1. She didn’t work all night.
You know that line “She gets up while it is yet night…” (v. 15), and that other one, “and her lamp does not go out at night” (v. 18)? Judging by this combination, the woman never sleeps!
This is not what the verse means, however. That wouldn’t make sense for the long-term health of women, and it wouldn’t make sense for the Sabbatical culture in which she lived. No, God’s women take time for rest. They need Sabbath. So how come her lamp doesn’t go out at night?
Because she keeps a light on in her home. She keeps a lamp lit, ready and on guard, even in the night. She is ready to get up at a moment’s notice and open her door, or help a sick member of the household, or perhaps to find her way in the morning when she gets up before the dawn. The Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t burning the candle at both ends. She was the guardian of her household.
2. She was a businesswoman.
This is apparent throughout the entire passage, but it’s often overlooked and understated. This is unfortunate! In an age of entrepreneurship, we NEED a Christian model for female businesswomen. The Proverbs 31 woman is it. She creates. She trades. She buys real estate. She invests her profit and turns a bigger profit.
And she does all this while still in submission to God, honoring her husband and caring for her children.
This passage alone tells us that God does not reject women who help provide for their families. Providing has never been exclusively a male task; both men and women were tasked to work from the very beginning. We must be careful reading things into Scripture that are not there, and Proverbs 31 reveals God’s heart for both home and business.
3. She was clothed in expensive, quality attire.
To be clothed in linen, in purple and scarlet, is to be clothed in the very best. This is important to note for two reasons: 1) This woman is hardworking and wise with money, so she’s not spending on these items at the expense of her family’s future; and 2) there’s a good chance she made the items herself while she was crafting bed coverings (a nod to her intimate relationship with her husband, by the way; verse 21-22).
There have been some arguments against wearing nice attire, citing 1 Peter 3:3-4: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
The point Peter is making in this verse, however, is not that we must give up expensive clothes and jewelry. He was pointing out that these things should not be our focus. We should not be parading our status and money in front of others in our church, making it all about us instead of about the Lord. The Proverbs 31 woman was clothed in beautiful, expensive attire—but she came by it wisely, and she didn’t use it for selfish purposes.