Over the years, much emphasis has been given to the wonderful description of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31. This certainly is one of my favorite portions of the Bible, and it has provided inspiration for my marriage and my parenting. But lately I’ve been intrigued by another aspect of this celebrated section of Scripture: the Proverbs 31 Man.
Without directly focusing upon him, Solomon frames this portrait of a woman worthy of praise with subtle hints about her godly husband. First, we’re reminded that because of this man, the Proverbs 31 woman is both wife and mother. Second, this woman’s glorious attributes seem to blossom within the special relationship she has with her spouse.
So, what can we discover about the Proverbs 31 Man who undoubtedly aided in the development of this timeless example of godly womanhood?
1. “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life” (verses 11). Yes, this wife is trustworthy-but the husband returns the favor by offering his complete confidence. She can build upon that trust, but he must offer it, too.
2. “She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard” (verses 15-16). This wife and mother is a hard-worker, but her husband establishes an environment where she can best use her talents-both inside and outside the home. He seems to appreciate her wisdom with finances, allowing her to invest and add to the family’s income.
3. “She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warmclothes” (verse 21).This woman is industrious, but she’s not the only one. If she were trying to provide for the entire household on her own, she’d probably have lots to be concerned about-yet she isn’t fearful at all. Why? No doubt because her husband is equally hard-working and diligent about providing for his family’s needs.
4. “Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders” (verse 23). The Proverbs 31 Man is an important person in his sphere of influence. In those days, men of authority helped make decisions at the city gates. In our times, these men are part of community groups, civic leadership, and church mentoring and eldering.
5. “Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: ‘There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all'” (verses 28-29). There is a culture of appreciation in this home, and the Proverbs 31 husband and father is an active participant of it. He offers his wife and the mother of his children sincere praise.
With a spouse like this, is it any wonder that the Proverbs 31 woman “brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” (verse 12)? He is her teammate, her cheerleader, and her best friend. They work together for one another’s good, and, because of their devotion to God and each other, they’ve left a legacy worthy for us to follow today.
Thought of the Month
“As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”