Often read at weddings and on Mother’s Day at church lady groups, this last chapter in the book of Proverbs is underestimated if read only in the context of a good woman being described as the ideal wife. It is more than that.
For, when you look at the actions that prove her virtues, you see that she is a hard working business woman who sees a field and buys it, keeps her hands busy making crafts and clothing to sell or for her family, and gets up early and works late into the night to make sure she has provided for her family. In the story, her husband strolls through the town admired and respected by all for having such a hard working wife, but the reader doesn’t see the husband working. The wife is holding the family together by being a good provider.
In many ways this description of the hard-working provider encapsulates many of the nuggets of business advice offered throughout the book of Proverbs that points readers to look at how ants and other animals and insects store up food for the winter and how sluggards who don’t work won’t eat eventually. It is a lesson is a work ethic and is written by a King’s mother to her son, who says he has special responsibilities because he is a leader. Because of his great responsibilities he is urged to avoid heavy drink so that his mind is clear to make good decisions and if he really wants to be a leader he needs someone who will work as hard as he needs to. There you see the description of what is called a Proverbs 31 woman: a hard working business person who puts in long hours but works smart.