This passage is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with a subsequent letter of the alphabet. The poem describes in typical wisdom style the ideal wife, praising her economic value while depreciating her physical charms. A young man must be practical even in the affairs of the heart if he is to succeed in life.
Vv. 10-12 introduce the poem. “Noble character” is better understood as “efficient” or “worthy.” A husband trusts that this type of woman will benefit him.
Vv. 13-27 illustrate in concrete terms the desirable characteristics of this type of wife. She is industrious, shrewd in business practices, and capable in managing the home. She plans ahead so that her family is amply provided for and well-clothed.
Vv. 28-31 conclude with praise for the woman. The reference to fearing the Lord provides a Yahwistic cast to the poem. The proper wife would guard the home against all illegitimate religious influences.
Kidner, Derek. Proverbs. TOTC. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1964.
McKane, William. Proverbs: A New Approach. OTLS. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1970.
Whybray, R. N. The Book of Proverbs. NEBC. Cambridge: The University Press, 1972.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider upgrading to Bible Gateway Plus. Bible Gateway Plus equips you to have in-depth biblical discussions with your friends, your family, and your peers. Try it free for 30 days!