I enjoy it when you find scriptural teaching in unexpected places - those little bits of scripture that are easily missed because they touch on something different than the surrounding context. Such is the subject of today's study.
Proverbs 31 is widely known as the description of the Excellent Wife (or Virtuous Wife, or Wife of Noble Character, depending on translation). Yet almost hidden within it is a comment on her husband's character that we guys do well to pay attention to.
In Proverbs 31:28-29 we read
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying
"Many daughters have done nobly
Let's stop right there, as those last 5 words say an awful lot about his general attitude towards women.
"Many daughters" - the evaluation that follows covers a large segment of the female population. The Hebrew for 'Many' generally carries a connotation of abundance. In this context it's even likely he's talking about a majority of women.
"have done" - note that it's their acts that he's evaluating. The Hebrew connotes doing or making things in a systematic or habitual way, so this is not just the exceptional actions he has in mind.
"nobly" - this is not a minor term of praise. The Hebrew connotes enough of some resource to constitute a force.
So what do we have here? We have a man who regards women in general not as mere attractive backdrop, but as people doing worthwhile things, and doing them very well.
Is it any accident that this is the man who is the excellent wife's husband? Is it possible that his high regard for women is one of the things that enables her to accomplish all that she does?
I ask because I'm not sure how often I see this in modern times, even in the church. Too often, we men take the Biblical concept of male headship as though it was a sop to the male ego, making us the important ones, and women mere attractive backdrop. Too often on modern men's lips, the expression of praise in this verse comes out more like "Y'know, women as a whole don't amount to much, but You, You're OK". Before we ask our wives to try to live up to the example of the Proverbs 31 wife, we ought to make sure we're living up to the example of the Proverbs 31 wife's husband.