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Proverbs 31:10-31The Voice (VOICE)

King Lemuel’s mother warns him of the dangers of women and wine. In different ways, both have brought down great leaders. Both are certainly distractions to a king’s true work—defending the poor.

10 Who can find a truly excellent woman? One who is superior in all that she is and all that she does?
    Her worth far exceeds that of rubies and expensive jewelry.
11 She inspires trust, and her husband’s heart is safe with her,
    and because of her, he has every good thing.
12 Every day of her life she does what is best for him,
    never anything harmful or hurtful.
13 Delight attends her work and guides her fingers
    as she selects the finest wool and flax for spinning.
14 She moves through the market like merchant ships
    that dock here and there in distant ports,
    finally arriving home with food she’s carried from afar.
15 She rises from bed early, in the still of night,
    carefully preparing food for her family
    and providing a portion to her servants.
16 She has a plan. She considers some land and buys it;
    then with her earnings, she plants a vineyard.
17 She wraps herself in strength, carries herself with confidence,
    and works hard, strengthening her arms for the task at hand.
18 She tastes success and knows it is good,
    and under lamplight she works deep into the night.
19 Her hands skillfully place the unspun flax and wool on the distaff,
    and her fingers twist the spindle until thread forms.
20 She reaches out to the poor
    and extends mercy to those in need.
21 She is not worried about the cold or snow for her family,
    for she has clothed them all in warm, crimson coats.
22 She makes her own bed linens
    and clothes herself in purple and fine cloth.
23 Everyone recognizes her husband in the public square,
    and no one fails to respect him as he takes his place of leadership in the community.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them in the market,
    and she supplies belts for tradesmen to carry across the sea.
25 Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear,
    she smiles when she thinks about the future.
26 She conducts her conversations with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is ever her concern.
27 She directs the activities of her household,
    and never does she indulge in laziness.
28 Her children rise up and bless her.
    Her husband, too, joins in the praise, saying:
29 “There are someindeed many—women who do well in every way,
    but of all of them only you are truly excellent.”
30 Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last,
    but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others.
31 Celebrate all she has achieved.
    Let all her accomplishments publicly praise her.[a]

Marrying the right person is one of the most important decisions most people ever make, so they must choose wisely and carefully. The Book of Proverbs ends with a tribute to a wise choice in a wife. She is strong, independent, capable, and cares for her husband, her family, and the poor. She runs the whole household. In ancient Israel, this would mean a large extended family—including servants with all of their activities—and the family business. Her husband would sing her praises publicly before the community leaders. Those who know her would admire her for her skills, her industry, and her character.

Footnotes:

  1. 31:10-31 A Hebrew acrostic poem
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31:10-31The Message (MSG)

Hymn to a Good Wife

10-31 A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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