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Women of the Bible: The Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31

Discover the characteristics, blessings and lessons of the Virtuous Woman, excerpted from The Study Bible for Women.

A woman's hands, on an open Bible
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Some of the women in the Bible  are well-known, while there are others whose names might not be recognized even by regular church-goers. In this profile, we consider the Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31—what the Bible says about her and what lessons she might have to offer.

Women of the Bible: The Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31

Purpose of the Portrait “Who can find a capable wife?” (v. 10). The implied answer is: “No man” can find such a a woman. The poem provides an “A to Z” ideal, not to prompt despair that no such woman exists but to encourage the pursuit by every woman to the highest standards of excellence. The description should guide:
  • single men to seek a wife of excellence,
  • husbands to encourage their wives to be women of strength,
  • single women to prepare to be excellent wives, and
  • wives to determine to please the Lord.

For any reader, man or woman, this poem:
  • draws attention to the activities and priorities of “a woman who fears the Lord” (v. 30);
  • depicts in detail why “a man who finds a wife … obtains favor from the Lord” (18:22); and
  • provides a contrast with the “nagging” wife (19:13; 21:9,19) and the “forbidden woman” (5:3-14,20; 6:24-32; 7:6-27).

Her Priorities   • “the Lord” (31:30)
  • “her husband” (vv. 11-12,23,28)
  • “her sons” (v. 28; cp. vv. 1-9,15,21,26-27)
  • “her household” (vv. 15,21,27)
  • “her servants” or household workers (v. 15)
  • “the poor” (v. 20)
  • “the needy” (v. 20)
Her Activities   • She shops for the best quality she can afford (vv. 13-14,22,24).
  • She “works with willing hands” (v. 13; cp. “labor,” v. 31).
  • She provides clothing for her household and for herself (vv. 13,19,21-22).
  • She gets up early to make sure everyone has food for the day (v. 15).
  • She ensures that her family does not run out of supplies and prepares ahead for harsh circumstances (vv. 11,18,21,25).
  • She carefully invests her money and works to profit from her investment (vv. 16,18,24).
  • She helps meet the needs of the poor (v. 20).
  • She “watches over the activities of her household” (v. 27).
Her Character She is characterized by:
  • trustworthiness (v. 11),
  • consistency (vv. 12,18),
  • high standards (vv. 13,16),
  • industriousness and productivity (vv. 13-16,19,22,24,27),
  • initiative (vv. 16,22,20),
  • service (vv. 15,20),
  • strength (vv. 17,25),
  • honor (v. 25),
  • compassion (v. 20),
  • confidence rather than worry about the future (vv. 21,25), and
  • wise words and instruction spoken with love (v. 26).
Her Blessing  
  • “She is far more precious than jewels” (v. 10).
  • “Her sons rise up and call her blessed” (v. 28).
  • She is trusted, praised, and prized by her husband (vv. 11-12,28-29).
  • The community’s respect for her husband is enhanced (vv. 23,31).
  • She “will be praised” (v. 30).
  • She deserves “the reward for her labor” (v. 31).
  • She is known and receives praise for “her works” (v. 31).


Excerpted from The Study Bible for Women, published by Holman Bible Publishers

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