…and he praises her. “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31: 29b - 31
I decided to share the final two blocks in our Virtuous Wife quilt project this month, instead of now and in December, so that those ladies who have been stitching the blocks each month have time to complete the full quilt before the year ends.
I love these final few verses, and as I was studying them, discovered a number of simply beautiful meanings which help to expand our understanding of the written words. So, shall we explore them?
(a) Charm is deceitful…
Charm (chen) - can mean physical beauty, but translated from the original Hebrew it also means graciousness or kindness. Deceitful (sheqer) - describes a sham, a falsehood, like putting on an act. So, when we read it with this understanding, we can see that it’s not all about physical beauty which can be made to look more than it actually is with makeup and hair styles etc…it’s also about pretending to be gracious and kind in order to gain favour – a sham.
(b)…and beauty is vain:
Vain (hebel) - means empty. Physical beauty is empty. There’s no real substance to it. We shall see why further on.
(c)…but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Fear (yare’) - means to be morally reverent. It’s not about being scared of God as you might a criminal, but to fully revere Him in His divine authorative nature, to bow your will to His, abiding by His Word and living out that obedience for all to see.
‘To be praised’ (halal) - means to shine! Isn’t this beautiful? When we fear God (as described above) we will shine. It instantly reminded me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:16 “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Ladies, let us shine forth for the Lord by how we live our lives, and allowing the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to refine our character.
(a) Give her of the fruit of her hands:”
Give (nathan) her of the fruit (priy) of her hands; describes the bough of tree, and means to render or reward.
(b) And let her own works…
(Ma’aseh) is the one word to express this section of the verse, and you may be surprised to know that it has many meanings. “Her own works” can be baking, creating a product, doing deeds, needlework, having handy skills, writing…her works can be many and varied.
(c)…praise her in the gates.
Praise (hahal) – again, this means to shine. In the gates (sha’ar) relates to having her character, deeds, and inner beauty displayed openly for all to see. When you take this back to the Biblical era when Proverbs 31 was written, it’s easy to see why her husband praised her openly when he sat with the city leaders in the town gates.
And finally…a little bit of information about the Proverbs 31:10-31 woman today.
Did you know it is traditionally believed that Abraham used to recite this to Sarah, and it is now recited or read by Jewish husbands to their wives on the eve of Sabbath? I think that is so lovely, and any wife would be honoured to have her husband consider her to be an example of the wife we have been studying all year.
For my part, I am not perfect, and God still has rough corners to round off in my character, but after almost 32 years of marriage I can honestly say that I am a much better wife than I once was, and intend on allowing the Lord to keep refining me through whatever years I have left. To HIM be all glory and honour and praise!
I hope you have enjoyed this free Virtuous Wife block of the month, which we began on November 1st, 2022. A year later and I am the better for it, not because of what I have stitched or sewn, but because of what I have learned through deepening my personal study of each verse, and almost every word.
Use the link below to download the final double pattern set, which includes the quilt assembly instructions.
DOWNLOAD blocks 15 and 16
If you missed any of the sixteen blocks in this BOM go HERE.
I have pieced all my blocks together and cut the quilt wadding, but am still deciding how I’ll quilt it, and whether or not I’m going to attempt something a little different. More about that another day.
God bless you!! May you grow in the favour and blessing of the Lord all the days of your life.