Proverbs 31:10

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

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Proverbs 31:10 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 31:10

Who can find a virtuous woman
This part of the chapter is disjoined from the rest in the Septuagint and Arabic versions; and Huetius F20 thinks it is a composition of some other person, and not Lemuel's mother, whose words he supposes end at ( Proverbs 31:9 ) ; but it is generally thought that what follows to the end of the chapter is a continuance of her words, in which she describes a person as a fit wife for her son. Some think that Bathsheba gave the materials, the sum and substance of this beautiful description, to Solomon; who put it in the artificial form it is, each verse beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order till the whole is gone through; though rather it seems to be a composition of Solomon's, describing the character and virtues of his mother Bathsheba. But, be this as it will, the description is drawn up to such a pitch, and wrote in such strong lines, as cannot agree with any of the daughters of fallen Adam, literally understood; not with Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon; nor with the Virgin Mary, as the Papists, who, they fancy, was immaculate and sinless, of which there is no proof; nor indeed with any other; for though some parts of the description may meet in some, and others in others, yet not all in one; wherefore the mystical and spiritual sense of the whole must be sought after. Some by the "virtuous woman" understand the sensitive soul, subject to the understanding and reason, as Gersom; others the Scriptures, as Lyra, which lead to virtue, contain much riches in them, far above rubies; in which men may safely confide as the rule of their faith and practice; and will do them good, and not evil, continually. Others, "Wisdom", who in the beginning of this book is represented as a woman making provision for her household, and said to be more precious than rubies; and is to be understood of Christ; which I should have readily given into, but that this virtuous woman is said to have a husband, ( Proverbs 31:11 Proverbs 31:23 Proverbs 31:28 ) ; which cannot agree with Christ, who is himself the husband of his church and people, which church of his, I think, is here meant; nor is this a novel sense of the passage, but what is given by many of the ancient Christian writers, as Ambrose, Bede, and others; and whoever compares ( Proverbs 31:28 Proverbs 31:29 ) , with ( Song of Solomon 6:8 Song of Solomon 6:9 ) , will easily see the agreement; and will be led to observe that Solomon wrote both, and had a view to one and the same person, the church of Christ, who is often represented by a "woman", ( Isaiah 54:1 Isaiah 54:5 Isaiah 54:6 ) ( Galatians 3:26 ) ( Revelation 12:1 ) ; a woman grown and marriageable, as the Gospel church may be truly said to be, in comparison of the Jewish church, which was the church in infancy; a woman actually married to Christ; a woman fruitful, bringing forth many children to him; a woman beautiful, especially in his eyes, with whom she is the fairest among women; a woman, the weaker vessel, unable to do anything without him, yet everything through him: a "virtuous" one, inviolably chaste in her love and affection to Christ, her husband; steadfast in her adherence, to him by faith, as her Lord and Saviour; incorrupt in doctrine, sincere and spiritual in worship, retaining the purity of discipline, and holiness of life; and holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience: or a "woman of strength" F21, valour, and courage, as the word signifies, when used of men, ( 1 Samuel 16:18 ) ( Psalms 76:6 ) ; The church is militant, has many enemies, and these powerful and mighty, as well as cunning and crafty; yet, with all their power and policy, cannot overcome her; the gates of hell cannot prevail against her; she engages with them all, and is more than a conqueror over them; she is of great spiritual strength, which she, has from Christ, to fight the Lord's battles, to withstand every enemy, to exercise grace, and do every good work; and all her true members persevere to the end: or a "woman of riches" F23; that gets wealth and, riches by her wisdom and prudence, so Aben Ezra; a woman of fortune, as is commonly said: such is the church of Christ, through his unsearchable riches communicated to her; riches of grace she now possesses, and riches of glory she is entitled to. But "who can find" such an one? there is but one to be found F24; though there are many particular churches, there is but one church of the firstborn, consisting of God's elect, of which Christ is the head and husband, ( Song of Solomon 6:9 ) ; and there is but one that could find her: even her surety, Saviour, and Redeemer; compare with this ( Revelation 5:3-5 ) . This supposes her lost, as she was in Adam; Christ's seeking of her, as he did in redemption, and does in effectual calling; and who perfectly knows her, and all her members, and where they are; and whom he finds out, and bestows on them the blessings of grace and goodness; for her price [is] far above rubies;
showing the value Christ her husband puts upon her, the esteem she is had in by him; who reckons her as his portion and inheritance; as preferable to the purest gold, and choicest silver; as his peculiar treasure; as his jewels, and more valuable than the most precious stones: this appears by his undertaking for her; by doing and suffering what he has on her account; the price he has paid for her is far above rubies; she is bought with a price, but not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ; the ransom price paid for her is himself, who is more precious than rubies, and all the things that can be desired, ( 1 Peter 1:18 1 Peter 1:19 ) ( 1 Timothy 2:6 ) ( Proverbs 3:15 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F20 Demonstrat. Evangel. Prop. 4. p. 234.
F21 (lyx tva) "mulierem fortem", V. L. Pagninus, Mercerus; "mulierem virtutis", Montanus, Vatablus; "strenuam", Junius & Tremellus, Piscator, Cocceius, Schultens.
F23 "Mulierem opum", so Aben Ezra.
F24 "Conjux dea contigit uni", Ovid. Metamorph. l. 11. fol. 6. v. ult.

Proverbs 31:10 In-Context

8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.