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Friday, May 3, 2013

Far Above Rubies

Who can find a virtuous woman? 
for her price is far above rubies.
(Proverbs 31:10)

A virtuous woman . . . .

What is a virtuous woman?

You might be surprised! The Hebrew word for virtuous (chayil) means “army, strong, efficient, powerful, rich, mighty.” We’re not talking about a weak, doormat, silly, brainless lady. We’re talking about one who is strong.

The Bible says she’s worth more than precious gems. It’s interesting that it says she is more valuable than rubies. Did you know that a red ruby of uniform color is worth more than a diamond of the same weight? Even in ancient times, this was true. The virtuous woman is worth more than rubies, more than diamonds.

The Bible only uses the term virtuous woman two other times. One is to describe Ruth (Ruth 3:11), and the other says, A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones (Proverbs 12:4).

A strong, virtuous woman. From the rest of Proverbs 31, we understand what the virtuous woman is like. She’s industrious, thoughtful, compassionate, and loving. She looks good. Her husband and children are proud of her. Of course, this picture goes along with her being a crown to her husband as we see in Proverbs 12:4 (above).

How can a woman today be virtuous? How can we be strong?

We have some hints in the lives of Ruth, and the Virtuous Woman passage in Proverbs.

Ruth chose to follow Naomi’s God. The well-known verse tells it all: And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God (Ruth 1:16). From then on, Ruth listened to her mother-in-law and obeyed her. Ruth made her choice, and she stuck to it. Was it easy to glean for their food? Was it easy to leave her own culture and family and go to a new home, where there was almost no family? No. But God honored her decision and provided the young widow with a good husband and a little boy. He even included her in the lineage of His own Son.

Many people think that the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 is something unattainable, that she has to be a collection of thoughts on what a Christian woman ought to be. We don’t know, of course, but here are her characteristics. She is indeed a strong woman.

Let’s look at her relationships with others:
  • Her husband—trusts her implicitly. She is the good woman behind a good man.  He is proud of her. (verses 11, 23, 27, 28)
  • Her children—are cared for. They have adequate food and clothing. They call their mother “blessed.” (verses 15, 21, 27, 28)
  • Her servants—are fed and clothed by her. (verses 15, 21)
  • The poor—She gives to them. (verse 20)
  • Everyone—hears kind, wise words from her. (verse 26)

She has a few other characteristics that are noteworthy:
  • She worketh willingly with her hands. We see her industry in many ways: cooking, spinning, gardening, making woven things to sell, and making her own clothes. (verses 13, 16, 19, 22, and 24)
  • She is strong physically. She’s not lazy. (verses 17-18)
  • Her “clothing” is described as strength and honour. She actually wears tapestry, silk, and purple. She is known for her inner beauty as well as her outer beauty. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. (verses 22, 25, and 30)

Her recompense: Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (verse 31)

What a challenge! Let’s be truly virtuous women.

Her price is far above rubies.


  1. Si que parece difícil conseguir ser una mujer virtuosa hoy en día. Pero pienso que con la ayuda del Señor es posible conseguirlo.

    1. Es verdad. Con la ayuda de nuestro Dios, podemos hacer su voluntad. (It's true. With our God's help, we can do His will.)

      God bless, Tere!

  2. Good thoughts! I had always thought of virtuous has having to do with goodness. Interesting to know it has to do with strength. Of course, they both go together in the virtuous woman, and in Ruth as an example of one.

    1. Yes, you have to be strong to be virtuous and virtuous to really be strong. Ruth still amazes me.

      Thank you for your comment. God bless you, Barbara!


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