Proverbs 12:4
A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
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(4) A virtuous woman.—Literally, of power, i.e., of ability and character, like the wife described in Proverbs 31, or the “able” men of Exodus 18:21.

Proverbs 12:4. A virtuous woman — אשׁת חיל, a woman of strength, or vigour, (namely, of minds) of diligence, or economy. Thus אישׁ חיל, is rendered, Ruth 1:2. A man of valour. “Solomon seems to intend by this appellation, a woman who has all the perfections of her sex; wisdom, modesty, prudence, virtue, and, above all, economy and good management; and by her who maketh ashamed, he means the contrary; and particularly a woman who dissipates her husband’s substance in expensive follies; in the same manner as he called a libertine a prodigal son, a son that causeth shame,” chap. 10:5: see Calmet.

12:1 Those who have grace, will delight in the instructions given them. Those that stifle their convictions, are like brutes. 2. The man who covers selfish and vicious designs under a profession of religion or friendship, will be condemned. 3. Though men may advance themselves by sinful arts, they cannot settle and secure themselves. But those who by faith are rooted in Christ, are firmly fixed. 4. A wife who is pious, prudent, and looks well to the ways of her household, who makes conscience of her duty, and can bear crosses; such a one is an honour and comfort to her husband. She that is the reverse of this, preys upon him, and consumes him. 5. Thoughts are not free; they are under the Divine knowledge, therefore under the Divine command. It is a man's shame to act with deceit, with trick and design. 6. Wicked people speak mischief to their neighbours. A man may sometimes do a good work with one good word. 7. God's blessing is often continued to the families of godly men, while the wicked are overthrown. 8. The apostles showed wisdom by glorying in shame for the name of Christ. 9. He that lives in a humble state, who has no one to wait upon him, but gets bread by his own labour, is happier than he that glories in high birth or gay attire, and wants necessaries.Virtuous - The word implies the virtue of earnestness, or strength of character, rather than of simple chastity.

A crown - With the Jews the sign, not of kingly power only, but also of joy and gladness. Compare Sol 3:11.

4. A virtuous woman—in the wide sense of well-disposed to all moral duties (Pr 31:10).

maketh ashamed—that is, by misconduct.

rottenness—an incurable evil.

A crown; a singular ornament and matter of his glorying and joy.

That maketh ashamed; that by her folly or wickedness bringeth shame to herself and to her husband. As rottenness in his bones; loathsome, and vexatious, and pernicious.

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband,.... One that is loving and chaste, constant and faithful, obsequious and submissive to him; that is diligent in the affairs of her house, takes care of her family, brings up her children, and keeps up a good order and decorum among her servants, is an honour and credit to her husband. Such is the true church of Christ, who is compared to a woman, Revelation 12:1; to a woman of purity and chastity, whose members are virgins, not defiled with the corruptions, errors, and superstition of the apostate church; to a woman of fortitude and courage, as the word (m) signifies, who resists sin, temptation, error, heresy, and idolatry, even unto blood; and whose true members love not their lives unto death, but freely lay them down in the cause of truth; such an one is an honour to Christ her husband;

but she that maketh ashamed; makes her husband ashamed, by her levity and wantonness, her negligence and slothfulness, so that he is ashamed to be seen with her, or to be known that he stands in such a relation to her; she

is as rottenness in his bones; a constant grief to his mind, a pressure upon his spirits, a wasting of his body, and a consumption of his estate; she is, as the Targum has it, "as a worm in wood", which rots and consumes it (n); so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions. Thus the apostate church of Rome, that professes to be the spouse of Christ, has made him ashamed of her; as being the Jezebel, that seduces his servants to fornication or idolatry; and whose doctrine and superstition eat, like a canker, the vitals of religion.

(m) "mulier virtutis", Montanus, Vatablus; "uxor strenua", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius; "mulier fortis", Pagninus, Gejerus. (n) Such as are called Cossi, Tabani, Teredines, Thrypes; Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 1. c. 33. & l. 16. c. 41.

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
4. A virtuous woman] Comp. Ruth 3:11, and for a full description of the character intended, ch. Proverbs 31:10-31.

Verse 4. - A virtuous woman; one whose portrait is beautifully traced in ch. 31. The term is applied to Ruth (Ruth 3:11). The Vulgate renders, diligens; Septuagint, ἀνδρεία. The expression means one of power either in mind or body, or both. The same idea is contained in ἀρετὴ and virtus. Such a woman is not simply loving and modest and loyal, but is a crown to her husband; is an honour to him, adorns and beautifies his life, making, as it were, a joyous festival. So St. Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:19) calls his converts "a crown of glorying." The allusion is to the crown worn by the bridegroom at his marriage, or to the garlands worn at feasts (comp. Song of Solomon 3:11; Isaiah 61:10; Wisd. 2:8). The Son of Sirach has much praise for the virtuous woman: "Blessed is the man that hath a good (ἀγαθῆς) wife, for the number of his days shall be double. A virtuous (ἀνδρεία) woman rejoiceth her husband, and he shall fulfil the years of his life in peace" (Ecclus. 26:1, 2). She that maketh ashamed; "that doeth shamefully" (Proverbs 10:5; Proverbs 19:26); one who is a terrible contrast to the woman of strong character - weak, indolent, immodest, wasteful. Is as rottenness in his bones (Proverbs 14:30; Habakkuk 3:16). Such a wife poisons her husband's life, deprives him of strength and vigour; though she is made "bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh" (Genesis 2:23), far from being a helpmate for him, she saps his very existence. Septuagint, "As a worm in a tree, so an evil woman destroyeth a man." Here again Siracides has much to say, "A wicked woman abateth the courage, maketh an heavy countenance and a wounded heart: a woman that will not comfort her husband in distress maketh weak hands and feeble knees" (Ecclus. 25:23). Thus runs a Spanish maxim (Kelly, 'Proverbs of All Nations') -

"Him that has a good wife no evil in life
that may not be borne can befall;
Him that has a bad wife no good thing in life
that chance to, that good you may call."
Proverbs 12:4We now place together Proverbs 12:4-12. One proverb concerning the house-wife forms the beginning of this group, and four regarding the management of the house and business form the conclusion.

4 A good brave wife is the crown of her husband,

   But as rottenness in his bones is one that causeth shame.

As Proverbs 11:16 says of אושׁת חן, the pleasant wife (חן equals χάρις), that she obtaineth honour, so this proverb of אושׁת חיל, the good wife (חיל equals ἀρετή, virtus), that she raises her husband to higher honour: she is for his self-consciousness στέφανος καυχήσεως (1 Thessalonians 2:19), and is also to him such a crown of honour before the world (cf. Proverbs 31:23). On the contrary, a מבישׁה, conducting herself shamefully (cf. regarding the double meaning of this Mishle word, which only here occurs in the fem., at Proverbs 10:5), is to her husband instar cariei in ossibus. רקב (רקב, Proverbs 10:7) denotes both the caries and the worm-hole (cf. Job 41:19, עץ רקּבון, worm-eaten wood). Like as the caries slowly but continuously increases, till at last the part of the body which the bone bears and the whole life of the man falls to ruin; so an unhappy marriage gnaws at the marrow of life, it destroys the happiness of life, disturbs the pursuit, undermines the life of the husband.

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