She is Robed in Strength and Honor
A. Her Clothing
1. Previously we discovered that this noble woman made clothing for herself (vs. 22), for her family (vs. 21), and (by implication) for her husband (vs. 23). She even made the yarn and cloth for the clothing (vs.13, 19).
2. In our present passage we learn what her clothing is: strength and honor.
a. Obviously the clothing described is metaphorical.
b. But this figure of speech is designed to teach a literal truth.
c. Literally and physically, a person can be robed in dirty old rags or in beautiful, expensive, ornate clothing.
d. Metaphorically, this woman was robed in the BEST clothing: VIRTUES.
e. The particular virtues mentioned are strength and honor.
f. When a queen walks into a room, her royal clothing shouts out to all present that she is royalty – a queen.
g. When the virtuous woman walks into a room, her metaphorical clothing shouts out that she is a woman of strength and honor.
1. Defined: Power; might; boldness; ability; fortified; internal fortitude.
2. It is used of a strong city; fortified city; fortified tower.
3. Throughout this section, the virtuous woman is seen as a strong woman.
a. She is no shrinking violet.
b. Even the word translated “virtuous” means “strength; noble; vigor; ability.”
c. The word translated “virtuous” is translated as “strength” several times:
• Psalm 18:39 – “For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.”
• Zech. 4:6 – “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
d. There are many evidences of strength found in this chapter:
• Vs. 13 – She seeks wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands.
• Vs. 14 – She is like the merchants ships.
• Vs. 15 – She rises up early to feed her household.
• Vs. 16 – She considers a field; buys it; and plants a vineyard.
• Vs. 17 – She girds her loins with “strength” and “strengthens” her arm. This is clearly an expression of a strong, hard working woman. (different Hebrew word—but is a synonym)
• Vs. 18 – She works into the night.
• Vs. 19 – She works the spindle to made yarn herself.
• Vs. 21-22 – She makes her own clothing for her family.
• Vs. 24 – She runs her own business.
• This is one strong lady.
• There is nothing inconsistent with being feminine and being strong.
» She wasn’t strong from weight lifting.
» She wasn’t trying to be a man or look like a man.
» But she was physically strong and wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in working with her hands.
» She was strong and fortified on the inside—and it showed on the outside through her many labors.
1. Honor defined: Ornament; splendor; majesty; best quality; nobility; impressive character; dignity.
a. Psalm 8:5 – “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.”
b. Isa. 53:2b – “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” It is used of Messiah and in this verse means something desirable.
c. The term is often used of God’s glory or of royalty – something that stands out as majestic and impressive.
3. This was the metaphorical clothing of the virtuous woman.
a. Her physical clothing was beautiful. (vs. 22)
b. But in vs. 25, Lemuel’s mother is speaking about another kind of beauty.
c. There was something noble and dignified about her; something desirable, comely; attractive; honorable.
d. She was adorned with these traits.
e. Whether she was physically beautiful or not, we don’t know. That is irrelevant anyway.
f. What matters is that she was a beautiful woman in her strength of character… she was desirable and comely because of her virtue.
g. She was robed in strength and honor.
h. This is what made her beautiful—regardless of what she actually looked like.
i. This is what made her strong—her strength is not just physical; it is primarily moral.
j. The true force of her strength was her dignity, virtue, and godly character. This is what made her a powerful woman.
1. REJOICE: To laugh; to rejoice; celebrate; to laugh at – mock; to smile at.
a. The virtuous woman laughs at the future – in the sense that she is not afraid of whatever it might bring. She is ready for it.
b. She isn’t sitting around biting her nails and fretting over the future. She laughs at it! She celebrates it!
2. The virtuous woman rejoices as she faces the future because she is prepared.
a. Vs. 21 – She is not afraid of the winter because she is prepared for it.
• She made warm clothing for them ahead of time.
• She looks ahead to the next season not in fear and trembling, but rather rejoicing. She is ready for it.
• This also seems to be another description of her strength.
• She laughs at the future out of boldness and confidence.
• Her confidence is not based on pride or a sense of superiority; rather her confidence is based upon the fact that she worked hard and is prepared for the future… not weak and fearful.
• Her hard work prepared her and armed her against any future potential sorrow and anxiety.
• She laughs at that which causes others (unprepared people) to worry.
b. Prov. 30:25 – “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.”
• The virtuous woman is prepared—like the ants—an illustration of wisdom, hard work, and planning ahead.
• The ants can also rejoice for the season to come.
• They too are ready for it.
3. Do not misread this passage. This lady does not laugh at the future because she is TRUSTING in herself, in her wisdom, in her wealth, in her business, or in her investments.
a. She laughs at the future because she lived a life that was in accordance with God’s Word (seeking wisdom; diligence; family oriented; did her best, etc.)
b. Therefore she is ready for the future.
c. She laughs, not out of pride or self-confidence, but out of the confidence that a godly life brings naturally.
d. This lady put her all in everything she did. She stuck with the projects she took on. She was no quitter. She worked hard and did her very best.
e. She faced all of the problems of the present and worked through them. She didn’t quit or run away. As a believer, she would have learned to trust God and that nothing is too hard for the Lord.
f. That gave her confidence for the future… because God never changes.
g. She had full confidence that she did her part to the best of her ability. She could leave the outcome—the future—in God’s hands.
h. There is a confidence that comes from doing what it right—and this woman had it.
i. Therefore, she could rejoice in the future!
j. The one who goes through life in disarray, disorganized, cutting corners, taking the lazy way out, running away from problems, not doing our best, just doing enough to squeak by, will have plenty to worry about concerning the future.
k. But the woman described in Proverbs 31 is not that person.
l. She is just the opposite. Therefore, her future is not one that she fears.
m. This lady had confidence in God and in God’s ways.
n. Every believer can and should have this kind of confidence with respect to the future. We are not to be worry warts.
o. Confidence in God equals confidence in the future, for God is Sovereign and holds the future.
p. The God who brought us through all the troubles and trials of the past is more than capable of taking us through all the troubles and trials the future may bring—victoriously. We can rejoice in that.
q. The confidence in God this lady possessed instilled in her a confidence about the future that enabled her to rejoice in time to come.