Proverbs 12:4

4 1An excellent wife is 2the crown of her husband, but she who 3brings shame is like 4rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 12:4 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 12:4

A virtuous woman [is] a crown to her husband
One that is loving and chaste, constant and faithful, obsequious and submissive to him; that is diligent in the affairs of her house, takes care of her family, brings up her children, and keeps up a good order and decorum among her servants, is an honour and credit to her husband. Such is the true church of Christ, who is compared to a woman, ( Revelation 12:1 ) ; to a woman of purity and chastity, whose members are virgins, not defiled with the corruptions, errors, and superstition of the apostate church; to a woman of fortitude and courage, as the word F13 signifies, who resists sin, temptation, error, heresy, and idolatry, even unto blood; and whose true members love not their lives unto death, but freely lay them down in the cause of truth; such an one is an honour to Christ her husband; but she that maketh ashamed;
makes her husband ashamed, by her levity and wantonness, her negligence and slothfulness, so that he is ashamed to be seen with her, or to be known that he stands in such a relation to her; she [is] as rottenness in his bones;
a constant grief to his mind, a pressure upon his spirits, a wasting of his body, and a consumption of his estate; she is, as the Targum has it, "as a worm in wood", which rots and consumes it F14; so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions. Thus the apostate church of Rome, that professes to be the spouse of Christ, has made him ashamed of her; as being the Jezebel, that seduces his servants to fornication or idolatry; and whose doctrine and superstition eat, like a canker, the vitals of religion.


F13 (lyx tva) "mulier virtutis", Montanus, Vatablus; "uxor strenua", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "mulier fortis", Pagninus, Gejerus.
F14 Such as are called Cossi, Tabani, Teredines, Thrypes; Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 1. c. 33. & l. 16. c. 41.

Proverbs 12:4 In-Context

2 A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of evil devices he condemns.
3 No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
5 The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them.

Cross References 4

  • 1. See Proverbs 31:10
  • 2. Song of Songs 3:11
  • 3. Proverbs 10:5
  • 4. Proverbs 14:30
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.