And now it is true that I am your near kinsman: however, there is a kinsman nearer than I.…
In all history woman has held a place of regal influence. Not by intruding on the sphere of man, not by acting as if there were no Divine providence in the more delicate physical constitution of woman which incapacitates her for the strain of hardest toil; but in the ideal of "home," in which she is to be the "abiding" one, filling it with the charm of quiet influence and the sacredness of self-sacrificing love.
I. HERE IS A STRANGE CONJUNCTION OF TERMS. "Virtuous" comes from the Latin vir, which means a man. What then? Is a woman to be like a man? Does it mean a manly woman? In one sense it does. For "the man" is taken in the Scripture as the type of humanity in its best estate. "Show thyself a man," says David to Solomon. It means all that is pure, and brave, and true, and good. Thus "abominable" means something ab homo, to be designated as "away from a man;" something altogether alien to his nature. A virtuous woman is a woman who has strength of resistance to evil, strength of devotion to God, strength of patience and endurance in the path of obedience.
II. HERE IS THE POWER OF INFLUENCE. "All the people of my city (or, at the gate) doth know that thou art a virtuous woman." Certainly. "They that be otherwise cannot be hid." What a lesson that is! Character tells everywhere. You may not note the current running, but place your boat upon it, and you soon see it. So it is with a good life - it bears others in its current. We are all known. Men and women are judged at their true worth even in this world, and even the wicked respect the upright and the just. It was said of Nehemiah to the king in a time of trouble, "There is a man in thy kingdom in whose heart is the fear of the holy God."
III. HERE IS THE SECRET OF NATIONAL GLORY. It was so in Rome when they could speak with pride of the Roman matron, and it has been so in every nation under heaven. A Divine judgment was needed to purify this nation after the days of Charles II. Had it not been a time of judgment, the nation, as Charles Kingsley says, would have perished. Let the young be taught modesty even in dress and demeanor. Let all that is "fast" be frowned upon and made unfashionable. The grace that Christ gives is humility with the fear of the Lord. - W.M.S.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.