In Part I of The Single Proverbs 31 Woman, we learned it was written to King Lemuel by his mother as a guideline for finding an ideal wife. He was told to find a single woman who already possessed the given characteristics. Since we now know that, we then know that the Proverbs 31 woman can be single and can actually have ALL the attribute listed. But what good is all that information if it can’t be put to action? How do single women apply the verses to our day-to-day lives? I hope you see through Part II that you can become a Proverbs 31 woman is self-sufficient, a care-taker, and a woman who fears the Lord!
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. ~ Vs. 11-12
People are watching you at all times, they’re watching your actions, hearing your words, and seeing your responses. You are called to be the kind of woman your future husband can trust. It could be that your future husband is watching you right now and evaluating your interaction with others. “The woman of noble character does not just live in the present but carefully considers her interactions from the perspective of an entire lifetime – thereby earning the trust of her husband (should God provide, as well as her brothers in Christ.” (Carolyn McCulley, Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye)
The virtuous woman’s husband has full confidence in her because he knows that he can trust her actions. She has made herself a “helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18) and complements her husband. She is the kind of woman that he knows will not embarrass him, but encourage and uplift him, handling the home and all its finances well. “All the days of her life,” is similar to our 24/7. This woman will bring so much good into her household every day, all day. If we are to be that devoted to our husbands once we are married, then we must have a solid foundation of this principle before we say “I do.”
She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. ~ vs. 13-14
This woman is practical and not afraid of hard work. She literally works “with delight of her hands,” meaning she takes pleasure in work, always maintaining a good attitude. To be the virtuous woman, we must refrain from complaining about all the hard work we have to do but delight in it instead. Be content in all circumstances!
She goes in search of what she needs so she can make produce for herself and her home. She functions like a merchant ship, bringing home items that she cannot make herself. Today this can be done by shopping for the best deals on groceries, using coupons, and even searching online for the best deal on the products needed for her home. All of this takes time and effort and so the virtuous woman must be one that is willing to work and be a good steward of what God has given her.
She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. ~ Vs. 15
Being a good manager of God’s time sometimes means getting up a little earlier than we would like. There are many times when I have to get up at the crack of dawn just so I can write a paper, get dinner ready for that night, and clean my room. I have to do what it takes to get the necessary things done.
We can see this woman also knows how to cook, clean, and manage her home. When we get married, a little switch doesn’t automatically turn on and we can suddenly cook for our husband or know how to clean the house well. I know some out there have not been given the kitchen “green thumb” but every woman should have some working knowledge of the kitchen and home. Titus 2:5 commands young women to be trained to work at home. This is a Scriptural mandate.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. ~ vs. 16-17
Being a good financial manager is also an attribute of a single Proverbs 31 woman. This woman has saved her money from her earnings and is now purchasing something of value and worth. She does not just jump into buying that cute purse at Dillards or Target but instead uses discernment before buying it. Single women should learn to balance check books and put money in savings too. It is all about being a good steward of God’s money given to us.
Not only is the Proverbs 31 woman a good steward of time and finances, she is also a good steward of the body God has given her. She has taken care of herself physically, through exercise and eating well, so she is healthy and in shape. Since she has taken care of God’s temple, she is able to invest her time and energy fully into her school, work, and whatever other ministries God may have put in her life. The single Proverbs 31 woman is capable and strong for the task set in front of her.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. ~ Vs. 18-19
The virtuous single woman takes time to observe and evaluate her work to see if it has been good and glorifying to the Lord. Diligence and hard work means staying up late at night and getting up early. This means using every moment to its fullest potential and not wasting any time. The references to her setting her hand to the spindle imply that she did her spinning (making of clothes, etc.) at home. How can a spindle and distaff have any meaning to us today? It’s as simple as learning to be resourceful with what you have been given or bought. One time, I had bought too many oranges and I had no idea what to do with them. I wasn’t going to eat them all so I turned them all into marmalade so they wouldn’t go to waste. Being resourceful isn’t easy but it takes time, creativity, and discipline which would be advantageous to learn as single woman.
She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. ~ v. 20
We must not only make the time to take of our home but also those in need. The Proverbs 31 woman is a generous, with a giving heart. She is concerned for the poor and shows godly love for those less fortunate. One of my dearest, single friends has recently begun teaching ESL to some refugees. I have another single friend who works with a homeless ministry right now. Both are learning to fulfill this verse before they are married because they know having a generous and kind heart is not just mandated for the married women.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. ~ Vs.21-22
The woman is not afraid because she is prepared. It was not unusual for it to snow in the central hill country of Israel but it was not frequent so this woman planned ahead in preparation, in case it did snow. The word scarlet can be translated as “double clothing” as well but either way it shows the quality of her preparations.
