Capability, intelligence and virtue: these are the foundation stones of her nature, upon which all of her other qualities are built; or, more precisely, the very source, the well-spring, of her other qualities. The footnote for this verse in the Amplified Bible tells us that it was her spiritual life and relationship with God that made her value "far above rubies." 1 (see Notes) Her value is greater than material wealth, for she brings a good life to her household -- abundance in health, happiness and earthly comfort -- all as a result of her godly wisdom.
Proverbs 1:7 tells us that "the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge -- that is, it's starting point and its essence ..." Proverbs 24:3,4 says, "through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house [a life, a home, a family] built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation]. And by knowledge shall the chambers [of its every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Proverbs 4:7 commands us to "get Wisdom ... For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing."
The Proverbs 31 woman, most likely, would have received her wisdom and instruction from a number of sources: her mother, other older women living in their household or community, and through daily prayer and reverent observance of worship in Hebrew society. She would have heard the law and the prophets -- the Old Testament -- taught by the rabbis every Sabbath. Women were not excluded from temple worship.
Our wisdom comes from the same source: our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whom Paul called "'the Wisdom of God ... in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' (1 Cor. 1:24; Col 2:3)." 2 (see Notes) John 1:1 tells us, "In the beginning (before all time) was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself." The Amplified Bible notes Revelation 19:13,16 here, in reference to Christ, which states "His name is called The Word of God ... and Lord of Lords." He is the cornerstone for eternal life and for living a victorious life here on earth. In Jesus Christ is everything we will ever need. He has the answers to all our questions, our problems, our prayers. As we study and learn, God imparts spiritual knowledge and insight to us, and we grow in wisdom and understanding. His Word is so deep and full, it envelops us, and He promises to continually increase our knowledge, for Jesus said in Matthew 25:29 that to him who has, more will be given. We should daily, continually, act on the knowledge God Gives us, strive to keep His commandments through prayer and His grace, and continue to study and grow in our sanctification.
In the King James version, Proverbs 31:10 is simply stated as, "Who can find a virtuous woman?" implying, what kind of man would be able enough, fortunate enough, blessed enough, to find such a woman? For they are few and far between. The Hebrew word used here for "virtuous" is chayil, which means power, and refers to one who is "strong in all moral and mental qualities." 3 (see Notes) Interestingly, in Luke 6:19 and again in Mark 5:30, where Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood, the Greek word dunamis which refers to the healing power that went forth from Him is rendered "virtue." In 2 Peter 1:5 where we find the building blocks of Christian character, virtue is the very foundation of a full knowledge of Jesus Christ and essential in the exercise of faith. Strong moral fiber can bring forth great things!
Ruth is the only woman to called virtuous in the Old Testament (by Boaz, in Ruth 3:11). The Amplified Bible, in a footnote to Proverbs 31, calls Ruth "the woman of constancy." 4 (see Notes) Such steadfastness, which we can also refer to as biblical patience, is an essential quality for all Christians to develop, and of vital importance for women. We as wives and mothers set the tone for our households and thus affect the lives of all of its members, especially our husbands and children. When we strive to diligently develop our inner selves as unto the Lord, this blueprint is what will naturally come forth in any crisis. Undergirded with wisdom and faith in God, our family will be able to look to us for strength during difficult times. Our children are learning from us every moment, watching our behavior and our methods of dealing with things in life. It's a huge responsibility, and most important to their Christian development, that they see our Christian qualities ever-present. They will learn to deal with life's storms not with anger and fear, but rather through prayer and faith in the power of God.
The Amplified Bible gives three other verses which relate to Proverbs 31:10 and expound upon a wife's character and importance to her husband's life and well-being. The first is Proverbs 12:4:
"A virtuous and worthy wife -- earnest and strong in character -- is a crowning joy to her husband, but she who makes ashamed is a rottenness in his bones."
It is her virtue that supports her husband's life, and helps in his being "known in the city's gates" (Proverbs 31:23). A woman is the expression of her husband's glory, as the Church is to Christ (see 1 Corinthians 11:7). In its most basic sense, a woman says a lot about her husband and his household simply in her manner, appearance and demeanor.
Proverbs 12:4 goes on to say that a wife "who makes ashamed is as rottenness in his bones." This is so significant, for rottenness in a man's bones would mean death to his physical self from the inside outward; from the very core of his being. A man and his wife are one unit in the flesh, one unit of mankind, which we learned in Genesis 2:24 and, as such, a wife's actions affect her husband just as they do herself. We as wives are most important to the health of our husband's lives in every way.
The second verse referenced for study is Proverbs 18:22:
"He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the Lord."
The footnote in Dake's on this verse explains that when a man marries and thus continues in God's "original creative purpose" for men and women "to multiply and replenish the earth," he receives God's favor. 5 (see Notes) Marriage is not a prerequisite for blessing, as those who choose not to marry certainly may and do receive God's favor as well. The premise here is simply that God wants His people to be productive and purposeful in their lives here on earth, within the parameters that He has defined. God wants the stability of marriage in which to raise a family, and thus fulfill His original purpose in replenishing the earth; this in addition to a man's work or vocation. All of us, as God's people, are called to be disciples in our everyday lives and in our relationships with others, in our giving, and in our sharing of the Gospel. God does not want any of His children to live lives simply dedicated to vain pursuits.
Note that the Amplified expounds on the word "wife" in Proverbs 18:22, by adding a "true" wife. A wife who is true in her devotion to her husband seems to preclude, at least in that one way, his receiving God's favor. If we remember that God sees a married couple as one flesh, this becomes so important -- for it implies clearly that a wife who is not "true" will be a hindrance, or impediment, to even a Godly man receiving God's full blessings. All men are admonished to live after God's precepts, but one who is not unequally yoked with an ungodly wife will see God's grace more easily flow in his and his family's life. Turning the tables to a man who is not godly in his ways, if he has a wife who is devoted to him and deals with him as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:1-6, he will receive favor in his life as God bestows it on account of his wife's dedication. God honors men and women who join together faithfully in marriage; God Himself stated in Genesis 2:18 that it was not good for man to be alone, and gave Adam a woman with whom to share his life.
The third reference verse for Proverbs 31:10 is Proverbs 19:14, which states:
"House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord." King James version.
The word "prudent" stems from the Latin word providere, which means to foresee. Such a wife is cautious in predetermining any of her actions or conduct: she is mindful of the consequences of her actions, associations and any enterprise she undertakes; and she is proper and economical in her manner of living. The fact that Solomon said such a wife is from the Lord, in comparison to a house and riches being inherited from fathers -- that is, she is a gift from God as opposed to one from men -- tells us how much more precious a prudent wife is than earthly possessions. In reading between the lines we can see also that a prudent wife will look well after a man's inheritance, as well as any and all of his income, and not squander it in any way. Such a woman is wise and understanding, and conducts her life as such.