The Worth of a Virtuous Woman

The verses which serve as the conclusion of Proverbs are actually arranged as a poem in an acrostic form. Each verse begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet just as other acrostic sections of the Old Testament. Each of the twenty-two verses of this section begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This technique may have been used to aid in memorization or as a poetic style. But it does suggest several things. First, here is God’s description of a woman of value from A to Z. It is complete and contains everything of worth. It is also God’s ABC’s of moral character and wisdom for a woman. It is both the alphabet and language of wisdom.

The portrait which emerges is certainly not that of what cynics characterize as the suppressed, lowly, passive, under-productive, and slave-like Christian wife. Here is a woman who is marked by initiative, business skills, intelligence, boundless energy, the total confidence of her husband, and recognition by all of her many talents. As another has written, “The passage reveals an important principle concerning the role of the woman and work. The Bible does not forbid the wife from working. Rather, it shows her as working at such work as naturally complements that of her husband. She helps to meet the needs of the family. The arrival of children will normally demand that she remain at home to guide them. The example of the worthy woman in this passage, however, establishes the fact that the wife may hold some work responsibilities.” This must be balanced, however, by noting that the work she does emanates originally from her home. Every need of the family is addressed before she ventures forth to the market place. As well, her activities in the market place are with a view to further enhancing the well-being of the family, not her own name and career.