Proverbs 31: Week 27 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome to week twenty-seven of our Proverbs 31 journey. This week we consider women and landownership, bearing fruit, and planting vineyards. If you'd like to return to one of our previous stops, let our "Wolfe Notes" guide you. 

  • In January we examined our value with the help of Proverbs 31 verses 10 and 29.
  • In February we learned what uplifting means by looking at Proverbs 31:11 and 23.
  • In March, we considered the virtue of respect by studying Proverbs 31:12 and 28.
  • In April, we trained to be hardworking with Proverbs 31:13 and 19 as our instructors.
  • In May, we saw what it takes to be resourceful by examining Proverbs 31:14 and 21. 
  • In June, we developed our caring muscle by exercising Proverbs 31:15 and 22.
  • In July, we'll practice being savvy with help from Proverbs 31:16 and 27.
If you're ready to travel with us, welcome! Grab your July calendar with daily activities, the lamp for your feet (the Bible), and let's get going! We're journeying through the concluding poem of Proverbs and we're so glad you decided to walk along this road with us! Imagine that as we walk, we're talking about the daily activities. Our side of the discussion is outlined below. What would you add? How would you challenge us? (Ideas that are our thoughts alone are designated with an *.)

A wheatfield with a blue sky overhead. Text overlay quotes Proverbs 31:16.

Proverbs 31:16 Noting key words and phrases.
*Literal Meaning A surface level interpretation.
What is Weird? Looking into something odd about the verse.
About Fruit from various sources.
About Plants from various sources.
Other Versions of Proverbs 31:16 and writing your own.
Commentaries of Proverbs 31:16.

Proverbs 31:16

Noting key words and phrases.

She considereth a field, / and buyeth it: / with the fruit of her hands / she planteth a vineyard.

Key Words: consider, buy, fruit, hands, plants, vineyard 

*Literal Meaning

A surface level interpretation.

A woman thinks about property (her lot / space) and invests in it: by her own efforts she produces (nurtures) growth.

What is Weird?

Looking into something odd about the verse.

Would a woman have bought a field or worked it in Solomon's times?
  • Not bought, but possibly inherited. In Numbers 27:1-7, the daughters of Zelophehad asked Moses for the right to inherit land because their father had died with no sons. Moses approached the Lord. He agreed with Zelophehad's daughters and extended it to all similar scenarios in the future, stating: "Moreover, this is the general law among you, that if a man dies and has no sons, then his inheritance shall be passed on to his daughters..." then brothers, uncles, and finally the nearest relative.
  • Likely, they worked in the household. They would help in the fields only during harvest. (TJ Wray)
  • *Conclusions: Although a woman could own land, she likely would not purchase it. All land is God's (Leviticus 25:23) and we are stewards of it. Therefore, land was not often purchased, but rather inherited or earned. ( Due to the extreme unlikelihood that a woman would buy a field, it becomes more evident to me that this "woman" is Jesus because the activities here described are precisely how Jesus would (and does) act. He:

About Fruit

From various sources.
  • Hebrew from Open Bible
    • peri: fruit
    • Meaning: fruit
    • Other uses: offspring, produce, results
  • Definition from Merriam Webster
    • A product of plant growth (fruits of the field)
    • Offspring
    • The state of bearing fruit
    • The effect or consequence of an action or operation: product, result
  • "The Fruit of Her Hands" by Beth Moore at Proverbs 31 Woman
    • Planting, or gardening, mimics God's work who is a planter or gardener (Genesis 2:8)
    • Work was NOT part of the curse, it was the call of God to come, take part with Him and contribute to His world (*by bearing fruit with Him).
      • He fashioned us with a need to contribute.
      • We can deal with pain more easily than we can with purposelessness.
      • We long to be part of something ENORMOUS - and we are! We are part of God's Kingdom - the only thing that outlasts time.
    • God's work takes time.
      • Go slow in the work that contributes to an end that outlasts time. Tap into the Holy Spirit, not the Holy Sprint. Fast fruit is never ripe.
      • We are infected with impatience. We want to be grown without ever growing.
      • But God plants, and plants take time to develop.
        • "You can't rush fine fruit."
        • "Don't try to harvest when you ought to be pruning."
        • "Take your time. Appreciate the process."
      • This is true of any God-ordained work: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
      • Fruit takes time to cultivate. Whatever work you're doing, that's a vineyard you're growing, and God intends it to be GORGEOUS. Don't settle for less than God's best.
  • Scripture
    • Galatians 5:22-23 KJV: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
    • James 3:17 KJV: But the WISDOM that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
    • John 15:16 KJV: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
    • Matthew 3:8 CJB: If you have really turned from your sins to God, produce fruit that will prove it!
    • John 15:5 KJV: I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
    • Ephesians 5:9 KJV: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
    • Genesis 1:29 KJV: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
  • *Conclusions: It's our job, in Christ, to produce fruit. It is the Holy Spirit imparting Wisdom that enables us to produce fruit. We do it because we were chosen to do so, have repented of our unrighteousness, and accept God's pruning and equipping so we can shine light on what is good, right, and true. This work takes time; don't give up!

