Pity or Praise the Proverbs 31 Woman?

Word Filled Wednesday: Proverbs 31:31: “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

We have finally come to the end of the 21 week Proverbs 31 series! What an inspiration it has been to study this amazing woman who does not eat the bread of idleness! We have seen her diligence in every aspect of life – from caring for her husband, children, servants and even the poor. We’ve watched her rise early, stay up late, plant a vineyard, sew her own clothes, her family’s clothing, the tapestries and beddings! In the end, what does she get for all of her hard labor? A prize, trophy or plaque? No, she receives the praise of those around her declaring indeed she is rare.

Let’s reflect for a moment on the above list. Do you think she wanted to be pitied for the lowly work she had to do? Do you think she moped around imagining that the grass was greener for the lady down the road? She had to wake so early to care for her loved ones. She had to work so late at night to get all of sewing work done. She helped the poor, while still making sure her family was warm and fed. She had to be exhausted! Should we pity the Proverbs 31 woman?
I mean where are the spa days? Disney Land vacations? The raise with the corner office and bonus checks? Proverbs 31:31 says – “Give her the reward she has earned.” So what has she exactly “earned“?

Proverbs 31:28 says “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her.” Her reward is the praise of her closest loved ones. And so we must ask:

Some may say, “Praise is not much of a reward.” But truly, how many wives do you know who long for their husband’s appreciation and acknowledgement of what they do. How many parents do you see struggling with the rebellion of their teens. The Proverbs 31 woman does not face these struggles. Wouldn’t you take the peace, love, and harmony of a warm cozy home over a free family vacation filled with strife?

Let’s switch gears, I have said many times on this blog “Who you are at home is who you really are.” But I want to add – you cannot be warm to those inside your home and cold to those outside your home and be like the Proverbs 31 woman.

Her character was clearly seen by those outside of her home. Verse 31 says: “Her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Not only is she praised by those inside her home, but now we see her being praised by those outside her home! Double bonus!

So, at the end of the day, do we pity or praise the Proverbs 31 woman? I suppose it matters what you value? Money, status, power, or people?
To me, life is empty without the people in my life. And though I never want to selfishly seek praise from others – we see that it is the natural outcome of a woman who lives her life poured out for her family and friends.
Does God pity or praise the Proverbs 31 woman? He praises her. It is God I ultimately desire to please. And though this world may be confused by our dreams, visions and goals, one day when we stand before God’s throne on judgement day it will all be clear.
Proverbs 31:10 says, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Indeed sweet Christian sister, you are rare and your worth is beyond any earthly treasure. Now go treasure the people in your life and pursue pleasing God.

Walk with the King!

I am participating in Seven Clown Circus Wordful Wednesday and Internet Cafe’s Word Filled Wednesday.

holy experience


  1. it is interesting to note where she is praised…..the city gate was the place where the men of importance gathered……so in essence even the men of the town were made aware of how glorious a woman she was.

  2. As always, wonderful post Courtney!

    A man is what he is on his knees before God, and nothing more. Robert Murray M'Cheyne

  3. Courtney,
    excellent study on the Proverbs 31 woman. You know what has stuck out to me the most out of this whole series? When you brought attention to the fact that the Prov 31 had hired help! haha! But truly, this has really made me reconsider the way that I previously thought about motherhood, namely, the idea that we should be able to do everything ourselves.

    Our idea of the perfect mom and wife is a lot different than the Proverbs 31 woman. The recent "controversy" you experienced reveals this, in that people don't value the Prov31 woman, but want the supermom of the 21st century! Maybe this is why the praise element is so important from our children and husbands, because God knows that the world may come up against us.

    This particular post reminded me of a Piper sermon I listened to a while back. It was really wonderful. The link address is long, so I'll include it in the next comment as the name link.

    God bless you Courtney!
    Jen at http://www.SoulFULLcafe.com

  4. I love your Proverbs 31 posts. Very encouraging and convicting.

    It's also been my experience that sometimes people are cold to the people IN their home and warm and loving to those outside their home! We women have to be on the guard that we are not more patient, loving and kind to those outside our home than to those inside our home.

  5. I have always loved the Proverbs 31 woman. Though I missed this study cause I hadn't found you yet dadgummit.. Anyway I have always said she is the perfect idea of what Christ meant as Submission.. and would be an excellent reference for the naysayers of the marriage challenge. She in the end did not do her work for her huby's praise or anyone else' but GOD's.. Her reward was the pleasing of God by her talents and love for everyone, regardless of how they treated her. Which is in essence the truest form of marital submission. She did her work to the glory of her heavenly Father and he led others to notice her form of praise and worship to him..

  6. Excellent post. I came in late to this study but oh it has refreshed my soul and encouraged me so much!!! Thank you so much for this!

  7. Isn't it so important not to seek the praise of men…. And yet, this woman, who sought to do the will of the Father GOT the praise of men. Men will never really praise those who set out to earn their praise. Humility, diligence, kindness…this is what she enacted, and such praise followed. What a lesson. I've always thought about the wonderful blessing she had because 'her children called her blessed' – what a joy that would be for us. But she had praise from other places too, as you point out.
    A wonderful woman.
    Lord, give me grace to be more like her.
    Love, Anne x

  8. A very inspiring article. Well written!
    Sometimes it is discouraging to work so hard as a woman in our homes and we often times don't hear much at all. Hubby doesn't say much,and it feels like all our hard work is going un-noticed. Sometimes ya just want a day off!
    This was encouraging to me today. I am so tired. thanks!

  9. After reading this final P31 post I am sorry that I missed the whole study. Thank you so much for the reminder of praise that comes from the Lord. Oh, thinking about the dya that I am before the throne… no more pain, no more confusion, just love, clearity, and JOY! My heart longs for that day.

  10. I am so with you on this; it is very well said and I'm so glad that there are women out there spreading this word to others … it's a DELIGHT to be a WOMAN and to be a GODLY WOMAN.

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