We will conclude our study of the Book of Proverbs by looking at a few verses from 10-31: The woman of strength. The JPS Study Bible comments: "So far, the book of Proverbs has been devoted to inculcating the ideal of a wise man. It now concludes with a poem describing a wise woman, praising her energy, her economic talents, and her personal virtues. This is not one specific woman but an ideal, a paragon of female virtues." The description applied to this woman may conflict with your pre-conceived beliefs concerning the role of women in the ancient world. This woman has opportunities in business and seems independent in her interactions with those outside her family. Generally, verses 10-31 are spoken by the husband over his wife on Shabbat evening. I know I do, every Friday evening during our home Shabbat services.
Verse 10 says: What a rare find is a capable wife! Her worth is far beyond that of rubies. (JPS) The JPS Study Bible again comments: What a rare find, lit. "who can find..." This is an exclamation of value, not of rarity. The phrase "capable wife," is commonly translated, "woman of valor," or "woman of strength." I prefer the later translation. This type of strength is not just a military type strength, but also in the areas of social influence, in wealth, and in personal ethics and morals.
Today, speak these words of life over the women in your life: "You are a rare and beautiful find. You are strength in the midst of adversity. You have a wealth not measured by coin. You are smart and intellectual and I value your opinions. I rejoice that you are part of my life." Do this for thirty days and watch the power of words.
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