Proverbs 31:15
She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) And giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.—Gives out food for her household, and the allotted portion of provisions (comp. Proverbs 30:8) or work (comp. Exodus 5:14) to her maidens.

Proverbs 31:15. She riseth while it is yet night — “She doth not indulge herself in too much sleep, but is an early riser, before the break of day, to make provision for those who are to go abroad to work in the fields, and to set her maidens their several tasks at home. The reader will observe that the ideas here refer to those modest and ancient times when female occupations were far different: even of the highest rank, from such as are usual in modern times.” — Dodd.31:10-31 This is the description of a virtuous woman of those days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and nation. She is very careful to recommend herself to her husband's esteem and affection, to know his mind, and is willing that he rule over her. 1. She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good. 2. She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's business. She does what she does, with all her power, and trifles not. 3. She makes what she does turn to good account by prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for her house. She lays up for hereafter. 4. She looks well to the ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her. 5. She is intent upon giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. 6. She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world. 7. Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever. 8. She has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she was not idle or useless when young. She shall rejoice in a world to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. If the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. But she leaves it to her own works to praise her. Every one ought to desire this honour that cometh from God; and according to this standard we all ought to regulate our judgments. This description let all women daily study, who desire to be truly beloved and respected, useful and honourable. This passage is to be applied to individuals, but may it not also be applied to the church of God, which is described as a virtuous spouse? God by his grace has formed from among sinful men a church of true believers, to possess all the excellences here described.A portion to her maidens - The daily task assigned to each at the same time as the daily food. Compare Proverbs 30:8; Exodus 5:14. 15. She diligently attends to expending as well as gathering wealth; While it is yet night; early in the morning, to redeem thee.

Giveth meat; distributeth all her necessary provisions.

A portion; either,

1. Of work, which she allots to them. Or rather,

2. Of provisions for them; for so this word is used, Genesis 47:22 Leviticus 10:13,14 Pr 30:8, and no where, to my remembrance, of an allotment of work. And so this clause agrees best with the former, expressing the same thing in other words, according to the manner. She riseth also while it is yet night,.... That is, before the ascent of the morning, as Aben Ezra explains it, before break of day; a great while before day, as Christ is said to rise to pray, Mark 1:35; while it was yet dark; so the church here: which shows her affection for her family, her care of her children, and fervent zeal for her husband's interest and good; a different frame of spirit this from that of hers in Sol 5:2;

and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens; in allusion to a daily stated allowance (q) of food given to such; and spiritually may be meant, by her "household" or family, the same with the family of Christ, that is named of himself, which consists of various persons, fathers, young men, and children; and by her "maidens" the ministers of the word; see Proverbs 9:3; who are stewards in the family, and have the food for it put into their hands to dispense; it is by these the church gives meat to her household feeds them with knowledge and understanding, with the wholesome words of Christ, with the good doctrines of the Gospel; these have a certain portion given them, and they rightly cut and divide the word of truth, and give to everyone their portion of meat in due season, according to their age and circumstances; milk indeed to babes and meat to strong men; see Luke 12:42. The Targum renders the word for "portion by service": understanding not a portion of food, but of work, a task set them, and so the word is used in Exodus 5:14. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "works", which may be very well applied to the work and service of the Gospel ministry, and the several parts of it.

(q) "Gauldetque diurnos, ut famulae, praebere cibos", Claudian. de Bello Gild. v. 71, 72.

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth food to her household, and a {i} portion to her maidens.

(i) She prepares their food early.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. a portion] So R.V. margin. But R.V. text, their task, the pensum, or amount of wool weighed out to each maiden for her day’s task. Comp.

“Noctem addens operi, famulasque ad lumina longo

Exercet penso.”

Virg. Æn. VIII. 411, 412.

Dean Plumptre (Speak. Comm.) compares the picture of Lucretia, Liv. i. 57: “nocte sera, deditam lanæ, inter lucubrantes ancillas in medio ædium sedentem invenerunt”Verse 15. - VAV. She riseth also while it is yet night. Before dawn she is up and stirring, to be ready for her daily occupation. A lamp is always kept burning at night in Eastern houses, and as it is of very small dimensions, the careful housewife has to rise at midnight to replenish the oil, and she often then begins her household work by grinding the corn or preparing something for next day's meals (comp. ver. 18). Early rising before any great undertaking is continually mentioned in Scripture (see Genesis 19:2; Genesis 22:3; Psalm 57:8; Jeremiah 7:13; Jeremiah 25:4, etc.; Mark 16:2; John 20:1). And giveth meat to her household; deditquae praedam domesticis suis, Vulgate. The word for "meat" is tereph, which means "food torn in pieces" with the teeth (Psalm 111:5), and hence food to be eaten. The wife thus early prepares or distributes the food which will be wanted for the day. And a portion to her maidens. Chok, "final portion," may apply either to work or food. The Vulgate has cibaria, "meat;" Septuagint, ἔργα, "tasks." The former, which is in accordance with Proverbs 30:8, would be merely a repetition of the second clause, the meat mentioned there being here called the allotted portion, and would be simply tautological. If we take it in the sense of "appointed labour," we get a new idea, very congruous with the housewife's activity (comp. Exodus 5:14, where the same word is used in the case of the enforced labour of the Israelites). 8 Open thy mouth for the dumb,

