Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.Proverbs 31:10
This week’s passage is on the theme of a virtuous woman. The author, King Lemuel, wrote about this virtuous woman in the form of a poem. It was written acrostically in the Hebrew, meaning that each line of the poem starts with each corresponding letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Earlier in Proverbs wisdom itself was personified by a woman who spoke to the reader. There are some who argue that wisdom the personified woman, and this woman are one and the same. If they are not intended to be the same woman, King Lemuel really does put into vivid detail what a wife who is virtuous looks like.
Theo poem starts out in verse 10 with a question. “Who can find a virtuous woman?” The point is being made in the question that this kind of person is rare. The answer to the question that the author expects would be, “Almost no one can find her.” We know this because of the second half of the verse. Her value is compared to rubies. Have you seen a ruby laying with another half dozen rubies on the sidewalk? Of course not. If you see a ruby every day it is only because you or someone in your life owns and wears one. They are not that common. But the writer here makes the claim that a virtuous woman is more rare than even a ruby because he says that the price or the value of a virtuous woman is “far above” rubies. In the world of gems scarcity and beauty bring value. This is the observation that begins the poem. The value of the virtuous woman is incredibly high.
Over the next few verses, the virtuous woman is described in detail. Her character and behavior reveal why she is so valuable.
Several things come to mind as I read these verses.
1. People have a say in their own value.
As you will see in the coming verses, the virtuous woman is intentional about her life. She has grown into someone of full maturity that is “looking well to her ways”. She is someone who obviously cares to learn and grow, and as she does, her value to those around her goes up. We can be intentional about our own growth and virtue. God has given us everything we need to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have his Word, His Spirit, and therefore His wisdom to help us to grow daily.
2. We ought to value virtue in other people.
It may seem obvious, but the woman her is described as virtuous. She is full of virtue. What is virtue? According to Webster’s dictionary virtue is, “Moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law.” This foundation of virtue leads to a life of productivity beyond mere efficiency. Truly virtuous people are effective. Their virtue leads to their effectiveness.
3. We ought to praise others for their virtue.
If there is anything that ought to be encouraged in those around us it should be their virtue. We praise talent, ability, and beauty, and this is not objectively wrong. But virtue is what counts. Virtue is rare. So when we see it, we should encourage it in the lives of others.
- Are you a virtuous person?
- What do you value most in your spouse? Your best friend? Your family members?
- How can you encourage virtue in yourself and those around you today?