She has also made time for herself, to make sure her outward appearance is beautiful. The single Proverbs 31 woman is beautiful inside and out. She is not frivolous or vain, but exudes femininity, fully embracing the woman God created her to be. She is beautiful inside through her fear of the Lord (v.30) and she is now taking pride in her appearance and making it beautiful as well. The use of purple and fine linen suggests that she buys only the finest quality because she knows its value and endurance. Purple and fine linen was used by royalty and, therefore, the best quality and most appealing to the eye. The modern single woman when choosing a winter coat, for example, would spend a little more money on better quality which will last longer and be warmer, instead of buying a cheaper coat that will need to be replaced in a couple of years and not provide as much warmth.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. ~v. 23
This verse shows the importance of the husband the woman will marry. In Israelite cities, the gates were a gathering place for the prophets, king, judges, and community leaders. Her husband is a one who those around him respect and she is the kind of woman who will bring her husband honor in the community.
So how does this apply to the single woman? As Christian women, we should be discerning about the men we enter into relationships with. Their actions should be tested to see if they are faithful men of God. Are they respected by those around you? Do they seek the Lord and His will in all areas of their lives? The single Proverbs 31 woman seeks the Lord’s will and uses discernment when building a relationship with a godly man with whom to have a relationship and eventually marry, God willing.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. ~ v. 24-25
Again we see that the Proverbs 31 woman is one who makes her home her priority but also provides herself. She knows how to make money, invest it, and use her God-given talents to further her household. Her demeanor displays such splendor and she has a positive outlook on the future because she trusts in Yahweh. She has the comfort and satisfaction of her virtue in her own mind: Strength and honor are her clothing. Since she has confidence in the Lord, she is able to look at the future with joy and pleasure, even laughter!
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.~ vs. 26-27
The overflowing of her heart is wisdom and kindness. What is in your heart is what you will speak. This passage could be translated, “Everything she does is governed by kindness.” She is not abrasive but kind and sympathetic, giving wise advice to others. As single women and women in general, we must make sure we speak words that edify those around us, not nag, complain, or gossip. Words can bring life or death so we must train our mouths to speak words of wisdom and kindness, so we do not become the nagging woman in Proverbs 21:19; 25:24. It is reiterated that the virtuous woman makes sure her home is running well and efficiently. She is not a lazy woman but is constantly working towards furthering her household and the kingdom of God.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” ~ vs. 28-29
The single woman may not have children but she should be the kind of woman who will be a godly and loving mother. You can be a blessing to children, whether you have them or not. A single woman should strive to be the best aunt, nanny, or role model as possible. There are so many children in the world who need women to be blessings to them. The children call her blessed because she has been a godly role model to them, caring for them with wisdom and kindness.
The Proverbs 31 single woman also strives for excellence in the Lord. She does not accept mediocrity but perfection in Yahweh. She has proven that she is a precious stone, as seen through her character, and has surpassed all other women. This noble woman becomes the best person she can be and will be seen by her family as the best of all.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. ~Vs. 30-31
The Hebrew word that is translated as “vain” is hebel, which means “emptiness or vanity, something transitory and unsatisfactory.” As single women, we must be careful to not put all our hope in our beauty or charming ways. Charm may hide a mean personality and beauty is meaningless unless also accompanied by godliness. Beauty goes away with time and charm flees if you have a bad day, but fearing God is the only attribute of any real worth.
Proverbs ends with a call to all who know this virtuous woman, to praise her for her good deeds. Such public praise was a rare honor, but this is a rare woman and she has earned it. These final two verses show the importance of godly character and fear of the Lord. Only through making that the priority, will a single woman ever be able to become a rare treasure and eventually, Lord willing, an ideal wife.
The beautiful description of the “virtuous woman” is a challenge to all Christian women. The woman described has every virtue offered; she is resourceful, strong, good with her finances, compassionate, wise, prepared for the future, and dedicated to her family and those in need. She is a precious jewel, above all women, who has earned the praises of those who know her best. If anyone wants to become all these things she must first, fear the Lord. This is the most important quality she possesses and one all women should posses, for it is written, “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised….let her works praise her in the gates.”
What kind of woman are you? Are you waiting for a husband before you even look at these verses or are you preparing yourself to be a woman is far more precious than jewels? I hope you choose the latter, dear friend. Be encouraged because you CAN have the rarity and beauty of such a woman whether you are married or single. I hope to see more and more single Proverbs 31 women out there who fear the Lord and are to be praised. Pursue excellence! Be a woman of noble character!
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ Mt. 5:48