The “Perfect” Women?

Lord, thank you for your Word. Guide us and help us.  Clothe us with your discernment. Help us to laugh at all the days to come as we become the “perfect” women you created us to be. Amen

Why would any woman compare herself to Proverbs 31? Honestly, I really don’t get it.  Please help me. Why do we set our sisters and selves up for failure by taking these verses out of context? Every study seems to start at verse 10. Why ignore verses 1-9?

This chapter is a mother’s attempt to scare her son, the King from any involvement with women (verse 1), especially a woman like me.

Notice the way she calls to her son in verse 2, “Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!”  No guilt or manipulation  in those words.

So what is the simple request of this loving mother?  “Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.” (v.3) Ruin? Really? While there are many questionable women in the Bible like Jezebel and Delilah, there are also many notable women like  Tabitha (Dorcas) who appears to come very close to this mother’s expectations. She continues, “It is not for kings” (v.4)  Hate to state the obvious but without a women, there will be no princes or princesses.

But why mom?  In verses 4-7, she explains and strongly implies that women will lead the King astray by getting him drunk on wine and beer making him forget his more noble duties noted  in verses 8-9.

I find it ironic that King Lemuel’s mother indicates that if her son avoids such  impoverished, drunken women, he will be able to speak up for “those who cannot speak for themselves… rights of all who are destitute… judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and  needy”.

Ironic? Since women had no rights, they couldn’t speak for themselves, own property, may be destitute, needy and poor.  Hmmm…

Of course she’s not unreasonable.  She loves her son so while she recognizes that the woman, wife of noble character (v.10), she is about to describe doesn’t exist, ” A wife of noble character who can find?” and  “is worth far more than rubies”, she describes the perfect wife, making sure to set the bar impossibly high for her future daughter-in-law.  I don’t know anyone who meets all of these specifications and I have trouble not growling at any woman who comes painfully close.

Not to mention, she seems to describe a great servant and not a lover, not a wife.

The Bible is extremely clear, the only perfect person is Jesus, her son would have to marry Jesus. Unfortunately, the bible doesn’t support Jesus’ ability to sew.  Therefore Jesus doesn’t even meet her qualifications.  Here are a few areas I fall short:

Verse Proverbs 31 Wife Me                         
11 Her husband has full confidence in her “Full” is a bit of a stumbling block especially if time management is a criteria. My husband’s confidence in me getting him to the airport this morning was questionable.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
Does a black eye on our honeymoon count when I came up as he was bending down?
16 Buying a field, planting  vineyard Does buying groceries on sale count?
19 Lamp doesn’t go out I really should keep spare light bulbs around but then I use them and the lamp goes out…besides when does this woman sleep?
22-24 She makes coverings for her bed… She makes linen garments and sells them I know how to use a needle and thread but fall short of making anything
27 Does not eat the bread of idleness I’ve had a few too many servings of brain fog, fatigue, procrastination…

However, I’m not a complete failure; the Holy Spirit has graced me with a few skills:

Verse Proverbs 31 Wife Me
13 She selects wool and flax I have a few nice wool suits and jackets.
14, 15 She …brings her food from afar…provides food   for her family We all love Chick-Fil-a
16, 17 Buys…out of her earnings… She sets about her   work vigorously I definitely work hard and buy lots of stuff   with my earnings.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
No problem. I’ve been poor and I’ve been   blessed. I’ve learned to share.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate We have lots of pets to greet him no matter   how many times he comes or goes. I work in the city, he works next door but I   am eager to see him when I get home-he’s very handsome
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her   household Liberal leave makes for fun family no-stress   (fear) snow days-Thanks Maryland!
28 Her children call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her
I’m very blessed. My family is very loving and   complimentary.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
The Lord is my strength, The Holy Spirit has   restored my dignity and I definitely laugh abundantly!

In Verse 30, she sows a bad seed that can only fester by stating, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting”, followed by a truth I do pray the Lord continues to bestow upon me:

A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

So how do you match up with the Proverbs 31 perfect wife for King Lemuel?  Do you think his mother met all of these qualifications?  Does any women meet all of these qualifications?

I’m glad I never met King Lemuel or his mother.  I have enough of my own insecurities; I don’t need a mammas boy or his mother pouring more hot coals upon my head. This chapter makes me very thankful the Lord brought my husband and his mother into my life; and they see me through Christ’s eyes as a beautiful bride. I am thankful there are books in the Bible like the Songs of Solomon that share the joys and passions of  marriage. Amen.

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4 thoughts on “The “Perfect” Women?

  1. I enjoyed your humor in this post! I’m afraid I am one of those who has taken Proverbs 31 to heart. Regardless of King Lemuel’s mother’s motives, the character she describes embodies so much of what we are to put on as Christians – she wasn’t idle, she was a homemaker, she was a servant, she was giving and feared God above all. The overall picture is surely one any Christian woman should strive for, as it depicts a strength and trust in God and a meekness, servitude and love for others that is taught in the New Testament, and is just so hard to find…especially in today’s culture. We’ve all fallen short, and God knows I’m far(like…really far, woefully far, shamefully far, haha) from this “perfect” picture, but I do pray fervently that God will help me grow to conform to His image.

    • Thank you Crunchy Christian! I loved your summary of Proverbs 31; it didn’t make me feel exhausted reading it. It was uplifting and very Christ-like. As noted above, you described the qualities I agree are most admirable.
      However, in addition to being a homemaker and servant; she was also a small business owner, master gardener, landowner, missionary etc…Also of concern is that her profits seem to outweigh her charities.
      As a Recovering Perfectionist, I know that trying to do it all can be very lonely, those we love and are trying to please feel neglected as we try to balance all those balls in the air, other women can be very critical and unfriendly, and perfection is rarely appreciated. I know if I were successful in all those areas my head would swell too large to fit into heaven (Luke 18:25). Romans 11:6 (NIV) “ And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” Amen.

  2. The only “perfect” person is Christ. Our goal is to strive to be Christ like. That’s a tough one. We pray for his guidance. You are funny!

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