After elaborating on many aspects of wisdom, Proverbs ends beautifully, describing a woman who is wise and has applied wisdom to every area of her life. She is described as ‘virtuous’ which at it’s most basic level is the idea of a pure woman in contrast with the adulterous woman who often mentioned in Proverbs.
But ‘virtuous’ is more than just chastity; it is to do with inner character and moral strength. It is translated in other places as: “might, strength, power, ability, valiant, valour, force, army, riches.” (See 1 Kings 1:52, Psalm 60:12, 1 Sam 10:26, Ezra 8:22). It is used in this way to talk about a soldier’s courage to go out to battle, a king’s army to win a war, a man’s strength, a rich man’s wealth.
So a virtuous woman is a woman who has a depth of inner character and wisdom that comes from fearing the Lord and listening to His wisdom. As we read in this chapter, such a wise woman is a blessing to her husband, her family, and to everyone around her. She is precious (v.10), trustworthy (v.11), kind (v.12), a willing worker (v.13), resourceful (v.14), an early riser (v.15) and wise with finances (v.16). She is strong (v.17), skilful (v.17,19), and able to plan ahead (v.16,18). She put the care of the poor and needy and her household before her own needs (v.20-22). She encourages her husband, helping to be successful (v.23).
As a result of her hard work, she will rejoice in the future (v.24-26). She is able to teach wisdom and kindness to others (v.26). She carefully takes care of her household and is not idle (v.27). As a result, her children will rise up and bless her and her husband will praise her (v.28). This woman excels all other women because she focuses not on that which is deceitful and vain (favour and beauty); she makes her main focus the Lord (v29). She builds her life on the most basic foundation of all wisdom – the fear of the Lord (v.30).
The woman described here is living out the teaching of Proverbs. She, and all other women and men who fear the Lord, will receive the fruit of wise living, and will be praised by their own works (v.30-31).
Proverbs 1:7 — “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: