Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Wife

What constitutes “good” advice?

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Proverbs 31:1–2 These are King Lemuel’s sayings, inspiring words heard from his mother.
Listen, my son, brought forth from my womb, an answer to prayer.
King James
Proverbs 31:1–2 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. 2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

What are the ways that “destroy leaders”?

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Proverbs 31:3 Don’t waste your energy in the pursuit of women or follow the ways that destroy leaders.
King James
Proverbs 31:3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

If drunkenness is such a problem, why do people indulge?

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Proverbs 31:4–7 Kings should never become drunk with wine, Lemuel, nor should any ruler crave fermented beverages. Their drinking can cause them to forget decrees and deprive the needy people of their rights. Strong drink is good for the dying, and wine will calm people in great distress. Let them drink to forget their poverty and no longer suffer in agony.
King James
Proverbs 31:4–7 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

Why should we help those who cannot help themselves?

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Proverbs 31:8–9 Speak for those who are unable to defend themselves and would otherwise be destined for destruction. Speak for the poor and afflicted so they may be judged fairly.
King James
Proverbs 31:8–9 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Where and how can a virtuous wife be found?

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Proverbs 31:10 Whoever finds a virtuous wife has a treasure worth more than what money can buy.
King James
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Why don’t wives receive more appreciation for all they do?

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Proverbs 31:11–14 He can trust her without reservation and has no need for someone else.
For all her days, she will be his helper, doing what is good for him, never for his harm.
She finds the best fabrics to fashion his clothes. Like a supply ship from afar, she brings food into the house.
King James
Proverbs 31:11–14 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

What are realistic expectations for what a wife should do? For the husband?

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Proverbs 31:15–16 She rises before dawn to prepare food for the family and assign chores for the day.
She inspects land for its suitability, buys the field, and plants a vineyard.
King James
Proverbs 31:15–16 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

Should wives have a fulltime job outside the home? Why?

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Proverbs 31:17 Anticipating challenges, she prepares for a hard day’s work.
Proverbs 31:24 She makes fine garments for sale and supplies sashes to the merchants.
King James
Proverbs 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
Proverbs 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

What motivates the virtuous wife?

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Proverbs 31:18 Anticipating the reward for her labor, she will work into the night.
King James
Proverbs 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

What does it mean to “spin the thread and weave the cloth”? Why not pay someone else to do the work?

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Proverbs 31:19 She spins the thread and weaves the cloth.
Proverbs 31:21–22 When it snows, she doesn’t fear the cold, because her family is warmly clothed. She makes her own clothes and is richly dressed.
King James
Proverbs 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Proverbs 31:21–22 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Why should a virtuous wife be concerned about anything outside the home?

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Proverbs 31:20 With helpful hands she reaches out to the poor and afflicted.
King James
Proverbs 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

In what ways can a wife contribute to her husband’s success?

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Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is well respected, a leader in the community.
King James
Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

How does a wife achieve “strength and respect”?

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Proverbs 31:25 Clothed in strength and respect, she rejoices in the days ahead.
King James
Proverbs 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

What qualifies a wife to guide others in truth?

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Proverbs 31:26–27 With wisdom, she speaks with kindness, guiding people in God’s truth.
She keeps a watchful eye on everything in the household and could never be considered lazy.
King James
Proverbs 31:26–27 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

Why would a husband and the children refer to the wife as “the best”?

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Proverbs 31:28–29 Her children stand to express their love and appreciation. Her husband sings her praises, saying, “Many women do good things, but you are the best.”
King James
Proverbs 31:28–29 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

What makes a virtuous wife “beautiful”?

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Proverbs 31:30 Charm can be deceptive and beauty may only be skin deep, but a woman who reveres the Lord deserves praise.
King James
Proverbs 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

What must we do to recognize value? Why should we advertise those values?

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Proverbs 31:31 Recognize the value of all she has done, and make her wonderful works known in the community.
King James
Proverbs 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.