Give Her the Fruit of Her Hands
1. This is the final passage dealing with the virtuous woman.
2. The section ends with more words of praise for her.
3. Vs. 28 – Her children and her husband praise her.
4. Vs. 29 – She is praised for excelling all others in virtue.
5. Vs. 30 – She is praised, not for her charm or beauty, but for the fact that she fears the Lord.
6. Vs. 31 speaks of rewards for her virtue.
A. The Fruit of Her Hands
1. What are the FRUIT of her hands?
a. They are the fruit of her labors.
b. The whole section has been describing her labors.
c. The fruit of her hands is a figure of speech which means the REWARD of her hard work.
2. Consider the work of her hands in this chapter.
a. Vs. 12 – She DID her husband good all of the days of her life. This speaks of the good DEEDS she did daily.
b. Vs. 13 – She sought out wool, flax, and worked with her hands. She worked with the sheep and in the fields collecting flax. She worked these two materials with her hands to produce yarn and linen for making clothing for both cold and warm days.
c. Vs. 14 – She traveled far and wide seeking the best products and the best deals for her family.
d. Vs. 15 – She got up before sunrise every day and prepared meals for her family and for the household servants.
e. Vs. 16 – She bought a field and planted a vineyard—and evidently took care of the vineyard so that her family would have fresh fruit and would have something to drink… wine to sweeten the water.
f. Vs. 18 – She made merchandise—working into the wee hours of the night.
g. Vs. 19 – She laid her hands to the spindle – making yarn and cloth for clothing.
h. Vs. 20 – She was involved in helping the poor. Some of the fruit of her labors she gave to helping others in need.
i. Vs. 21 – She made warm clothing for her household in winter; she made scarlet (fashionable) clothing for her family.
j. Vs. 22 – She made artistic tapestries to beautify her home (for wall hangings; bed covers; and clothing). She also made clothing of silk and purple—more beauty and fashion.
k. Vs. 24 – She made sashes to sell in the marketplace. This was evidently a lucrative business that she managed.
l. Vs. 27 – She labored diligently and was not idle.
m. And of course there would be thousands of other labors of love involved in caring for and training the children.
3. All of this had a monetary value.
a. How much would it cost to hire someone to come into the household and do all this work?
b. How much would it cost to hire someone to take a wild field and plant a vineyard and maintain the vineyard?
c. How much does it cost to clothe a family for a year?
d. How much would it cost to hire a cook to come into your home and prepare three meals a day?
e. How much would it cost to hire a home decorator—and not just a decorator, but to manufacture or pay for all the decorations?
f. How much would it cost to have someone clean your home every week? How about every day?
g. Each of the verses considered speaks of many hours of labor—hard labor. And it continued all the days of her life.
h. How much would all that cost?
i. It’s no wonder that the section begins by saying, “her price is far above rubies.” (vs. 10)
• The price of rubies was between: $1,200 to $25,000 per carat. (according to awesomegems.com)
• The virtuous woman is far more valuable that rubies.
4. As Americans, we may not be able to appreciate this portion of Scripture as people in other cultures and in other centuries may have appreciated it.
a. Compared to women worldwide, women are treated well in the USA. There are laws protecting them from mistreatment. They get equal pay for equal work. They have freedom to marry whoever they want. They can go to school and get a good education. They can choose to be a stay at home mom or they can seek a career. They can vote. They can drive and travel wherever they want.
b. That has not always been the case throughout world history.
c. Women have been treated as second class citizens.
d. Men have taken advantage of them.
e. Just consider the lives of many women in the Middle East and elsewhere—even today in the 21st century.
• It was against the law for girls in Afghanistan to go to school.
• Women are raped and it is virtually impossible for them to win in court.
• Women must wear a burka.
• In some countries women are not allowed to drive a car.
f. But regardless of how poorly women were treated in various cultures throughout the centuries, in the BIBLE, they were honored.
g. The Bible speaks of their VALUE.
h. The BIBLE praises them.
i. Of course there are those today who believe the Bible degrades women because they are to submit to their husbands. That is based on a misunderstanding of what headship and submission involves. The world has seen too many example of headship taken to the extreme. Women are most content and fulfilled when they fulfill their God given role God’s way.
j. But apart from the Bible misinterpreted and misapplied, what the Bible actually SAYS (rightly divided) exalts women… honors women… and values women.
k. Proverbs 31:10-31 is a perfect example of this.
B. Give Her the Fruit…
1. This command goes beyond verbally praising a virtuous woman for her labors of love. This command speaks of actually GIVING her the rewards of her labors.
2. The command seems to be addressed to her household – her husband, children, and household servants.
3. She is to be VALUED for all that she does.
4. This also speaks of giving her GIFTS or money or something substantial for all that she does… as a means of appreciation and just because it is right. The workman is worthy of his (or her) reward.
5. The point is that she should EAT of these fruits too. She should be able to enjoy the benefits of her labors.
6. And later on in life her children are to “give her the fruit of her labors” according to I Tim. 5:4: “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents (pay back): for that is good and acceptable before God.”
7. It might seem so obvious to us today in America that such a hard working woman should receive the fruit of her labors. But that has not always been the case historically.
a. Cruel, ungodly husbands have abused the concept of headship and have NOT rewarded their wives. Their wives get precious little for their labors. They are not valued.
b. A godly husband will obey the command in this passage.
1. The two commands:
a. The first command is direct: “give her.”
b. The second command is indirect: “let her.”
2. This command is that the labors of this virtuous woman were to be seen “in the gates” – the center of community life.
a. Most of her works revolved around the home.
b. But her praise is not confined to the home.
c. The community (in the gates) will honor such a woman.
d. Her best praise is ascribing to her all her own works.
e. The demonstration of her works praises her. They carry their own commendation.
f. Dorcas was praised publically for all the clothing she made for others in the community. Her own works proclaimed her goodness and perhaps the best means of praising her. The garments she made for others spoke loudly.
g. Ruth’s love and care for her mother in law and her labors in the fields of Boaz earned her high PRAISE in the community.
3. Her husband and children should praise her.
a. But ultimately, it is the life, character, and works of this virtuous woman that give her the greatest praise.
b. It was her life – a life of “doing good and not evil all the days of her life” that bring the greatest praise to her.
c. Even if she has an ungodly, selfish, and cruel husband who never praises her; even if she has ungrateful children who never praise her—her faithful LIFE and her WORKS shall praise her.
d. Her ungrateful family may not praise her in this life. She may feel that there is no point in trying to be a virtuous woman any longer. But that is no excuse for a virtuous woman to “give up.”
e. Ultimately, a godly, virtuous woman is not serving her family exclusively; she is actually serving the Lord.
f. I Cor. 15:58 – “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
g. And as a faithful, virtuous Christian lady stands before the Lord at the Bema seat, she shall receive the greatest praise of all, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
h. When all is said and done, that is the praise that really matters.