Thursday, June 14, 2007

Profile of a Virtuous Woman

Proverbs 31 contains the oft quoted description of the virtuous wife.
The chapter credits are given to King Lemuel’s mother.

Who is King Lemuel?
The name is most probably one of Solomon’s aliases since this is the only time in scripture this name is mentioned and history records no king by that name. Lemuel means ‘belonging to God’. When Solomon was born, it is the only time we are told that “God loved” a baby and he was consequently named Jedidiah (loved of the Lord). This name is also never mentioned again. Chapter 30 of Proverbs is credited to Agur, son of Jekah - which would translate to “words of the wise from the son of obedience”.
The most reasonable consensus is that both Agur and Lemuel are fanciful names for Solomon along with ‘The Preacher'. Solomon never refers to himself as Solomon.

Accepting that, we would have to conclude that ‘King Lemuel’s’ mother is Bathsheba. Interesting, is it not?

I would think that the first 9 verses of chapter 31 are the words Bathsheba taught Solomon, but then I think the last part of the chapter describing the virtuous woman are once again reverting back to being Solomon’s words.
When it came to women Solomon put more stress on quantity than on quality so I doubt this description would be his observation from a marital position. So to me it seems most likely that Solomon was describing his mother – through the eyes of a loving and adoring son!

When I read the description of the virtuous woman it focuses on the things that she does. But I like to read between the lines and envision the kind of person she was.

The first thing observed about her is that “the heart of her husband safely trusts her”. I think that is the highest praise a wife can receive.
What is it that makes a husband feel secure? It is his wife’s respect for him. It has been said that a man will choose respect over love….while a woman will choose love over respect. Obviously, this virtuous wife respects her husband enabling him to excel in all he does. She continually has his well being in mind, yet she is an independent woman who thinks for herself.

The list of all the virtuous woman accomplishes is tiring even to think about but the sense given is that she does it all out of the joyful exuberance of boundless energy rather than out of drudgery or duty. Never once is there any hint of her complaining or feeling unappreciated.

The virtuous wife is a woman in control of her world and loving it!
She is the inventer of the word 'multitasking'. She juggles her business ventures with her other duties and it seems none of them suffer. She is well organized.
She is not one to waste her time…. She is not given to idle window shopping; when she goes to town she knows what she wants and gets it – be it wool or flax or real estate.
She manages her finances well and invests her profits wisely.
She is talented and creative, working with her hands and finding pleasure in the finished projects. She weaves fine linen and makes belts which she sells to the merchants.
She sees to the needs of her family, her staff and the poor in her community.
Yet, though all her focus is outward with everyone else’s needs in mind, she does not neglect herself. She still finds time to present herself as a fashion plate.

She is sought out for her wisdom and advice and is known for her kind and gentle ways.
She never seems to suffer from fatigue or stress nor becomes disgruntled with her life or upset with her children. They all think she is the greatest mom and her husband cannot stop singing her praises in his influential circles.
It appears that all who know her admire her – not from afar but from within the intimate circle of her caring heart.
Her outward beauty is outshone by her inner beauty that is lit by her love for God. And there is her secret….
“A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised, Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own words praise her in the gates.”

What a high example to follow!!
It seems impossible to attain even for us technologically advanced and enlightened women of our modern times. But her secret has not changed.
If we want what she had – an undeniably blessed life – it starts with our relationship with God.
“If we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness then all these (other) things will be added unto us!!” (Matt. 6:33)


Kathy said...

At first glance at your topic today I thought oh yes that good old chapter we as women know so well. Then I started to laugh (at myself I guess) to only imagine if I really did all these things. Then of course as your posts so kindly do I was challenged, but not hard on myself. Always areas to improve on and blessings to receive as we draw closer to God. I love that biblcal principles are so applicable for today. Thanking God for you today. Kathy

Julie said...

Thank you, Kathy for your comments. They always warm my heart and bless and encourage me!!
I thank God for you too!!

Lovella said...

Julie, I left a comment yesterday but I guess it didn't take. . .either that or I thought I did. who knows.

It so good to do a check now and then to see what God considers to be a virtuos woman. We get so indundated by the worlds view point. I agree with Kathy that all the prinicipals are still so applicable.
Have a great weekend.