“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels” (v. 10). Such a good wife is hard to find. The word excellent(hayil) can mean “strength, capability, valor or dignity.” This woman exemplifies each of these qualities, having great competence, noble character, and a strong commitment to God and her family. Only the Lord can provide such an excellent woman: “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. 19:14). “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (18:22). This virtuous woman is a priceless gift from God.
Is it any wonder that “the heart of her husband trusts in her” (v. 11)? The husband has faith in her because “she does him good and not harm all the days of her life” (v. 12). She brings her many strengths into their marriage, each one uniquely suited to complement his weaknesses. Her gifts immediately become his gains, and she provides much that causes him to trust her.
First, this extraordinary wife tirelessly serves him. Not sitting by idly, she actively “seeks wool and flax,” then extends a “willing hand” (v. 13) to spin thread and make material. She is “like a merchant ship” (v. 14), launching out to find the best fabric, at the best price, in order to make the best clothes. This selfless wife “rises while it is yet night” (v. 15) to prepare food for her family. An excellent manager, she oversees “her maidens” as they serve alongside her in the household.
Second, this enterprising woman exercises sound judgment in her many dealings. She shrewdly “considers a field,” then buys it. There, she plants a “vineyard” (v. 16). By her “strong” (v. 17) resolve, she earns disposable income for her family. These business dealings are “profitable” (v. 18), providing additional resources to share with others. She labors well into the “night” with her “distaff” and “spindle” (v. 19) to make garments for her family.
Third, this diligent woman gives generously to “the poor” and “the needy” (v. 20). As “the snow” approaches, she also gives to her family. She has planned ahead, making “scarlet” garments (v. 21) for her household. She spares no effort or cost in providing the best she can. After providing for others, this industrious wife makes “bed coverings” and clothes “for herself” with “fine linen and purple” (v. 22). Her ability to give expensive garments is clear evidence of God’s favor upon her labors.
Fourth, her many virtues enhance her husband’s position in “the gates” (v. 23), where city leaders meet. With keen savvy, this excellent wife “makes,” “sells” and “delivers” (v. 24) her goods. Despite being very competent, she does not compete with her husband’s leadership, but undergirds it by her humble submission—and everyone knows it.
Fifth, this treasured wife looks to the future with inner “strength” and “dignity” (v. 25). Though she anticipates many challenges, she nevertheless “laughs” (v. 25) with positive confidence in the Lord’s providential care. She is expectant that heaven’s supply will meet her family’s every need. As people seek her counsel, she speaks words of “wisdom” and “kindness” (v. 26) to them. Though busy outside the home, she does not neglect “her household” (v. 27).
Sixth, she is such a fine mother that as her children observe her excellence, they “call her blessed” (v. 28). Her husband sees her character traits in parenting and “praises her.” He boasts that among women, “[she] surpass[es] them all” (v. 29). In his eyes, there are none who can legitimately claim to be her equal.
Seventh, this woman’s true greatness is her spiritual devotion. She “fears the Lord” (v. 30). “Charm” and “beauty” alone are “deceitful” and “vain.” Her realattraction to him is her reverence for God. Even the city leaders “praise her” in the “gates” (v. 31), recognizing the integrity of her life. Her husband prizes her fidelity and industry. He is the most blessed of men.
Is it any wonder that her husband trusts her? The reality of God in her life makes her worthy of his full confidence. By every estimate, she is “the crown of her husband” (12:4). Only God can provide such an excellent helpmate.
Has the Lord given you such an excellent wife? Do you see how she is specifically suited for you? Do you recognize how she has increased your effectiveness for the Lord? Then give thanks to God for such a woman in whom your heart trusts.
Dr. Steven J. Lawson is senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama, and he is author of “The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards.”