"She considers a new field before she buys or accepts it -- expanding prudently [and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming others]. With her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard." Proverbs 31:16
In this verse we see the scope of her responsibility as it pertains to management of her household. She ventures into new areas of activity as necessary to continue to take care of her family's needs, but she does so prudently,
thinking it through (she "considers" a new field), so that her other duties will not suffer. This kind of godly wisdom comes from consistent study and prayer, for even though the Bible doesn't contain specific information on household managment, the
Word gives insight and develops our minds in ways that on the surface may seem totally unrelated to the task at hand. The Holy Spirit gives us the knowledge we need. James tells us in James 1:5 that God will give us wisdom liberally if we ask Him.
This wisdom is the Greek word sophia, which is translated "cleverness; skill." 1 (see Notes)
This isn't worldly wisdom (Greek, phronesis), but rather a deeper insight which comes directly from God. Wherever we lack wisdom on a specific issue in life, sophia wisdom, when prayed for, gives a true,
full picture of what is required. God has the answers to worldly matters for us -- practical matters -- in addition to spiritual things. We need only wait for His guidance after prayer, consulting the Word, and possibly seeking advice from an older
The Proverbs 31 woman uses discretion regarding ventures for which she is responsible in the care of her family. Note that, in this verse, her husband is not directly involved. She is capable of handling
matters without his intervention, including those which extend beyond her tending the household. It is interesting to note that since these were agrarian times, where her husband's work may have partially included a family farm, her activities expanded
into his area of work and thus serve as a specific example of her being his "help-meet," as God intended wives to be. No matter what her activities include, however, we clearly see a woman who does not add anything to her schedule that would take away
from her being able to keep up the foundation of her household on a daily basis. She possesses the wisdom, discernment, and sober-mindedness necessary to constantly weigh new projects and opportunities. This includes church or charitable work,
hobbies, or an outside job or duty. She is careful not to be deceived into thinking that her husband, home or children can take even a temporary "back seat" to any other cause or function, including a second income. She knows that, in the long
run, such will never best serve her spirit or her family. A wise woman expands her home and household prudently, beginning early in marriage, in order to keep her home and family as her main focus.
In Proverbs 31:16 the Amplified
Bible renders "the fruit of her hands" from the King James version as "her savings [of time and strength]." The "fruits" of right living and tending well to her daily responsibilities equate to leftover time and energy. It says that with these
"fruits" she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard; and even though we know she is versatile in her abilities, it seems that more than a literal translation is meant here. The Amplified Bible references Song of Solomon 8:12 at the end of this verse.
Song of Solomon is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ and His bride, His true Church on earth. Just as we grow and flourish as Christians as a connected branch of the vine, which is Jesus Christ, (John 15, God's vineyard), we as wives and our families
do best as a branch of our earthly vine in a sense, our husbands. Solomon's young bride, in speaking directly to him, says "... my vineyard which is mine [with all its radiant joy] is before me!" This vineyard is her husband, their marriage,
and the life they shall build and share together.
The "fruit of her hands" includes the planting of fruitful vines such as peace, love, harmony and joy, which the Proverbs 31 woman sows in her life and home, and thus reaps
its fruit of a good solid life with her husband and family. We can also expand here to include the reaping of children from her physical relationship with her husband, her vineyard. As the psalmist said, "Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by
the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants" (fruit of the vine) "round about thy table." (Psalm 128:3, King James version.)
Note how the Proverbs 31 woman, again, is the foundation of her husband's life and well-being,
and yet he and their marriage are her vineyard -- her "soil," her source -- from where she and ultimately her entire home gathers its life in the physical sense here on earth. As we learned in Genesis 1:27, God created them male and female, and husbands
and wives each have their earthly roles within a defined relationship to one another. Yet they give and take, to and from each other as a source, in order to function effectively and enjoy peace, fullness and well-being. They are equal partakers
of God's nature, and may glean sustenance and strength equally from each other. Husbands and wives who walk in God's counsel are ever supporting each other as God directs: where one is weak, the other is strong, and roles change as circumstances might
dictate. It's important to note, however, that the husband is the genesis of a couple's life together here on earth. He is primary, and will continue to give a good life to his family as he grows in the Lord; he will flourish as his wife cares
for him, helps him and loves him every day of their life together.