Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. (24) She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. (25) Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. (26) She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.Proverbs 31:23-26
There is a third characteristic of the virtuous woman revealed in these verses. She is a woman who is reputable in her community. She has a good reputation beyond her own household. Take a moment to see this characteristic in today’s verses:
Verse 23 explains that her husband is “known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land”. The gates of the city in those times were often used for the meeting of the leaders of the city. This is where city business was often done. Her husband is aided in his ability to lead and influence outside of the home because of her productivity in the home and beyond.
Verse 24 describes her interaction with those in business. They do business with her because of the quality of her work. The context makes it clear that this isn’t a one-time transaction, but rather an ongoing business relationship. People do not do business in an ongoing way with people of poor reputation.
Verse 25 states that “strength and honour are her clothing”. Clothing does not just cover and conceal, it also decorates. What decorates the life of this virtuous woman are strength and honour. This is what people see when they look at her. This brings her joy!
Verse 26 states that she is known as a person whose speech is wise and kind. One of the most public things about a person are the kinds of words they use. People form opinions about the kind of person some is by the words they use, and by how a person’s life matches up with what they say.
We ought to live primarily with God as our Audience. He is the primary person we should be concerned with pleasing. At the same time we all live on this earth among people, and our reputation is very important. Look at what Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 5:16:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Notice the areas where the virtuous woman had a good reputation where we should have great reputations, too:
- Community and Politics. Her husband at the gate.
- Business. Her relationship to the merchants.
Notice also the qualities that are noticed about her that we should exhibit if we are to have a good reputation:
- Wise Speech.
- Kind Speech.
Notice that when these qualities (strength, honor, wisdom and kindness) are brought to bear in the community, in our political life, and in business, our reputation and influence will honor God. The influence of those connected to us will grow.
- What is your reputation like? Would these four qualities be characteristic of your reputation?
- What is your speech like? Is it wise and kind?
- What can you do to improve your reputation and influence in the community?