“THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN”
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)
The famous passage on “the virtuous woman” (Proverbs 31:10-31) is often used on Mother’s Day, so the description of the attributes of such a woman is already well known. But, it is not well known that these twenty-two verses were originally put together in the form of an acrostic, with each verse starting in turn with the successive twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is though the compiler of Proverbs wanted to conclude the book with a special tribute to his own mother (v. 1), and to imply in so doing that it would exhaust all the resources of human language.
The initial part of Proverbs 31 (verses 1-10) seems to be words of instruction King Lemuel received personally from his mother, “The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.” (Proverbs 31:1) King Lemuel’s mother acted no differently than any spiritual-minded, God-fearing mother, as she reminded him of some of the pitfalls and problem areas of life. She specifies three primary areas of a man’s life that make him extremely vulnerable and weak: wine, women and selfishness. Here is a mother who saw her son, and not primarily a king. God saw the spiritual value of these two narratives that He included them in the canon of Scriptures. Thus, this entire chapter includes words written by people who were “moved by the Holy Ghost.” (II Peter 1:21)
King Lemuel’s tribute to his mother has long been a standard to measure women for centuries as those who are Godly women. But, when you realize that here is a man that so loved his mother and was so appreciative for her instruction and influence that he desired everyone to know about it. Little did he know that 3,000 years later, she would still be the inspiration for women, men, and preachers who seek to know the characteristics of a virtuous woman.
King Lemuel saw his mother as priceless (...for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10). King Lemuel saw his mother as pure (The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…. Proverbs 31:11,12). King Lemuel saw his mother as productive (She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. Proverbs 31:13,14). King Lemuel saw his mother as a provider (She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. Proverbs 31:15). King Lemuel saw his mother as principled (She considereth a field and buyeth it… She girdeth her loins with strength and strengtheneth her arms. Proverbs 31:16-19).
King Lemuel also saw his mother as one who pitied the less fortunate (She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20). King Lemuel saw his mother as practical (She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are covered with scarlet. Proverbs 31:21,22). King Lemuel saw that his mother was looked upon with pride (Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Proverbs 31:23,28). King Lemuel saw his mother as positive in word and deed (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. Proverbs 31:26,27). King Lemuel saw his mother as the most pleasant person ever (Proverbs 31:29-31).
Now, I ask you, mother, how do your children view you?
Pastor H. Preston Parker