Get thee a wife!

I’m am always amazed at the scope of topics the Bible covers. The Bible discusses everything, weighs in on just about every subject in existence. Beside the morals and the spiritual aspect of the Bible, it talks about practical, simple lifestyles. It talks about friendship. It talks about relationships. It talks about child-rearing. It talks about finances. It talks about healthful living. It talks about family.

The verse for today comes out of Proverbs 31. And for those of you who know the Bible, you know this is the hallmark chapter for women. It’s the chapter that hundreds of thousands of women’s groups have studied, probably for centuries. How to be a better woman. How to be a good wife. This chapter pretty much has it all. So instead of posting just the verse for the day, I’m going to post most of the whole chapter from verse 10 on. It’s fairly short, so it doesn’t take long to read.

Proverbs 31

 10 [b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
      She is more precious than rubies.
 11 Her husband can trust her,
      and she will greatly enrich his life.
 12 She brings him good, not harm,
      all the days of her life.

 13 She finds wool and flax
      and busily spins it.
 14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
      bringing her food from afar.
 15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
      and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.

 16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
      with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 17 She is energetic and strong,
      a hard worker.
 18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
      her lamp burns late into the night.

 19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
      her fingers twisting fiber.
 20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
      and opens her arms to the needy.
 21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
      for everyone has warm[c]clothes.

 22 She makes her own bedspreads.
      She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
 23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
      where he sits with the other civic leaders.
 24 She makes belted linen garments
      and sashes to sell to the merchants.

 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
      and she laughs without fear of the future.
 26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
      and she gives instructions with kindness.
 27 She carefully watches everything in her household
      and suffers nothing from laziness.

 28 Her children stand and bless her.
      Her husband praises her:
 29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
      but you surpass them all!”

 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
      but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
 31 Reward her for all she has done.
      Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

 I think I’d like to meet the lady who inspired this. She sounds like she’d be a fearsome person. I can’t imagine the energy level she must have had.

But what does this chapter mean to modern-day, 21st century women? Because I don’t know about you but I don’t spin wool and flax . . . and when I need a bedspread it’s easier to to go Wal-Mart and buy one than it is to make it.

I think women and girls get lost in translation sometimes when it comes to this verse. I’ve talked to young ladies who had developed the understanding that to be a good, biblical wife, they needed to sew clothes and cook meals for the their family all the time. Well . . . sewing clothes and cooking meals is helpful, but I think what is more important is the motivation that drives those actions.

What I always have to remember is that many times verses in the Bible, especially verses in the Old Testament, were penned in a culture very different from ours. And what we have to remember is you can’t just take a single verse out of a large passage of Scripture and bend it to fit any situation. You have to compare it to the rest of the chapter. You have to compare it to the rest of the Book. You have to compare it to the rest of the Bible and what we know about God Himself. Then, if your verse still works in the context you’re trying to fit it in, you can use it. But it should meet all the rest of those requirements, though.

When I read verses like 13-15, I think about the motivation behind them. Whether or not a woman can spin wool or flax, that action would come out of a heart turned toward providing for her family. Making sure they have clothes to wear, food to eat, whether she made it, cooked it, baked it or not.

Everything is attitude.

Because I’ve also known women who cook and bake and clean and sew but their focus is on themselves and not on their families. So simply having the capabilities to be domestic doesn’t instantly make you a good wife or a good mother. You have to care about your family. Period. They have to come first. They have to be the driving force behind everything you do.

Is Proverbs 31 a blueprint to becoming a biblical wife? I think so. As long as we remember that it deals less with lifestyle issues (which can change depending on culture) and more with the attitude that a woman should have when she becomes a wife and mother.