(click HERE for the King James and Plain English Translations)
I was going to title this "The Worthy WIFE" but even an unmarried woman who possesses these qualities is just as worthy. When you read this chapter you see a model for the qualities Godly women should possess. She may not have them all, but she can definitely take something from most of them because she learns the necessary skills inside AND outside the home, becoming a woman with PURPOSE. By providing for her family and making a living through the examples given, she's teaching other women to live a life pleasing unto the Lord. She gives sons an example of wisdom as they are pursuing wives, who have been prepared to compliment them as they walk in their purpose. She works hard to be a wonderful businesswoman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, niece, or sister. She's not lazy or idle, but someone making a difference in whatever way she can contribute. With the help of Dakes and a few other study references, I want to share 31 Qualities of a worthy woman, so I encourage you to grab your bible (or click the link I gave above) so that we can break this down line upon line:
1. Her worth is far above jewels - I remember listening to a short radio excerpt where Steve Harvey was speaking to ladies when it comes to our worth, and while I don't endorse everything he has shared over the years, he hit the nail on the head with telling the ladies that we are like precious stones are buried deep in the earth. They aren't just lying around on the surface where anybody can easily get to them. Elaborate equipment and tools are needed to unearth these treasures, so he was letting women know that they don't have to depreciate their value by conducting themselves inappropriately. Verse 10 speaks to her quality. We are worth far more than any handbag, shoe, or car, and worth far more what any one person's bank account can purchase. We are worth more the degrading acts we sometimes do for love or attention. Remember we were bought with a price that only Jesus was able to pay [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].
2. She is virtuous - This means strong morally and mentally in quality. Ruth was called a virtuous woman by Boaz in Ruth 3:11. All of Bethlehem knew her as virtuous for remaining a widow after her husband's death. She probably had men scoping her left & right for her hand in marriage but she didn't just take the offer of any body coming along. The sweetest part was that she caught Boaz's attention simply while working the fields/harvest. This is what a worthy woman of God does--She works the "harvest" [Matthew 9:37-38 & 1 Corinthians 7;34] She conducted herself in a manner that let them know she was worthy by consistently living out qualities of a good reputation. She followed her mother-in-law, Naomi's moral and trustworthy advice in approaching Boaz for him to be her kinsman redeemer [Ruth 2:19-3:4, Leviticus 25:25-34 & Numbers 13:1-11] and Boaz blessed Ruth and was willing to settle the matter right away and take her as his wife.
3. The heart of her husband trusts in her - There is nothing a man wants more than to know he can trust his woman. Verse 11 says he will have full confidence in her faithfulness so that he doesn't have to go borrow or rob the next man to supply for his home. This is a woman he feels is worthy enough to give his heart & last name to. This is a woman he will do anything for.
4. She does him GOOD, not evil all the days of her life - the book of Proverbs gives us NUMEROUS examples of women that a man should avoid-whether he's saved or not. Proverbs 14:1 says a "wise woman builds her house, but the foolish woman with her "hands" tears hers down". Why? Because Proverbs 24:3 tell us that "By wisdom a house is built..." Wise women will order well their household matters and their families; they have an important influence, and exercise it beneficially. Foolish, unprincipled women, by their bad management or evil doings, ruin their families materially and morally. Proverbs 7 talks about the adulterous woman, who's strategies are to talk cunning & smooth, dress provocative to allure men in a trap, putting both her and the man's lives in danger of hellfire. Proverbs 11:22 says like a jewel of gold in a pig's nose is a woman without discretion-WOW! While in their culture, it was known for women to wear nose jewelry, this is the description of a women who has departed from good taste: a taste of virtue & modesty, honor & chastity. Last but not least, I always laugh when I read the verses on a contentious woman from Proverbs 19:13, 21:19 & 27:15-16 that refer to this quarrelsome woman as a constant dripping faucet or an aromatic scent that so strong you can't get the smell to go away. One cannot sit, stand, work or sleep without her continual and perpetual nagging...LOL!! These kind of women will not only bring disgrace to their husband, but to her self and her soul.
5. Skillful, creative and cheerful worker - Verse 13 says she seeks "wool and flax". These women didn't have to buy all their items from the market place. They were able to collect food & raw materials from her own flocks and fields so she was someone who is self-sufficient. A cheerful worker is someone who willingly labors from her heart. It is within her to do what she does & its not forced.
7. Dutiful - She is considerate of her household. Verse 15 is saying that she gets up before the dawn (likely before the rest of the family is even aware) to prepare food & any other needs of that day for her family & husband, showing her affection and care.
8. Versatile - She never gets stuck in one way of doing things, is always looking for new ways to improve and excel, becoming efficient.
9. Tireless - I like Verse 17 in the plain translation "She puts on strength like a belt and goes to work with energy". There's been plenty nights I've caught myself up late listening to worship music & working on various projects to the point that I finally look up and say "Oh I've got to go to bed!" because I would work well into the morning if left uninterrupted. It's truly an unexplainable energy. Verse 18 says "Her lamp burns late at night" meaning she works late & is not idle because she finds great comfort, joy and good success in her labor.
10. Honest and upright in business - This woman has integrity. Verse 18 says "She sees that she is making a good profit." Being ethical and upright in business is very important to her because she knows profit depends on good practices & learns from seeing other business that have suffered at the hands of unethical, unwise, and unprofessional choices.
