Proverbs 31:15
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
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(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.

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). Proverbs 31:15With this diligence in her duties she is not a long sleeper, who is not awakened till the sun is up; but

15 ו She riseth up while it is yet night,

       And giveth food to her house,

       And the fixed portion to her maidens.

The fut. consec. express, if not a logical sequence of connection, yet a close inner binding together of the separate features of the character here described. Early, ere the morning dawns, such a housewife rises up, because she places care for her house above her own comfort; or rather, because this care is to her a satisfaction and a joy. Since now the poet means without doubt to say that she is up before the other inmates of the house, especially before the children, though not before the maids: we have not, in ותּתּן, to think that the inmates of the house, all in the morning night-watch, stand round about her, and that each receives from her a portion for the approaching day; but that she herself, early, whilst yet the most are asleep, gives out or prepares the necessary portions of food for the day (cf. ויּתּן, Isaiah 53:9). Regarding טרף, food, from טרף (to tear in pieces, viz., with the teeth), and regarding חק, a portion decreed, vid., at Proverbs 30:8. It is true that חק also means the appointed labour (pensum), and thus the day's work (דּבר יום); but the parallelism brings it nearer to explain after Proverbs 30:8, as is done by Gesenius and Hitzig after Exodus 5:14.

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