Proverbs 31:20–31 (NKJV)

20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.

In this sequel to yesterday’s blog, we see a continuation of King Lemuel’s mother singing the praises of a virtuous wife.  She characterizes her as generous and benevolent, prepared for contingencies like cold weather, excellent at her craft, all of which gives her family and her husband a good name in the community.  She is industrious, an entrepreneur.  She is a strong, honorable woman who rejoices over her success and her life.  She is wise and kind, diligent and careful.  Her entire family lauds her with praise, saying that she is above all women.  The last two verses of the passage–and of the proverbs altogether–are some of the most well-known Scriptures.  I remember the rather urban characterization that the musical group DC Talk gave verse 30: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but the woman who loves the Lord, she ain’t playin’!”  Charm (flattery, societal poise, ostentation) is vain if it is forced or used only as a tool.  Anyone can look or act the part temporarily.  Beauty, in the eyes of the public or the culture, is fleeting, because standards change from moment to moment.  However, the woman who fears the Lord and walks in wisdom is praiseworthy, for her foundation and her reputation are based on the eternal, unshakable truths of God’s word.  Give her the fruit of her hands.  Let her works praise her.  She deserves it!

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