The Virtuous Woman:
A Good Wife and Mother
Date: May 7, 1997-A.M.
Speaker: Harvey Porter
Main Scripture Reference: Proverbs 31:10-31
Mother’s Day! How many other countries in the world can you think of that have “Mother’s Day?” Could be England—I’m not sure, but I can’t think of any others. I read in the newspaper this last week a short article about women in Afghanistan. It is a Muslim [Moslem] country. The article said the women did not go to school—no schooling whatsoever. It said that they own no property. It said that they gave birth to children, raised the children and worked in the fields. The article went on to say that this was true in many of the Muslim [Moslem] countries. The Muslim religion may be the second largest religion in the world now. Hindu may be the number one religion in the world, and it’s the same way. Women have that status in the Hindu religion. It’s true in China. There are a few exceptions, but not many.
Isn’t it interesting that we are a country where most of our people believe in the Bible? Our laws are built upon the precepts that we find in the Bible. The Ten Commandments form the basis of some of our laws, as we well know.
I was interested in looking at the Ten Commandments again. The first four deal with God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me…Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven images…Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain…,” and the fourth one is to observe the Sabbath Day, which was the day of the Lord in the Old Testament, [see Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5].
But commandment number five is “Honour thy father and thy mother: that it might be well with thee and that thou mightest live long upon the earth,” [Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16]. We have “Father’s Day.” And we do try to honor our parents. This is probably the first basic rule of a good society. It’s the very heart of the relationship of a family. Children need to grow up respecting father and mother! Where we do not find that, we find all kinds of chaos. We’re seeing it in our country today, where even young people are killing one another, where they’re on dope [drugs] and drunk at an early age. And it’s not all their fault, because in many places the home has broken down. The home is not good about doing what it ought to do. The father and mother have not assumed the roles that the Bible says that they should occupy.
Kim Merewether read to us a while ago from Proverbs, the 31st chapter, [verses 10 through 31]. That chapter is a puzzle to us, as Bible students, in many ways. The reason is that Solomon wrote all of Proverbs except maybe these last few chapters. We don’t know who Agur was [who apparently wrote Proverbs, chapter 30], and we certainly don’t know who King Lemuel was [who apparently wrote Proverbs, chapter 31]. One of the books that I read this past week said that probably Solomon wrote this these chapters and attributed gave the credit to another the writing to someone else. At any rate, they were always in the Old Testament and certainly they were in our Bible when our New Testament joined the Old Testament. And it’s good advice! But not only is it good advice, it’s a beautiful passage and a tribute to a MOTHER!
I don’t know of anything that’s ever been written that’s better than this! It not only gives you good factual information, but it’s said in a beautiful way so that it honors a mother. Think what we have here in our country compared to having been born in one of these other countries. Our country today is observing what we call “Mother’s Day.” We’re trying to honor them. I appreciate that. I’m always glad when our country does anything that can increase or aid our spirituality, or help us obey God!
I want to read that passage again. I’m reading it in a different translation from what Kim read. This is the Old Revised Standard Version of the Bible. We’ll start with verse 10:
[Proverbs 31:10-31 - Revised Standard Version of the Bible: ]
10 A good wife, who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not harm all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool, and flax, and works with willing hands.
14 She’s like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and tasks for her maidens.
16 She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds her loins with strength, and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable: her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff [a staff/stick/rod for holding the flax or wool in spinning], and her hands hold the spindle [a round stick with tapered ends used to form and twist the yarn in hand spinning].
20 She opens her hand to the poor; and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She’s not afraid of snow for her household: for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments, and sells them; she delivers girdles to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing; and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom; and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
29 Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
I don’t believe that there’s any finer tribute to a woman, and especially to a mother, than that! Solomon died, we think, in the year 931 Before Christ [BC]. You know, this passage we just read is a little bit older than three thousand years. You know, we have a few of the writings of the Greek philosophers—Plato, Aristotle, Euripides, some of those—and we treasure those writings. But they were written about 450 years Before Christ [BC]. You know, we have Shakespeare—about 430 years ago. What we’re looking at here was written over three thousand years ago!
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