You know Proverbs 31? That chapter of the Bible that depresses every woman you know? Jewish people have a much better way of thinking about this, and they probably understand it better than us anyway… Proverbs 31 is not a list that defines how a “biblical woman” behaves. It is a song of praise from a husband to a wife, praise and honor for all that she does. For real. Go to an orthodox Jewish household for dinner and listen to what the husband sings to his wife at the beginning of dinner. It is praise for the “woman of valor” to whom I am married, glorious in all the everyday things she does.
If I were the writer of Proverbs 31, it would go something like:
A woman of valor who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
She buys clothes for the kids,
they are always growing yet never naked.
She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar,
like that takeout Chinese we had.
She gets up while it is still night;
and makes sure the kids get to school eventually.
She buys everything at Goodwill,
but only on Half-Off Day.
Every Saturday she leaves us at home,
to make money as a massage therapist
so we can afford piano lessons for the kids
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Her children arise and call her “MOM!!!!!!”
her husband adores and praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.