom. We'll start with what the Bible says about wisdom with a Scripture you may wonder about at first. Why are we reading this Proverb when we're discussing wisdom? Settle down mom, I'll explain...
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders. She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Wow. What a standard for mom's. How many mom's feel a little inadequate after reading that!
Let’s just take a look at what this wife and mom does:
She makes all the clothes for her family, towels, sheets and blankets with wool that she spins herself. She gets up before dawn to make breakfast for her family, she buys and sells real estate, plants and manages a vineyard, sews and sells clothing accessories for businessmen, and all her business dealings are profitable. She serves routinely at a homeless shelter, she has a sense of humor, her husband is famous and all her children stand up when she enters a room and proudly proclaim out loud, “you’re the best mom in the world.”
I think it's time we take a look at what this passage of Scripture is really about, before mom's everywhere begin to throw rocks at me...
What Proverbs 31 is:
Proverbs 31 is an alphabetical acrostic, a literary tool used to help aid memorization. Each line of the proverb begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. Proverbs 31 was traditionally recited by husbands and children at the Sabbath table on Friday evenings. (the expositors Bible commentary – Proverbs, page 1128)
Hey mom, how would you feel if your family adopted the same tradition? Would you like to recite this Proverb every Friday night?
Let's discuss what this Proverb is really talking about
The heart of it:
the stated purpose of Proverbs as a collection is to teach what? Wisdom.
Proverbs 1:2 - Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise
Proverbs 1:20-23 - Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise
Let's ask another question. According to this collection of wise statements that is Proverbs what is more precious than rubies?
Proverbs 3:15 - Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her
Proverbs 8:11 - For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it
Proverbs 20:15 - Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies
Does Proverbs 31 say something similar?
Proverbs 31:10 - Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies