Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Proverbs 31 Challenge

I think we all know what Proverbs 31 is about. Or at least, the general concept. Many of us girls have probably even got it memorized.
But what does it actually mean? And how can we apply it to our every day lives? I mean, how does a "lamp not going out at night" and "holding a spindle" apply to our lives now, when we merely have to flip a lightswitch for light, and we just need to go to the mall for the clothes which women would have to spin, weave, and dye back when this proverb was written?
I've decided to take up a challenge to find out. Every day, I'll be dissecting the proverb, and taking a look at it, a few verses at a time, to try and understand what it meant back then, what it means now, and how it still applies to our lives today.
I have no idea how long this will take, I'll just keep going until I reach the end.

Also, an interesting thing that I found out when I read a foot note in my Bible last night is that it's an acrostic poem. This means that every verse begins with the next letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. I find this pretty neat, because it's hard enough for me to think of simple objects for every letter of the alphabet, let alone write a whole poem!
Another thing that I noticed is how beautiful the wording is. Solomon somehow managed to not only write a beautiful poem, but one whose every verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet, AND it's actually instructive and has meaning! Wow, crazy stuff.
Here's the proverb as a whole, for starters, so we can read it over and get a general, overall feel for it:

(10) An excellent 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 is 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 portions for her maidens.
(16) She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
(17) She dresses herself 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,
and her hands hold the spindle.
(20) She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
(21) She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
(22) She makes bed coverings for herself;
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 sashes 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 works praise her in the gates.

~ESV Bible Translation(Especially Spiritual Version. JK. ;) )

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