“A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” (Proverbs 31:10)
I am thinking of the women/wives in the bible. Eve may have started off shaky being a wife, but when it came time to leave the garden, she toiled beside her husband. And gave birth three times without any to help her. There is Noah’s wife who believed totally in her husband. And Sarah who endured much, and tried to remain as faithful as her husband. And the list goes on of women who pledged themselves to their spouse and raised their children to become strong exemplars in the bible.
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” (Verses 11 – 12)
But her industry is not confined to being a wife and mother. No, far from it!
“She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from far away.” (Verses 13 -14)
I returned a short time ago, the day of writing this, from grocery shopping. It is a good feeling knowing that you have provided your family with food staples. And that the work of your hands has earned the money to buy that food.
“She rises while it is still night and provides food for her household and tasks for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” (Verses 15 – 16)
The work of my hands, head, and heart has also earned me wages that I bought myself a vehicle so I could work and care for my family. And that work is done on the behalf of others so that their lives are easier and assured.
“She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy.” (Verses 17 – 20)
But I am not the only one who works hard on behalf of her family. My female friends and fellow workers work hard to and sustain their families, and those outside of their family circles.
“She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.” (Verses 21 – 22)
Furthermore, it is not just women who do this. The writer of Proverbs has focused on women and the more domestic tasks. If we widen the circle just a bit, we can take in all members of humanity who are caretakers and caregivers in one way or another. For seven years I was privileged to run an in-home care agency. My best employees were those who had practice and experience caring for others.
“Her husband is known in the city gates, taking his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchant with sashes. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Verses 23 – 26)
Does it occur to you, beloved reader, as it occurs to me that the attributes of a good “wife” are also the attributes of Wisdom & Sophia Wisdom? Do you think it is a coincidence that the attributed writer of the book of Proverbs might also be the writer of the book the Wisdom of Solomon?
“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her happy; her husband too, 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 a share in the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the city gates.” (Verses 27 – 31)
I started out by talking about women from the bible. Just as other members of humanity, they had their weakness and flaws. But from that line of women came men and women love, fear, and worship the Divine. It is my opinion that whatever else the caretaker & caregiver of the home does, the greatest responsibility is to raise up and nurture people who also bring honor to the Divine. Shalom & Selah