The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: U-V

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Virtuous woman

Pro 31 describes the character of the ideal wife or mother. So wonderful are the characteristics of this woman, that sisters despair of ever being able to attain unto her standard, whilst brethren live in hope that they may find a wife that comes somewhere near the character described.

There is no doubt that the Virtuous Woman was no single personality, but the wise man's estimation of the ideal woman, on account of which he elucidates the positive virtues of such a woman. It is also equally true that the woman in question was not as the ordinary housewife of today, but more the supervisor of a large household wherein she exercised control over her "maidens" (v 15), who would assist in the daily tasks of such an house, making possible her achievements as described.

Sisters in today's society must learn to cope almost single-handed in the daily round of household chores and need not despair if they cannot reach unto the ideal spoken of here. Even so, ideals are set that we may aspire to be like them. If sisters give up in their attempts to emulate the virtues of this woman, there is little hope that they will ever aspire to be "like him" who is our heavenly Bridegroom.

In order then that sisters may better understand the virtues set out in Proverbs 31, we list them under various headings, and couch them in language more familiar to our generation.

As A Wife

As A Mother

Her Home Management

Her Economic Sense

Her Personal Character

Where among these virtues is there room for the demands of so called Women's liberation? Where indeed? All the virtues here listed are opposed to that degrading spectacle of women trying to ape the opposite sex, and achieving nothing more or less than that which JT said would be the tragic result: "In proportion as they rise in assurance they sink in all that really adorns a Woman" (Elp 122).

Sisters who pattern their lives on the God-given ideal of Pro 31 will in no way feel degraded by their loving submission to their husbands, but will find in that subjection is the crowning fulfilment of God's purpose with them. Indeed by their submission they will share the dominion allotted to the man in whom they lovingly and willingly lose their own identity. Again to quote JT: "They will then rule in the hearts of their rulers, and so ameliorate their own subjection, as to convert it into a desirable sovereign obedience" (Elp 122).

"A sovereign obedience." What a wonderful expression. Queens by their very submission, and so to be enthroned by their influence in the practise of humility. May the ideal set forth in Pro 31 have its fruit in the lives of Sisters, by being translated into actions, so that it may be said of them: "Let her own works praise her in the gates" (Pro 31:31). (JMn)

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