"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised"
This is the Hebrew word hen which means favor, grace, gracious. The translators have translated it as charm to suggest that what is being talked about here is the way the woman carries herself – her etiquette and warmth. She is a gracious woman to be around.
This the Hebrew word seqer which means lie or deceptive. It actually appears first in the Hebrew sentence in order to focus attention on it. Deceitful is charm or grace. The writer here is trying to make the point that charm can go away; it can be an act. But real reverence for God and fear of the Lord will not go away. It is possible for a woman to be gracious to outsiders but to be a tyrant at home. In other words, charm can be a put-on.
This is the Hebrew word yepi which means beauty. The writer is trying to get young men especially to not be taken in by a woman's beauty or personality or charm. These will not last and can be very deceptive. Do not seek after a woman with these things primarily but instead pursue a woman who loves the Lord and will serve Him.
It is unfortunate in our culture that we have valued beauty so highly.
This is the Hebrew word hebel which means vapor or breath. This seems to refer to the surface nature of beauty and its short duration. Men are drawn to a beautiful woman, but it does not mean that the woman will be enjoyable to be with or will be a good wife. On the contrary, many women who have been pursued because of their beauty become jaded by their gift of beauty and become demanding, prideful, and caustic.
Beauty feels like so much more in our culture – just like in the culture of ancient Israel – but it is really not what will build a great marriage. A beautiful soul is so much more important. Someone who is trying to be pleasing to the Lord and beautiful in His eyes is the valuable wife.
fears the Lord
This is the Hebrew word yare for the word fear. It means fear, afraid, and implies reverence. The root idea is that there is a realization of the fact that God is an Awesome God who is not to be trifled with and a life dedicated to pursuing Him is worth it.
God has told a woman what it takes to be a great wife, and He asks wives to serve Him by being a great wife for her husband. He rewards the faithful and godly wife in ways far beyond a great marriage. He rewards them with a close relationship with Him and with many other blessings as well as a great marriage.
A great wife who loves the Lord is R.A.D.I.C.A.L. as a wife. She respects her husband daily. She adapts to him, not to some ideal man. She is the domestic leader around the home. She seeks to meet her husband's intimacy needs even though his are different from hers. She becomes his companion. She builds an attractive soul and body. She learns to listen to his ramblings and draw him to herself. These are the actions of a wife who fears the Lord. It is these actions on the wife's part that will build a great marriage. There is also a husband's part where he needs to fear the Lord and fulfill his duty also.
This is the Hebrew word halal from where we get the word Hallelujah. It is the word for God being praised. It is open and strong praise. A woman who fears the Lord and serves Him will get the praise of her peers, her husband, her children, and the community. She contributes so much to their lives. She is seeking the Lord's face and His ways work.