Womanhood is one of the very interesting things about life that many people have failed to comprehend. In simple terms, womanhood is the state or condition of being a woman. A woman is an adult female human. Prior to this stage of growth, a woman is first referred to as a girl and then a lady. At the point of being referred to as a woman, the female entity must have attained maturity and be able to carry out the necessary responsibilities of being a woman. Many people in today’s society do not consider pregnancy as a natural part of womanhood but ideally, it is part of womanhood. There are so many things attached to womanhood that can become a burden to the female gender if one does not understand it.
It is with this base knowledge of whom a woman is that King Lemuel’s mother began to write to him about the ideal woman after she had directed him on his role as a king and royal entity. The wise words of the mother of the king accounted in the scriptures explains what the expectations of an ideal woman are. She details step by step what is to be expected from a woman which is what qualifies her to be called virtuous or ideal. A woman that yearns to please God strives to be like this ideal example in the book of Proverbs.
The Proverb does not describe a woman with a spotless house or with perfectly behaved children wearing matching, designer outfits. Honestly, it’s not even the woman who’s married and has children. These words describe a woman who honors God by seeking Him in everything she does and trusting Him wholeheartedly with her life. She has a heart of reverence that overflows into a life of spiritual maturity and wisdom. She is not born this way; she gets there by a process of refinement, which is a work of the Holy Spirit. A woman that yearns to please God strives to be like this ideal example, but with the understanding that every Christian is a work in progress.
It is important to realize that the Proverb does not just talk about the ideal wife, rather, it talks about the ideal woman. This infers that the characters that are mentioned in this scripture are for every woman, not just a woman who is looking to get married in the nearest future. You must realize that the proverbs thirty-one woman is a woman who has virtues worthy of being exemplified, not necessarily being married. According to theologians, Proverbs 31 was not written to instruct all virtuous women everywhere on how to “measure up.” It was written for a man to inspire him for what type of woman to look for.
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31: 10-31 (ESV)
What exactly then are the characters that make a woman referred to as virtuous? What are the attributes that make a woman seen and she is being referred to as an ideal woman? What does a man see in a woman that makes him think of her as the best choice of a life partner? Let’s analyse the characters that are pointed out in each verse of the Proverb to see what the ideal woman should be like.
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