This is taken from the New International Version. My thoughts are in purple italics. And you can read more on our spirituality help page.
Character versus cash
She is worth far more than rubies.
and lacks nothing of value.
all the days of her life.
A man who marries a rich woman may think he's hit the jackpot, but without decency, empathy and loyalty, a woman does not fulfil her full value. She's like a well-fortified safe which has long since been emptied of everything valuable. The core of a woman illustrates her true value. A man who marries her can truly trust her. He can have confidence that as long as he has her, she'll enrich his life totally. She'll be good for him and to him. Even if she never brings him millions, having her will make him feel rich.
and works with eager hands.
bringing her food from afar.
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
She knows how to cook and doesn't have to depend on TV dinners to feed her family. If she does not know how to prepare a particular dish, she's not afraid to learn. She doesn't think it's cute telling the world she can't cook. She's strong, she's learned, she's dependable and she's able. You can't but respect her abilities. Of course she can cook. And she'll teach her husband and children too.
Hard work and proper use of time
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
her arms are strong for her tasks.
and her lamp does not go out at night.
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
A woman committed to becoming complete is one who does not meddle in a wasteful lifestyle. Whether she works from in or outside the home (or both) she spends the money she and her husband earn wisely. If she's not bringing in any money, she makes sure that her husband's earnings stretch as far as possible by being the best 'personnel and finance home manager' she can be.
She's not afraid of hard work, so she invests her time and savings wisely. She may make things at home in her spare time. These she will sell and make a profit. She stays up late into the night mending clothes instead of shopping for new ones. She knows how to use a sewing machine and knitting needles. She works out how to buy fabric and make cushions/curtains and throws instead of buying them for exorbitant amounts at the shops. She will window shop and look for the best things on the market. Then she will go home and make them herself.
She will learn how to do her own designs and decorations and instead of calling in the workmen to do every little thing around the home, she can more than manage to do them herself. She knows how to paint, design and decorate, and she's not afraid to try new things. All the money she saves doing working with her hands, is more than she would've earned if she worked outside the home. In other words, she earns money even though she hasn't got a pay cheque.
Wise living, kindness and preparedness
and extends her hands to the needy.
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
A woman who's able and dependable is worthy of her family's loyalty and respect. Not only can her husband and children lean on her totally, but she tends to other people too. She sees the need of others and helps them. She raises funds for the poor. She spends wisely so she always has enough to help people in need.
She's a woman who's always prepared. She doesn't back down at the slightest sign of discomfort. Her family will not suddenly run out of clean clothes, warm blankets or heat. The bills will always be paid on time. She never forgets these things. Her children can take for granted that in the winter, even if they have no new coats, the ones they have will be in perfect working condition. They may not always have new shoes, but the ones they have, hand-me-downs, second-hand or not, will always be clean, warm and solid.
Her children go to school well-dressed. Even though their clothes may not be designer labels, they're always clean, tidy and ironed. Her husband and children can depend on the fact that in the morning, they won't find that the clothes they're going to wear are at the bottom of the ironing basket. Even if she has to make them do it themselves, they can bank on them being done before-hand. A complete woman expects her husband to succeed. She supports him in his work and encourages him instead of putting him down. Having peace of mind in his wife's capabilities of family, home and money management means that he feels supported and confident in his aspirations. He goes out and achieves them.
Talent and strength
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
she can laugh at the days to come.
A complete woman is so confident in her abilities that the things she makes are of professional quality. Her cooking is great. She's so versed in making stuff for her own home, she can start up a business if she wanted to. She can give classes - her abilities are so desired. Her value is not measured in her bling garments or accessories, but in her strength and dignity. This is not to say that she dresses poorly, because we know she doesn't. She is always attired beautifully (verse 22) but her outside is not the essence of who she is.
Wisdom and nobleness
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
her husband also, and he praises her:
but you surpass them all."
A complete woman does not meddle in stupidity. She gives good advice to her husband, children and others around her. She has no time to chatter in idle conversations and gossip. Her children know they can go to her when they're stuck.
Even if they don't let her know this, when she's not around they advise others based on the things she has said. Her husband may not let her know, but he secretly takes her advice and does the things she tells him because he knows she is wise. All the people around her respect her strengths. They know she makes good decisions. They can go to her for management advice; skills and cooking tips; family relationship; coaching etc. She may not be a bank manager or a scientist, but her all-round dependency and knowledge surpass most people they know.
She is the mother/wife who is loved, respected and held in high esteem. This is not a title that came with the territory. This is a title this woman has earned by hard work, steadfastness, self-control and strength.
Loving the Lord
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
No one can live a fulfilled life based on charm. Beauty dissolves with age. A woman who lives a good, moral life believing in God and his wisdom, is a woman who will be praised and held in high esteem. The lives of people who know her will be blessed by the way she has enriched them. She deserves to be respected.
Are you this kind of woman? Do you know a woman like this? How does society's value of the worth of woman differ from this model? Please leave your comments below. And if you liked this post, please use the share button at the top to share and tweet it. Thank you.