The book of Proverbs in the Bible contains many wise sayings and advice for living a godly life. Proverbs 31 specifically describes the character of a virtuous woman. Verse 10 states: “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” This verse uses the metaphor of rubies, which were considered very valuable gems, to illustrate just how precious a godly wife is.
In the ancient Jewish culture, a good wife was highly esteemed. She worked hard, cared for her household, and supported her husband. She exhibited strength, dignity, and wisdom. Her value was not measured by rubies or fine jewels, even though they were rare and expensive at that time. Rather, her true worth was found in her virtuous character.
The rarity of finding such an excellent wife is emphasized in verse 10. Not every woman fits this mold. That’s why she is described as so hard to find, making her truly priceless. Her noble character traits are highlighted throughout the rest of the chapter, describing her as trustworthy, industrious, generous, wise, kind, diligent, capable, and God-fearing.
So what are some specific ways this passage points to the great value of a wife of strong moral virtue?
She is faithful and trustworthy
Proverbs 31:11-12 notes that her husband can rely on her and entrust his heart to her, meaning she will be faithful and true. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. Faithfulness ranks among the most precious traits in a spouse.
She works hard and serves her household
The woman described here is not lazy in any way. Proverbs 31:13-19 details her industriousness as she works diligently with her hands, buys and sells fine goods, gets up early, portions food for her servants, and works late into the night to care for her household. She serves her family, manages household affairs, and is generous to the poor.
She is wise, kind, and dignified
Proverbs 31:26 notes that she opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. She is clothed with strength and dignity (verse 25). She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is her trademark. Also, she is compassionate and caring to the poor and needy (verse 20).
She honors God and lives righteously
Most importantly, this woman respects and fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30). Her life is characterized by righteousness, virtue, and the reverence of God. She lives her life in a way that is pleasing to God through her moral uprightness, charitable deeds, wise and kind speech, diligent work ethic, and prudent management of household affairs. Her value is not ultimately found in material wealth or superficial charm, but in her honorable character and deep reverence for God.
In summary, the metaphor that she is “far more precious than jewels” emphasizes the immense value that the Bible places on righteous moral character, faithful service to others, wisdom, discretion, hard work, generosity, and first and foremost a heart devoted to honoring God. A wife exhibiting these traits is truly a prize to be cherished. Her value surpasses that of even the most expensive jewels.
This passage offers much wisdom not just for marital relationships, but for anyone desiring to live a virtuous life. Whether single or married, male or female, the character qualities described here should be pursued. When we honor God with lives of moral excellence, service, wisdom, diligence, and generosity, we reflect the worth and value that He places on us. Our true value is not material, but rather spiritual in nature.
So in summary, to be “more precious than rubies” means to excel in virtues like faithfulness, discretion, righteousness, compassion, hard work, wisdom, kindness, and reverence for God. It refers to maturing in Christlike character that sincerely honors God and serves others. This brings glory to God and models virtue, integrity, and moral purity to the watching world.
1. She exhibits the fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 describes the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” The excellent wife of Proverbs 31 demonstrates these godly virtues in abundance. She models the fruit of the Spirit, not the deeds of the flesh. This makes her life spiritually beautiful and attractive to others.
2. She is a wise manager and steward
This woman handles her resources with prudence and discretion. She buys fields, plants vineyards, makes linen garments and sashes, and sells these items for a profit. She ensures her household has food and clothing. She plans ahead and provides for the future. Her economic stewardship makes her household successful. Likewise, we should be wise managers of all God gives us.
3. She works diligently with her hands
The worthy woman of Proverbs 31 is not afraid of hard work. With energy and diligence she uses her hands and talents to accomplish much good. She sets an example of being industrious, not idle. Her diligence leads to prosperity and well-being for her household. We too should work heartily as unto the Lord.
4. She cares for the needy
This woman has compassion for the poor. She extends her hands to those in need and is generous with food and clothing. Caring for the less fortunate reflects her servant heart. She models generosity and social concern. We are also called to remember the poor and contribute to meeting felt needs.
5. She is clothed with strength and dignity
The wife described here conducts herself with moral strength and dignified self-control. She lives with grace, poise, and confidence. Her inner strength comes from the Lord. She does not rely on charm or physical beauty, which are fleeting. Rather, her attractiveness stems from her sterling character. Likewise, our true beauty comes from within.
6. Her husband and children rise up and praise her
This excellent wife and mother has a good reputation with her family. Her husband and children benefit greatly from her wise and diligent leadership at home. They in turn rise up and call her blessed. They praise her character. By contrast, a contentious wife draws contempt. We should aim to be peacemakers in our homes.
7. She fears the Lord
Most importantly, the worthy woman of Proverbs 31 fears the Lord. This is the beginning of wisdom. Her life is characterized by reverence for God and desire to please Him. She submits to God’s authority over her. Her true beauty is within – the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Likewise, our reverence for God should define us.
8. She speaks with wisdom
This woman’s speech is characterized by wisdom, faithful instruction, and loving guidance. Her words build up others. She speaks with discretion, not folly. Her tongue reflects the grace in her heart. Our speech should also be seasoned with salt and point others to Christ. We must bridle our tongues.
9. Her life exemplifies virtue
The worthy woman of Proverbs 31 is clothed with strength and dignity. She is robed in righteousness and moral purity. Her life exemplifies virtue, generosity, diligence, and wisdom. She leaves a godly legacy for her children. Likewise, we are called to excel in virtues like faith, moral excellence, perseverance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
10. She is a blessing to others
This excellent wife does not live selfishly. She seeks the good of others and strives to be a blessing through hard work, wise management, moral strength, and compassion. Her example benefits many. She builds up her household in the Lord. We too should live unselfishly and give of ourselves to others with wisdom and generosity.
In conclusion, to be more precious than rubies means pursuing moral and spiritual beauty. It involves maturing in Christlike virtues like integrity, diligence, discretion, compassion, kindness, faith, self-control, and most importantly reverence for God. This gives us true value in God’s eyes. The character described in Proverbs 31 should be the aim for all believers, both men and women alike.