Who shall find a valiant woman? Far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands. She is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar. And she hath risen in the night, and given prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens. She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hand she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night. She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen and purple is her covering. Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land. She made fine linen and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite. Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.
Verse 10. Who. The following verses are in alphabetical order. They contain a grand eulogy of Bethsabee, who repented, or of a perfect matron. C. — Such are rare, though they may be found. W. — Valiant; industrious. — Price. Formerly people bought their wives. C. — Is. Heb. “is far above riches (Prot. H.) or pearls.” Lam. iv. 7.
Verse 11. Spoils, taken in war. His wife will supply all necessaries. v. 21.
Verse 13. Hands, with skill and industry, (C.) or “willingness.” Heb. M. — Ladies of the highest quality formerly employed themselves in this manner, like Penelope. Alexander, Augustus, and Charlemagne wore garments, which their sisters or wives had wrought. Curt. 5. Suet. 64. Eginhard.
Verse 14. Bread; all that is used for meat and drink. Sept. “riches.” Grabe, “livelihood:” Bion. H.
Verse 15. Night, or early in the morning, as soon as the night was over; de nocte. Heb. “while it is yet night.” H. — Extreme vigilance is required of those who direct others. “The master must be first up, and last in bed.” Cato v.
Verse 16. Considered. This conduct is suggested by prudence. C. — Cato (Rust. 2.) says, “Do not go only once round the field,” &c.
Verse 17. Arm; working, and making others obey.
Verse 18. Night, during a great part of which she will work.
Verse 19. Strong things, “becoming” (Sept.) her station. C. — Spindle. She purposes and begins well, trusting in God for perfection and a reward. W.
Verse 21. Domestics. Heb. “house is clothed in purple,” which may be understood of the domestics, though it seems more probably to refer to her husband and children.
Verse 22. Tapestry, for the beds and floor. — Linens, or cotton; byssus. Ex. xxv. 4.
Verse 23. Gates. Chal. “provinces.” The rich were chosen for judges. C.
Verse 24. The Chanaanite, the merchant; for Chanaanite, in Hebrew, signifies a merchant. Ch. — The Phœnicians travelled into all countries. Traffic was not then deemed a discredit, even to kings. — Girdles were worn both by men and women, and were very costly, insomuch that (C.) the kings of Persia assigned cities to furnish their wives with them. Athen. i. in Antylla. — They who practise and teach the law may be said to buy and sell. W.
Verse 25. Clothing: it is very beautiful, or wisdom and virtue surround her. — Day. She fears not death, (C.) or future distress of hunger, &c. Jans.
Verse 26. Tongue. She is ever bent on doing good. H. — Very different from many of her sex, who are taken up with vanity and complaints. C.
Verse 27. Idle, out of a sense of duty, and not though avarice.
Verse 28. Her. They were best able to judge of her merit.
Verse 30. Lord. Hitherto natural qualifications appear: but to these the Christian matron must add sincere piety: and thus Solomon completes the character of his mother, (C.) who had given him such excellent instructions, or of any accomplished woman. Outward beauty soon (H.) decays; but the fear of God is more deserving of praise. W.
Verse 31. Gates, before all the judges (H.) and people. M. — Good works shall be rewarded at God’s tribunal, (W.) when the vain worldly beauty shall be covered with confusion. H. — This idea of a perfect woman is best verified in the Catholic Church, (S. Aug. Ven. Bede) though the blessed Virgin, &c. may also be designated. W. — The use of the alphabet herein denotes, that we must begin with a moral good life, if we would penetrate the greater mysteries of the Scriptures. S. Jerom. Lam.