The final 22 verses of Proverbs depict a strong woman who puts God’s wisdom into action in her life and work.
Translators have used different words to describe her character, including “virtuous” (KJV), “capable” (NRSV) and “excellent” (NASB). But these terms fail to capture the strength of the Hebrew word chayil. In the majority of its 246 appearances in the Old Testament, chayil applies to fighting men, like David’s “mighty warriors” in 1 Chronicles 7:2.
The woman of Proverbs 31 is mighty, and her strength shows through in her work. She’s not only a wife and a mother but a worker and an entrepreneur.
From her we learn 5 practices that demonstrate strength in everyday life:
- She is trustworthy. Proverbs 31:11 says that “The heart of her husband trusts in her.”
- She is diligent. Proverbs 31:13 says that she “works with willing hands” and verse 15 says that “she rises while it is still night.”
- She is shrewd, or prudent. She makes the most out of available resources and prepares for difficult circumstances, as in Proverbs 31:21-22 which says “she is not afraid for her household when it snows” because “she makes herself coverings.”
- She is generous. Proverbs 31:20 says “She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.” Her generosity isn’t a personality quirk – it comes from her excellence at work. Because she makes a profit in her business she is able to give to the poor.
- She is careful about what she says. Guarding the tongue is an important theme throughout the book of Proverbs, and in 31:26 it says that when the valiant woman speaks she “opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Trustworthiness, diligence, shrewdness, generosity, and guarding the tongue. 5 ways to show strength at work, demonstrated by the mighty woman of Proverbs.