Proverbs 31: Week 33 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome to week thirty-three of our Proverbs 31 journey. 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 practiced being savvy with help from Proverbs 31:16 and 27.
  • In August, we witness exemplary behavior outlined in Proverbs 31:18 and 31:31.
If you're ready to travel with us, welcome! Grab your August 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 *.)

An ancient clay lamp comprises the background. The foreground quotes Proverbs 31:31
Proverbs 31:31


Contents:
Cross References of Proverbs 31:18
Worship with "Let there be Light"
Proverbs 31:31 Noting phrases and key words.
*Literal Meaning a face-value interpretation.
What is Weird? Researching to explore a question.
About Give from various sources.
*Connect Proverbs 31:31 to other verses in this poem.

Cross References

Of Proverbs 31:18 from Bible Hub.

Psalm 127:2 KJV: It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
  • *Immediate Interpretation: Why are you worrying yourself? Find rest in God who loves you.
  • *Immediate Connection to Proverbs 31:18: We are not made to labor endlessly; He does that for us. Trust Him.
  • Commentaries:
    • It is vain for you to stay up early, to sit up late "Early rising to pursue the business of the day is vain without the Divine blessing on the labor." (Ellicot); working hard to meet your own designs is vanity (Poole)
    • to eat the bread of sorrows, you'll fare poorly or be tired (Benson) anxiety or trouble  (Barnes
    • for so he giveth his beloved sleep: contradiction of man's restless ambition to bounty of flowers and birds mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount; "The net catches while the fisher sleeps." - Greek Proverb; "God bestows His gifts during the night." - German Proverb; sleep is the gift of God (Ellicot); freely gives quiet rest of body and mind (Benson); "God makes the mind of His people - His beloved - calm and tranquil while the world around is filled with busy anxiety and restlessness - busy, bustling, worried'; "It is only by the favor of God, and by their recognizing their dependence on him, that they find repose, success, and freedom from care." (Barnes) Ecclesiastes 5:20 CSB: for he does not often consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart.
    • *Connections to Proverbs 31:18: Our candle represents our undying trust in God. We don't need to rise up early or stay up late because we have confidence our merchandise is good; it's built on God. So, we sleep soundly fed on the bread of life instead of sorrows.
Matthew 25:3 KJV: They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
  • *Immediate Interpretation: Keep your light fueled by staying in The Word. Don't just say you're Christian, be a Christian. Don't just buy a Bible, study it, and live out what it says.
  • Commentaries: Lamps represent the outward life of holiness by which Christians let their light shine. (Matthew 5:16) Oil represents divine grade or the Holy Spirit. (Ellicot) Spirit of God = oil of gladness and the anointing that teacheth all things OR the regenerating and sanctifying grace of the Spirit being of an holy and sanctifying nature; oil for tabernacle candlestick was pure olive oil, beaten which represents grace from Christ, the true olive tree, from a bruised, crucified Christ. When Christ resides in our heart a light of good works is emitted. The trap comes in picking up the lamp of our professions but not concerning ourselves with the oil of grace. Neglected, denied, considered useless. Our own efforts lead to toil and no grace. Trust God and there will be abundant grade and peace in labor. (Gill)
  • *Connection to Proverbs 31:18: She fuels her labor with Christ and knows good works are produced; her righteousness will not falter. Fueled by never-ending grace, her profession (labor, effort) shines (last) eternally. ("If the Lord builds the house, nobody can tear it down." - Hope Darst)

Worship

With "Let there be Light" by Bryan and Katie Torwalt

To me, this is a song of surrender to God's power.
  • Surrender: "Come and have your way"; "Let there be light until it fills up every space"; "Come alive in us"; "Now You're everything we seek"
  • Power: "Speak and darkness has to bow"; "Confusion has its final hour"; "Mountains rise and fall"; "It tears down every wall"; "Silence every fear"; "Feel your spirit here"; "Just one word and I am changed"; "As deep cries out to deep we will see God"; "Here Your glory on display"
*Conclusions: When we let in God's inextinguishable light, confusions are cleared, obstacles are removed, darkness is lifted, fears dissipate - we know goodness.

Proverbs 31:31

Noting phrases and key words.
Give her / of the fruit / of her hands; / and let her own works / praise her / in the gates.

Key Words: give, fruit, hands, works, praise, gates. 


*Literal Meaning

A face-value interpretation.

Pay people what they deserve; praise them honestly based on what they have done.

What is Weird?

Researching to explore a question.
Would a woman in Ancient Israel be given compensation or be publicly praised?

 The Toxic War on Masculinity by Nancy R. Pearcy

  • Among the historical backdrop, the Christian view on marriage was revolutionary - both sexes were held to the same moral standard (p. 52)
    • CHRISTIAN VIEW: Both men and women were expected to stay faithful to their spouse. (p. 53)
    • PAGAN VIEW: The wife was only for bearing legal children and husbands were expected to also have mistresses, prostitutes, concubines, and slaves (male & female, adult & child) to satisfy them sexually. (p. 52)
  • They worked really hard. 
    • Making flour for daily bread that fed a family of six took 2-3 hours. 
    • All products started raw: from animals and plants. It required the entire family working together, much like the colonial American era. 
  • They likely controlled most household resources. 
    • Abigail brought resources to David's troops without consulting her husband (I Samuel 25
    • The Shunamite woman offers resources to Elisha without consulting her husband (2 Kings 4:8-37 and 8:1-6)
  • They most likely named the children.
  • They served as medical specialists, especially midwives.
  • They were integral to the survival of social, political, and religious institutions, even though women were excluded by them.
    • Politically, Queen mothers held extremely influential positions and several women are recognized as prophets.
    • Religiously, the bread women labored to produce served as sacrifices to Yahweh, without which their families would not be in right-standing with God.
    • Socially, women, working side-by-side to produce the flour, kept an eye on the needs of the community and worked together to help those in need.
    • Domestically, the household was the most important economic, social, and religious unit.
  • They orchestrated and performed in music festivals.
*Conclusions: A common misconception of Ancient Israel, and women of the Bible in general, is that they are undervalued and undermined. In reality, women were highly valued and publicly praised for the life-sustaining efforts their hands produced. While she may not receive her own wage, everyone knew her efforts significantly contributed to the economic prosperity, spiritual standing, and social connectivity of her household. Not devalued, just valued differently. Equal, but different.

