Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 31:10
"An excellent wife who can find; for her worth is far above jewels."
an excellent wife who can find
The Hebrew word for excellent is hayil or might, strength, valor, wealth, power. It is translated as virtuous when applied to women. It is clearly the idea that whatever is the most excellent type of thing to possess, this is that possession. If strength and excellence are measured in wealth, then one with a lot of wealth is hayil. If strength or excellence is measured in physical power and muscle, then the one who is muscled is hayil. If strength or excellence is measured in courage, then one who demonstrates a high level of courage is hayil.
When this term is applied to a wife, it has been translated virtuous; but that is just a translated word. It is really the qualities of being an outstanding wife. The proverb really reads: an outstanding wife who can locate or develop? The proverb is speaking about the woman who consistently performs the duties that fill up and minister to her husband way beyond the typical marriage relationship so that the husband of this woman is just a filled man. Other men are tempted to wish their wives were like this.
What follows in this proverb is the nature of this outstanding wife. This proverb is an almost complete extolling of the virtues of domestic leadership that an outstanding wife can demonstrate. She is a leader who really ministers to her husband at depth because she is so much more than a kept woman.
One of the key ideas in this first part of the proverb is the question, “Where do you find this kind of woman?”
One, that these types of women are only found by God, so one needs to trust God for the mate that He has picked out. When a young man rushes ahead and picks for a wife a girl who tickles his fancy, then he runs the risk of getting a wife but not an outstanding one and not one who can really help him move forward in life. It is God who helps a young man find a woman who has depth that he cannot see and does not even desire when he marries her. But it is God who finds this kind of woman for a righteous man He wants to bless.
The second possible reason for asking this question is to point out that these types of young ladies are developed. They don't just happen. This could be a spur to parents of young girls that you are in charge of creating the next generation of outstanding wives. I know that my wife and I feel a great responsibility to raise three girls who will become excellent wives. Unless God calls our girls to celibacy and serving Him in that way, they will be married and their husbands will need them to be outstanding in order to achieve the goals God has for their husbands and them and to survive in the economic climate that is coming.
There is a third possibility of why the question is asked and that is for the women themselves to aspire to become outstanding women. Remember this proverb was spoken by a woman to her son, the future king. God may have wanted her to spur other women to realize how absolutely crucial the development of their leadership qualities were to the creating of a stable marriage. Who will be the women who will take up the challenge? Who will lay down the trinkets and babbles of a girlish world and strap on the belts of the real world and become outstanding.
A fourth possibility for the reason for the question could be that the definition of an outstanding wife is so different from what the typical man would say is an outstanding wife that the point is to slap men upside the head and say, “You are concentrating on the wrong things.” This is especially true in a culture where arranged marriages were the norm. Men being men are often focused on beauty and sexual relations. To ask the question, “Who can find an excellent wife?” baits a young man into thinking of his qualities of an outstanding wife and then the answer given as to what describes one gives pause. There is nothing about a denigration of it. There is nothing in her about sexual prowess. The things that make men turn their heads are not here. This was written by a woman under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and comes with the idea that men do not realize that what really makes a woman an outstanding wife in the typical marriage is her leadership qualities that she applies to the home life. “YOUNG MEN,” she screams, “YOU WILL WANT A WOMAN WITH LEADERSHIP GIFTS AFTER YOU ARE MARRIED, not a vacuous giggler!”
for her worth is far above jewels
The value of an excellent wife is far above any materialistic treasure. She provides joy to the heart of her husband. It is really the development of relationships that are the treasures in this life. All the money and prestige and power are the trappings. If all one has are the trappings, then one is impoverished indeed.
A truly great and outstanding wife is one of the most valuable "assets" a man can ever have. For it is the relationships of life that give any person the measure of their treasure. Money is great and power is helpful; but if a person does not have people who love and trust and enjoy them, then they do not have a life.
One cannot put a value on a great marriage. Think about it from three points of view: One, the great joy you enjoy being in this person's presence. Two, all the painful things that being with this person keeps you from getting into. Third, the joys that being with this person moves you to explore. All of life is relationships and the joy in your marriage is one of the most crucial one. Spend some time making it a good one.