Description of a Worthy Woman
[a]An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her?
Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.(A)
The heart of her husband trusts in her [with secure confidence],
And he will have no lack of gain.
She comforts, encourages, and does him only good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She looks for wool and flax
And works with willing hands in delight.
She is like the merchant ships [abounding with treasure];
She brings her [household’s] food from far away.
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And assigns tasks to her maids.(B)
She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently];
With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task]
And makes her arms strong.
She sees that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead].
She stretches out her hands to the [b]distaff,
And her hands hold the spindle [as she spins wool into thread for clothing].
She opens and extends her hand to the poor,
And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy.
She does not fear the snow for her household,
For all in her household are clothed in [expensive] scarlet [wool].(C)
She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry.
Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple [wool].(D)
Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.(E)
She makes [fine] linen garments and sells them;
And supplies sashes to the merchants.
Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure;
And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared].
She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction].
She looks well to how things go in her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.(F)
Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired);
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying,
“Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness],
[c]But you excel them all.”
Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.
Give her of the product of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].(G)
- Proverbs 31:10 The following verses are written as an acrostic poem (each of the twenty-two verses begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Aside from the artistry, the acrostic structure also aided memorization.
- Proverbs 31:19 I.e. the staff that holds the textile fibers for spinning.
- Proverbs 31:29 The source of this remarkable woman’s success and competence is revealed in v 30, and it is a source available to everyone. She is wise because she understands and puts into practice the message contained in 9:10.
English Standard Version
The Woman Who Fears the Lord
10 [a] (A)An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than (B)jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She (C)seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She (D)rises while it is yet night
and (E)provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She (F)dresses herself[b] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She (G)opens her hand to (H)the poor
and reaches out her hands to (I)the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in (J)scarlet.[c]
22 She makes (K)bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is (L)fine linen and (M)purple.
23 Her husband is known in (N)the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes (O)linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 (P)Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many (Q)women have done (R)excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 (S)Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.