|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 20. - CAPH. She is not impelled by selfish greed to improve her means and enlarge her revenues. She is sympathizing and charitable, and loves to extend to others the blessings which have rewarded her efforts. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor. "Hand" is here caph, "the palm," evidently containing alms. She knows the maxim (Proverbs 19:17), "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord," etc.; and she has no fear of poverty. Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. "Hand," is here yod, with its nerves and sinews ready for exertion (see on Proverbs 10:4); and the idea is that she puts forth her hand to raise and soothe the poor man, not being satisfied with dealing alms to him, but exercising the gentle ministries of a tender love. Septuagint, "She opens her hands to the needy, and reaches forth her wrist (καρπὸν) to the poor." Like Dorcas, she is full of good works and alms deeds (Acts 9:36). It is doubtless implied that the prosperity which she experiences is the reward of this benevolence (Proverbs 22:9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor,.... Her liberality is very extensive, reaches to many, and at a distance; it is done with great cheerfulness and readiness; to do good and communicate, she forgets not, it being acceptable to her Lord and husband, Hebrews 13:16;
yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy; she gives with both hands, liberally and largely. It may be applied to the church, giving spiritual food by her ministers to those who are poor in spirit, spiritually poor and needy, and who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Industry enables her to be charitable.
Proverbs 31:20 Parallel Commentaries
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