“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
Proverbs 31 is identified as “the words of King Lemuel” (v. 1). Since it is divided into two distinct parts, some have proposed that it has two different authors. The first part (vv. 1–9) consists of “the prophecy that his mother taught him” (v. 1), while the second part (vv. 10–31) describes “a virtuous woman” (v. 10). Perhaps it is better to understand the woman as Lemuel’s mother, for “her children rise up and call her blessed” (v. 28).
“Many daughters have done virtuously” (v. 29, same word as in v. 10). Recognizing that the only other woman described as “virtuous” in the Bible was Ruth (Ruth 3:11) gives us more complete insight into such a woman’s character. The woman described in Proverbs 31 is one who has achieved in all its fullness the glories of her womanhood, both in the home as wife and mother and in her community. Not only do her children bless her, but her husband has absolute confidence in her (v. 11), appreciates the bounty that she brings (v. 12), has the freedom to be an effective leader in the community (v. 23), and praises her virtue to others (v. 28).
Without question, the key to her accomplishments is found in our text. Her fear of the Lord blossoms into such inner beauty and diligence that, by wisdom and devotion, she so trains her children and so lovingly provides for her husband’s needs that when they leave the home she has fashioned and have occasion to speak of her, their words will be blessing and praise.
On this day when so many of us remember and are thankful for our godly wives and/or mothers, let us rekindle our own fear of the Lord and by so doing develop similar qualities and habits. JDM