12. A Spinster - By example she encourages labor which goes along with #5 above. In verse 19, the distaff and spindle were ancient parts of the spinning wheel. In Exodus 35:25-26 it says "all the women who were wise-hearted did spin with their hands" and " all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair". While we know in modern times that most of these things are manufactured in large quantities, I believe it is important for us to pass down these types crafts to our children. I don't know if they still do this in many schools anymore but "Home-Economics" prepared students for homemaking or professional careers. This class prepared us to fulfill real-life responsibilities at home. It taught us nutrition, food preparation, parenting, & family dynamics, interior & apparel design, as well as other related subjects. I didn't get to take it when I was in high school, but luckily I was shown by my mom & various women in my family how to do things like crochet & knit, cook, sewing and other activities. Before I got married I would get together with my niece for fun activities to bond with her & keep her hands busy. Now I have 2 "bonus" daughters, as I like to call them, and they enjoy helping me cook & clean. If you didn't or don't have anyone to teach you these things, go on YouTube or Pinterest and search for various DIY crafts & then find a family member for friend to join you. A lot of crafts are fun, decorative, & often very easy to do on our own, keeping our creative juices flowing and allowing us to be more self-supporting in an age where we are encouraged to rely on government & big business to do everything for us.
13. Charitable towards the poor and needy - She has compassion on those who are less fortunate, cheerfully giving her time, money and other resources to help others in need as stated in verse 20. She is not impelled by selfish greed to improve her means and enlarge her revenues. She is sympathizing and loves to extend to others the blessings which have rewarded her efforts. During the holidays, one of my aunts takes her daughters to volunteer at a soup kitchen or wherever she is lead to go. I think that is a wonderful thing to do because it allows them to appreciate the daily provisions God provides for their household. I've seen many children show their lack of respect and appreciation towards their parents for the things that they were not afforded to have growing up. Romans 12:13 says that we should share with the Lord's people who are in need & practice hospitality. Proverbs 22:9 says that the generous will themselves be blessed, because they share with the poor. Acts 9:36-43 talks about the miraculous resurrection of a disciple from Joppa named Tabitha who was "always doing good and helping the poor"
14. Fearless - Foresees wants and needs, making necessary provisions. It is said that scarlet or purple by reason of the dyes used, is the best fabric. This color was known to absorb and retain heat so the color stands up in cold temperatures. Verse 21 shows a woman who is not anxious about the health and comfort of her family in the winter because she fully provides for them and is wise to protect them with the best.
15. Generous and Merciful toward others - As also indicated by verse 20. Matthew 5:7 says "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Ephesians 2:8-10 explains that it's the grace & mercy of God we've been saved through faith in Jesus Christ. The works we do towards others don't give us room to boast because it is a gift from God, so our works should always come from a generous heart, remembering that daily, God pours out his generosity upon us. It is only by the mercies of the Lord that we are not consumed.
17. Refined in taste – She is a woman that has interest in fashion, decor & beauty. She goes the extra mile to keep her home, herself, children & husband looking good, and verse 22 speaks of silk & purple, which allude to royalty & high quality or luxury of the items & materials she selects.
18. She and her husband are well respected – In verse 23 she is a woman whose husband is known and respected in public. Job 29:7-11 talks about a man respected. He has a place of authority among elders and leaders. He is respected not only for his position but also because he is the husband of a woman held in the same esteem. A woman of excellence.
19. Industrious – She is prosperous, or successful. Verse 24 says that she sells & manufactures, items and ideas for profit so she is a businesswoman, able to manufacture in demand.
20. Dependable – She is honest and someone that people can count on; responsible and trustworthy, even under various pressures. Verse 25 say that "Strength and Honor are her clothing and she will rejoice in the time to come" and I personally think that speaks to the woman who endured trials. Her strength & honor is of the mind, conduct & works. When she's on the battlefield, by faith she remains "all in".
22. Wise and discreet – She is a woman who opens her mouth and speaks with wisdom. She cannot afford to be loose at the tongue. Kindness is the grace of her lips. She is intelligent and highly cultured in mind and manners. She is graceful and even-tempered in all her ways. She doesn’t run over her husband nor is she an arrogant tyrant over others. She is an excellent example of a meek and quiet spirit but don’t mistake her meekness for weakness. This is definitely a strong woman.
23. Kind and understanding – She has graceful lips, and is intelligent and highly cultured. She knows how to control her temper and uses wisdom and compassion in addressing difficult people and matters.
24. Prudent – In verse 27, one of the plain translations say "She keeps a close eye on the conduct of her family" She's aware of what's going on in her home & uses common sense in dealing with practical matters.
25. Energetic – Verse 27 goes on to say she doesn't eat from the "bread of idleness" She's diligent, and knowing that idleness is the devil's playground, she sees that everyone is occupied with their own work to do.
27. Honored by her family – Along with her immediate household, her immediate family can also attest to her character, as likely she has been just as much of a blessing and example to them.
28. Excels in virtue – Verse 29 explains that although other woman have done very well, she excels the other women in her various life roles and positions held.
29. God-fearing – Many women often rely on the external and material adorning for praise, but 1 Peter 3:3-4 says " Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." The worthy woman doesn't rely on the external. She let's her faith and works in the Lord transform her on the inside, which speak for themselves. She knows she stands accountable to the Lord and only what we do for Christ has the lasting impression.
30. Successful and deserving of it – Because of her Godly character and hard work she will gain the the rewards of her commitment. She will happily reap what she has sown.
31. Honored by the public – Because of her Godly character and hard work she will gain honor from others & be openly presented as an example to those within her sphere of influence.
Until next time-God Bless -- Nikki