Proverbs 31:17
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
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Proverbs 31:17-18. She girdeth her loins with strength — She uses great diligence and expedition in her employment; for which end, men in those times used to gird up their long and loose garments about their loins. And strengtheneth her arms — Puts forth her utmost strength in her business. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good — She finds great comfort and good success in her labours. Her candle goeth not out by night — Which is not to be taken strictly, but only signifies her unwearied care and industry.

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.The verse points to a large sphere of feminine activity, strikingly in contrast with the degradation to which woman in the East has now fallen. 17, 18. To energy she adds a watchfulness in bargains, and a protracted and painful industry. The last clause may figuratively denote that her prosperity (compare Pr 24:20) is not short lived. She girdeth her loins with strength; she useth great diligence and expedition in her employment; for which end men in those times used to gird up their long and loose garments about their loins.

Strengtheneth her arms; putteth forth her utmost strength in her business.

She girdeth her loins with strength,.... Showing her readiness to every good work; and with what cheerfulness, spirit, and resolution, she set about it, and with what dispatch and expedition she performed it: the allusion is to the girding and tucking up of long garments, wore in the eastern countries, when any work was set about in earnest, which required dispatch; see Luke 17:8; the strength of creatures being in their loins, Job 40:16; the loins are sometimes put for strength, as in Plautus (r); and the sense is much the same with what follows;

and strengtheneth her arms; does all she finds to do with all her might and main, as the church does; not in her own strength, but in the strength of Christ; to whom she seeks for it, and in whose strength she goes forth about her business; by whom the arms of her hands are made strong, even by the mighty God of Jacob; and because she thus applies to him for it, she is said to do it herself, Genesis 49:24; here she plays the man, and acts the manly part, 1 Corinthians 16:13.

(r) "Lumbos defractos velim", Stichus, Acts 2. Sc. 1. v. 37.

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
Verse 17. - KHETH. She girdeth her loins with strength (ver. 25). This seems at first sight a strange assertion to make concerning one of the weaker sex; but the phrase is metaphorically expressive of the energy and force with which she prepares herself for her work. Strength and vigour are, as it were, the girdle which she binds round her waist to enable her to conduct her operations with case and freedom. So we have a similar metaphor boldly applied to God (Psalm 93:1): "The Lord reigneth, he is apparelled with majesty; the Lord is apparelled, he hath girded himself with strength" (cf. Job 38:3). Strengtheneth her arms. By daily exercise she makes her arms firm and strong, and capable of great and continued exertion. Proverbs 31:17The poet has this augmented household wealth in his eye, for he continues:

17 ח She girdeth her loins with strength,

        And moveth vigorously her arms.

Strength is as the girdle which she wraps around her body (Psalm 93:1). We write חגרה בעוז; both words have Munach, and the ב of בעוז is aspirated. Thus girded with strength, out of this fulness of strength she makes firm or steels her arms (cf. Psalm 89:22). The produce of the field and vineyard extend far beyond the necessity of her house; thus a great portion is brought to sale, and the gain thence arising stimulates the industry and the diligence of the unwearied woman.

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