About Plants

From various sources.
  • Hebrew from Open Bible
    • nata: to plant
    • a prim, root
    • Other uses: planted, well-driven, establish
    • Used often with vineyard
  • Definitions from Merriam-Webster
    • to put or set in the ground for growth (plant seeds)
    • establish, institute
    • colonize, settle
    • conceal
  • "Spiritual Growth Is Not an Accident" by Jon Bloom at Desiring God
    • "What a gardener does or doesn't do really matters."
    • Our Work Matters
      • "[A gardener] must persistently and diligently work to nurture and protect what he's planted from drought, weeds, pestilence, and pesky critters."
      • Also, spiritually true. We were entrusted with a seed (the gospel, virtues, jobs, relationships, etc.) to nurture that doesn't grow on its own; it requires our efforts. "What we choose to do or not do affects real outcomes in our gardens"
      • But there is balance. While He expects us to work, He also promises not to crush us - so long as we learn to live with faith, as a plant does.
    • Gardeners Like Plants
      • Trees flourish by meditating on God's word (Psalm 1:1-3)
      • Branches flourish by their continual connection to the vine. (John 15:6)
      • "If we draw from the stream or from the vine, we will have all we need to tend the gardens God gives us."
    • How Do Your Gardens Grow?
      • What gardens has God entrusted to your stewardship? 
      • What have you planted?
      • How are you nurturing what's been planted?
      • Are you prioritizing your efforts on your primary gardens and then on your secondary ones? Do you forego maintenance on your secondary ones when your primary gardens demand more attention?
  • Scripture from Open Bible
    • Genesis 1:11-12 ERV: Then God said, "Let the earth grow grass, plants that make grain, and fruit trees. The fruit trees will make fruit with seeds in it. And each plant will make its own kind of seed. Let these plants grow on the earth." And it happened. The earth grew grass and plants that made grain. And it grew trees that made fruit with seeds in it. Every plant made its own kind of seeds. And God saw that this was good. (*Planting starts a cycle of growth.)
    • Matthew 15:13 ERV:  Jesus answered, "Every plant that my Father in heaven has not planted will be pulled up by the roots." (*Unless the Lord plants it, it will not thrive.)
    • I Corinthians 3:7 ERV: So the one who plants is not important, and the one who waters is not important. Only God is important, because he is the one who makes things grow. (*It's not about what you do; it's about who HE is.)
    • Mark 4:30-32 ERV: Then Jesus said, "What can I use to show you what God's kingdom is like? What story can I use to explain it? God's kingdom is like a mustard seed, which is smaller than any other seed on earth that you can plant. But when you plant it, it grows and becomes the largest of all the plants in your garden. It has branches that are very big. The wild birds can come and make nests there and be protected from the sun." (*God's Kingdom starts humbly but grows broadly - even that which might devour it is covered.)
    • Job 8:11 NASB: Can papyrus grow tall without a marsh? Can the rushes grow without water? (*We cannot grow without God.)
  • *Conclusions: We are asked to work to plant the seeds and steward the gardens God's entrusted to us. To be successful, we must stay connected and meditate on God.

Other Versions

Of Proverbs 31:16 and writing your own.

  • KJV: She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 
  • AMPC: She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
  • CEV: She knows how to buy land and how to plant a vineyard.
  • ERV: She looks at land and buys it. She uses the money she has earned and plants a vineyard.
  • JUB: She considered the inheritance and bought it; with the fruit of her hands she planted a vineyard.
  • VOICE: She has a plan. She considers some land and buys it; then with her earnings, she plants a vineyard.
  • Wolfe Stew Versions:
    • (As Wisdom): Wisdom considers you and chooses you. By His own effort, Wisdom persistently and diligently attends to, nourishes, and prunes the vineyard, of which you are a part, to abundantly produce good fruit.
    • (As a Godly wife): She tarries in choosing where to toil. Upon choosing, she lets go of other options and throws herself completely into her work - selecting resources, activities, and conversations that nurture eternal life for her lot (husband, children, household, coworkers, etc.).
    • Personally: Think before you choose, knowing that once chosen, you've committed and are obligated to do the work to see it through. Remember, in whatever you've chosen to do, you remain connected to God. Perform deeds that witness for you.
    • Relationally: Before intwining your life with another, consider the field. Once chosen, commit and put in the work to produce every fruit of the spirit within the relationship. You were chosen for this!
    • Intellectually: Default to God. If an action, conversation, relationship, or thought does not produce good fruit, prune it. You chose His lot, work it faithfully.
    • Spiritually: You've thought about and chosen to accept God's covenant. So, live like it. Work persistently and diligently to nurture and protect the seeds He's given to you to plant. Flourish by staying connected to Him and meditating on His word. Allow Him to prune while you trust.


Of Proverbs 31:16.

  • She considereth a field... The field are the scriptures. The church considers how to use the scriptures profitably - for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Because the church knows the value of scripture, she is willing to buy the field no matter the cost and never sell it. (Matthew 13:44 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his JOY went and sold all he had and bought that field.)
  • with the fruit of her hand she planteth a vineyard... Really, it's her own vineyard. The plants are an orchard of pomegranates (Song of Solomon 1:6 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; buy mine own vineyard have I not kept.) By ministering the word, the plants flourish. Not planted by her, as it was not customary, but planted by her husband, Jesus. Happy are they who are the planting of the Lord! trees of righteousness, that he may be glorified (Isaiah 61:3)
Keil and Delitzsch:
  • Her industry secures her success in the extension of household wealth.
  • Possibly a field her family already possessed but was unworked because her husband worked in the city.
*Conclusions: The field is the kingdom of heaven, have you invested fully? Are you working for the Kingdom with your own hands? Are you connected to the vine?

Final Thoughts

If Proverbs is about wise choices, this verse takes the cake! By equating our choices to investing we begin to see the risk in decision making. But, when we've considered and bought into the Kingdom of God, choosing what to plant gets easier: we plant a vineyard. His vineyard. God is the gardener, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. When we stay connected to Him and nourish ourselves with the living water of His word, we bear much fruit!

Father, as I set about to work alongside you, help me remember it's not my efforts that produce good fruit, but Your grace. Keep me rooted in You and teach me to welcome Your pruning. 

Growing with You,

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