Proverbs focuses on wisdom and often personifies wisdom as feminine. Thus, it is fitting this book ends by discussing feminine wisdom in the “wife of a noble character.” Proverbs 31 has always been a favorite of women in the church. Paying attention to the message therein challenges our inattention to and cluelessness about what it means to be feminine.
Though not all women are wives, all women can be nobly wise in working unto God. This particular woman is shown to be wise because she seeks the best for her household and puts her hands to work inside and outside of the home. This woman is kind to the poor and is respected by neighbors. All women can manage their affairs with such wisdom and express God’s image in uniquely feminine ways. Proverbs 31 certainly does not paint a picture of a wife who is only barefoot in the kitchen. Rather, Proverbs 31 shows that women that live wisely are able to bless all those in their sphere of influence in transforming ways.
Many modern women do not imagine doing some of what this woman does, like buying a field and making a garden out of it. Still, all women are–like men–called by God to work. Proverbs 31 inspires women to demonstrate noble character in their work. There is great praise for the feminine desire (nature?) to accomplish what many call the domestic arts.
Yet if Proverbs 31 is any clue, domestic arts are not about where we work (e.g. only in the home), but about who women work to serve. Truly a woman that works to serve God, family, and neighbor is more valuable than rubies or any jewel. Such a woman has sound priorities and that is something money cannot buy.