The Proverbs 31 Woman

5 minute read

Mother’s Day is fast approaching.  It will be the busiest day of the year for restaurants. Phone use will go up by approximately 37%. But the flowers and gifts and restaurant food can’t tell the true story of what it means to be a mom – the self-sacrifice, the nurturing, the going beyond to provide for those she loves. What does the Bible say about women like this?

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 provides a comprehensive description of the virtuous woman, mother or not. In fact, while not all women are mothers, all women are daughters, and the final verses address this: “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  (Proverbs 31:29,30.)

Fearing God is the identifying mark of a woman of genuine virtue.

No Shrinking Wallflower

Proverbs 31 is a great context for other verses in the Bible addressed to women. Some make much of a meek and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:4), but this is an incomplete picture of the virtuous woman. Proverbs 31 extolls humility as well as confidence and industry. The Proverbs 31 woman is no shrinking wallflower, but is practical, kind, and wise – and seemingly always on the move! “ She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. (Proverbs 31: 18)

Proverbs 31 Examples

Examples of this kind of woman are found in the New Testament: Lydia, a seller of purple, mentioned in Acts 16, had a business and a home large enough to host meetings of the early church. The woman at the well did not shrink from questions to Jesus, but confidently kept asking questions: “…from whence then hast thou that living water?” (John 4:11). When her curiosity was satisfied and she believed in Jesus, she then went and told the men of the city, who followed her to Jesus. Perhaps the ultimate example of the decisiveness and practicality of the virtuous woman was Mary the mother of Jesus. She sets Jesus up for his first miracle, pointing out that the wine is gone, and, despite her son’s protests, telling the servants to obey whatever Jesus tells them to do! (John 2)

Let’s take a closer look at what Proverbs 31 says about virtuous women. No doubt you’ll see some of these characteristics in your own mom.

Virtue Is Priceless

Estimates predict a $28 billion dollar spend for mother this Mother’s Day. Yet, Proverbs 31 tells us that a virtuous woman is priceless.  “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)

Her Husband Is Confident

Verses 11 and 12 tell us that this woman’s husband has everything he needs at home – indeed, he can keep busy with his work at the city gate (verse 23).  Clearly, she is takes responsibility for her tasks and owns the work she has to do.

She Is Not Idle

Verse 27 of Proverbs 31 sums up what we read in verses 13-27.  “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”  How often we see clean laundry appear in drawers, come in to dinner on the table, or watch our mom seamlessly move from arrival home after considering and buying all day (Proverbs 31:16), to meeting the needs of her family.


She is Entrepreneurial

She Is Entrepreneurial

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” She sorts out her household so she can go out and do business. She buys a field and plants a vineyard (vs 16). She “perceiveth that her merchandise is good:” (vs. 18) and becomes a wholesaler, delivering her goods to the merchants (vs. 24).

She Takes Care Of Her Own

Her business speculation does not take away from her own household, as they are fed and clothed and she herself is clothed in silk and purple, signifying wealth in material and color in Biblical times.  “She is not afraid of the snow” (vs. 21) suggests she plans ahead for household needs.

She Takes Care Of Others

Verse 20 is a moving verse:  “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” This woman doesn’t simply give passively. She takes the initiative, looking for ways to meet needs in active, physical and personal ways.

She Is Marked By Honor, Kindness, and Moderation

“Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” This woman is up to the task, she is honorable in her dealings, and both these facts make her look to the future with joy. There are no regrets in the way she has chosen to live.   Furthermore, “in her tongue is the law of kindness,” suggesting a moderating force in her communication – gentle and kind words.

The Result Is Praise

Not only do her children and her husband praise her (verse 28), but “her own works praise her in the gates,” bringing honor not only to her, but to her entire family, and to her husband who is an elder in the land (vs.23)

What women do you know who exemplify some of these traits? You might want to let them know they demonstrate these characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman.  And your Mom? Let her know how much you appreciate her, and use these ideas to give her some specific compliments and ways she’s made a difference to you.

And, check out this link on our site for a last-minute gift for Mom!

Happy Mother’s Day!