Why should women read Proverbs?
Women who want to know God and to live in a manner pleasing to Him will discover in the book of Proverbs a wealth of practical guidelines for everyday decision-making as well as for lifelong, life-changing patterns of character development and purpose. The book reveals truths about God and your relationship with Him:
• Who God is—omniscient (15:3,11; 21:2); omnipotent (10:27,29; 12:2);
• What He does—administers justice (2:7-8; 16:2; 17:3; 29:26); keeps His covenant with His people (2:21-22; 3:5-8; 22:19; 29:25); rules as sovereign over all (16:4,9; 19:21; 22:2);
• Your personal responsibility to God (1:7; 3:5).
The book of Proverbs is just as relevant today as when it was written. This collection of sayings represents a distinct worldview that recognizes the world as a battleground between good and evil, wisdom and folly, the righteousness of God and the wickedness of man. Inevitably, every decision brings consequences. In this fallen world, God’s justice may be delayed or not readily apparent, but He never fails to keep His promises and accomplish His purposes in His own way and according to His timing.
Biblical Womanhood: A Paradigm
The closing verses of the book (Pr 31:10-31) comprise a poem of praise for a wise woman whose household included servants and vast resources, which would be far beyond the ordinary woman in any generation. Yet the description moves from the inner character of the woman to how this works itself out, covering such an array of giftedness and activities that every woman may find herself somewhere in the portrait.
The paradigm has its foundation in character and personal virtues (Pr 31:10-12,17,25,30-31), together with her family commitment (vv. 11,23,28) and energetic household management (vv. 13-15,21,27)— as well as an interest in her community (vv. 20,26), personal attractiveness (v. 22), and giftedness (vv. 16,18-19,24). She is set apart as representing a standard of excellence to be admired and emulated. While her husband is the one sitting at the city gates, where the assembly of community leaders did their decisionmaking and issued their judgments, one notes that this wife’s work as a helpful partner makes her husband’s leadership in the community more effective as she brings him and their family honor by her own deeds (v. 23; cp. Ru 4:1-12).
Although some suggest that this extraordinary woman merely represents wisdom in an allegory, she is described in vivid detail as a wife and mother and woman whose very diversity in giftedness and skills enables every woman to reach out and touch her in some way. She lifts the standard high and in so doing has been inspiring godly women to excellence throughout the generations.
The poem is fashioned in a literary acrostic, each verse beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet, marking its classic literary form for preserving and systematizing the ideals expressed therein and making the verses more memorable. The Jewish husband, or a child in the household, recites the poem on the evening of Sabbath in honor of and expressing gratitude for the wife and mother as she lights the candles for the family meal. The JudeoChristian community also finds the tribute worthy of celebrations honoring mothers in life or death.