About Give

From various sources.

Hebrew from Bible Hub
  • nathan: to give, put, set
Definition from Merriam Webster
  • to put into the possession of another for his or her use (*"Into thy hands I commit my spirit." Psalm 31:5 and Luke 23:46)
  • to designate as a share or portion (*Proverbs 31:15 "...and a portion to her maidens.")
  • Isaiah 42:8 KJV: I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
  • Isaiah 48:10-11 KJV: Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. (*In creation, selection, refinement, and redemption, we are the fruit of His hands.)
  • All glory, honor, and praise belong to Him alone.
    • Not to a false God.
    • Not to human skill, wisdom, or power.
  • It is immoral to take credit for someone else's work. For a human to take credit for God's work, is the height of hubris
    • King Herod, in Acts 12:21-23, was eaten by worms for not giving God the glory due to His name.
    • Moses, in Numbers 20:6-12, took partial credit for providing the Israelites with water from the rock - thereby not honoring God as holy - and was not allowed to enter the promised land. (Got Questions)
    • By putting ourselves higher than, or even at the same level as God, we are acting as Satan: Isaiah 14:12-15 
Scripture from Knowing Jesus
  • Genesis 2:7 VOICE: One day the Eternal God scooped dirt out of the ground, sculpted it into the shape we call human, breathed the breath that gives life into the nostrils of the human, and the human became a living soul.
  • Genesis 9:3 NIV: Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Jsut as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:6 AMP: For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give us the Light of the knowledge of the glory and majesty of God [clearly revealed] in the face of Christ.
  • I John 5:11 CEB: And this is the testimony: God gave eternal life to us, and this life is in his Son.
  • Psalm 116:12 CEB: What can I give back to the Lord for all the good things he has done for me?
*Conclusion: We are the fruit of his hands. He created us, selected us, is refining us, and will redeem us. Before we took a breath, His hands were working on us. We are His fruit. In response, we give our lives back to Him. We are His portion. All glory, honor, and praise are His and His alone.

*Connect

Proverbs 31:31 to other verses in this poem.

With "Give Her of the Fruit of Her Hands"

She knows that her always good and specialized yield of grace and truth earns complete trust and satisfaction.
  • "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her" v11
  • "She will do him good and not evil" v12
  • "She seeketh wool (*truth) and flax (*grace)" v13
  • "bringeth her food from afar" v14
  • "to provide food" v15
  • "with the fruit of her hands" v16
  • "She perceiveth that her merchandise is good" v18
  • "For all her household are clothed in scarlet (*redeemed)" v21
  • "fine linen (*grace)...girdles (*truth)" v24
  • "and she will rejoice in time to come." v25
  • "wisdom (*truth) ...kindness (*grace)" v26 
About "Let Her Own Works"

She chooses her work (and its recipients) carefully, prepares herself for it, and pursues it wholeheartedly, resourcefully, and diligently.
    • "and worketh willingly" v13
    • "bringeth her food from afar" v14
    • "riseth while it is yet night" v15
    • "considereth a field, and buyeth it" v16
    • "She girdeth (*truth) her loins with strength (*grace), and strengtheneth (*grace) her arms" v17
    • "Her candle goeth not out by night." v18
    • "She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaffv19
    • "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." v20
    • "She maketh herself coverings of tapestry;" v22
    • "She maketh ... and selleth...and delivereth" v24
    • "Strength (*grace) and honor (*truth) are her clothing (*redemption) " v25
    • "openeth her mouth...instructing" v26
    • "She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness" v27
    • "Many daughters have done virtuously..." v29
    • "...but a woman that fears the Lord..." v30
About "Praise Her in the Gates"
  • Everyone - near or far; rich or poor - has found this virtuous woman who is worthy of the praise she is adorned in at the gates where her husband is known.
    • "A virtuous woman who can find?" v10
    • "bringeth her food from afar" v14
    • "for (all) her household" v15, 21, & 27
    • "she planteth a vineyard" v16
    • "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." v20
    • "her clothing is silk and purple." v22
    • "her husband is known in the gates." v23
    • "unto the merchant" v24
    • "Strength (*grace) and honor (*truth) are her clothing; and she shall rejoice (*JOY) in time to come." v25
    • "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." v28
    • "...thou excellest them all." v29
    • "...she shall be praised." v30

Final Thoughts

It is our right and reasonable service to lay down our lives in praise and worship to You, God, and only to You. Lead our tongues to speak of Your glory, our hearts to overflow with your grace, and our minds to fix firmly on Your truth. We humble ourselves as we consider all You have done, are doing, and will do. We long for the day we will finally get meet You in the gates.


Growing with You,

Ready for Week 34?

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