She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. (28) Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (29) Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. (30) Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. (31) Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.Proverbs 31:27-31
Often as a person is concerned with things outside of their home, the home itself gets neglected. This is a recipe for many problems in our culture. So many people succeed at business, community pursuits, political and social interaction, and then lose at home. This is not the characteristic of the virtuous woman. The fourth characteristic we see about this virtuous woman is that she is honored by her family.
Verse 27 clearly states that she does not abandon her home responsibilities. How can she be productive in business and community and in her own household. The second part of verse 27 answers this, at least in part, when it says that she “eateth not the bread of idleness.” The virtuous woman is not lazy. She works hard and uses her time wisely.
Verse 28 gives us the result of all of this labor.
- Her kids publicly praise her. In the Old Testament Scriptures, honoring your mother and father is one of the 10 commandments, and of supreme importance. Although there is no caveat given for children not to honor their parents, it is much easier to honor your parents when your parents are honorable. This is the sense we get from verse 28. Her kids are calling her blessed because it is so obvious in her life.
- Her husband praises her as well. We already saw at the beginning of the poem that her husband trusts her with his heart. She has made it possible for him to be praised and influential at the gate. Now, as a result he praises her as well.
Verse 29 states that this virtuous woman, by her virtue and quality of life, sets herself apart from other women. Thus the statement earlier in the text that her price is far above rubies. She is a rarity. She is not average. Most women are not like her. Why?
Well verse 30 states at least part of the reason why. “Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain.” Those who spend their time wanting to be merely externally beautiful and popular are working towards the wrong goal. They have their ladder up against the wrong wall. Popularity fades. Beauty fades. What is the contrast? A woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. The internal quality of soul, spirit, relationship with God, and growth of the inner person is what will drive the kind of virtue that leads a woman to be praised in the right way. That kind of quality will not fade. Paul said it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:16
“….but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
Verse 31 states how she should be dealt with by her family. “Give her of the fruit of her hands.” President Abraham Lincoln said it this way:
“I always thought the man that made the corn should eat the corn.”Abraham Lincoln
Let her be productive and live off of her own productivity. Her own works will be what she is known for, especially in places of prominence.
In many ways it is easier to have a good reputation outside of your house than inside. Our families see us every day, and they see us over a long period of time. We are up close and personal. They see the best and the worst. If our public morality and reputation exceeds our private virtue it will catch up to us. The person that is personally virtuous will have a public and private life that match. Their reputation among their children and spouse will be good. What an incredible goal to have!
- Are you the same person at home and in public?
- Are you concerned with your reputation with your kids and spouse at an appropriate level?