   For the right of all the children of leaving;

9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously,

   And do right to the poor and needy.

He is called dumb who suffers the infirmity of dumbness, as עוּר and פּסּח, Job 29:15, is he who suffers the infirmity of blindness or lameness, not here figuratively; at the same time, he who, on account of his youth, or on account of his ignorance, or from fear, cannot speak before the tribunal for himself (Fleischer). With ל the dat. commodi (lxx after Lagarde, μογιλάλῳ; Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, ἀλάλῳ; the Venet. after Gebhardt, βωβῷ) אל, of the object aimed at, interchanges, as e.g., 1 Kings 19:3; 2 Kings 7:7, אל־נפשׁם, for the preservation of their life, or for the sake of their life, for it is seldom that it introduces the object so purely as here. And that an infin. such as חלוף should stand as a subst. occurs proportionally seldomer in Heb. (Isaiah 4:4; Psalm 22:7; cf. with ה of the artic., Numbers 4:12; Psalm 66:9) than it does in Arab. בּני חלוף in the same way as בּני־עני, 5b, belongs to the Arab. complexion of this proverb, but without its being necessary to refer to the Arab. in order to fix the meaning of these two words. Hitzig explains after khalf, to come after, which further means "to have the disadvantage," in which Zckler follows him; but this verb in Arab. does not mean ὑστερεῖν (ὑστερεῖσθαι), we must explain "sons of him that remains behind," i.e., such as come not forward, but remain behind ('an) others. Mhlau goes further, and explains, with Schultens and Vaihinger: those destitute of defence, after (Arab.) khalafahu he is ranked next to him, and has become his representative - a use of the word foreign to the Heb. Still less is the rendering of Gesenius justified, "children of inheritance" equals children left behind, after khallafa, to leave behind; and Luther, "for the cause of all who are left behind," by the phrase (Arab.) khallfany'an 'awnih, he has placed me behind his help, denied it to me, for the Kal of the verb cannot mean to abandon, to leave. And that בני חלוף means the opposers of the truth, or of the poor, or the litigious person, the quarrelsome, is perfectly inadmissible, since the Kal חלוף cannot be equivalent to (Arab.) khilaf, the inf. of the 3rd conj., and besides, the gen. after דּין always denotes those in whose favour, not those against whom it is passed; the latter is also valid against Ralbag's "sons of change," i.e., who say things different from what they think; and Ahron b. Josef's "sons of changing," viz., the truth into lies. We must abide by the meaning of the Heb. חלף, "to follow after, to change places, pass away." Accordingly, Fleischer understands by חלוף, the going away, the dying, viz., of parents, and translates: eorum qui parentibus orbati sunt. In another way Rashi reaches the same sense: orphans deprived of their helper. But the connection בני חלף requires that we make those who are intended themselves the subject of חלוף. Rightly Ewald, Bertheau, Kamphausen, compare Isaiah 2:18 (and Psalm 90:5., this with questionable right), and understand by the sons of disappearance those whose inherited lot, whose proper fate, is to disappear, to die, to perish (Symmachus: πάντων υἱῶν ἀποιχομένων; Jerome: omnium filiorum qui pertranseunt). It is not men in general as children of frailty that are meant (Kimchi, Meri, Immanuel, Euchel, and others), after which the Venet. τῶν υἱῶν τοῦ μεταβάλλειν (i.e., those who must exchange this life for another), but such as are on the brink of the abyss. צדק in שׁפט־צדק is not equivalent to בּצדק, but is the accus. of the object, as at Zechariah 8:16, decide justice, i.e., so that justice is the result of thy judicial act; cf. Knobel on Deuteronomy 1:16. ודּין is imper., do right to the miserable and the poor; cf. Psalm 54:3 with Jeremiah 22:16; Jeremiah 5:28. That is a king of a right sort, who directs his high function as a judge, so as to be an advocate [procurator] for the helpless of his people.

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