I Do Not Like That Proverbs Woman

I have a problem with her (I must confess). That virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. She did all things well and never did anything wrong. I’m sure she coined the term busy as a bee, and made coffee breaks and take-out pizza tabu. Considered it sinful to sleep once the sun was up. Never a hair out of place. And sure she never gossiped or was unkind. And certainly never yelled at her kids! 

She was always working, never idle. But me? I love a coffee break and I adore take-out pizza! Or some leisure time reading, watching a film, or swinging in the garden. And I wonder if my kids ever thought that yelling was the only volume I had.

Is it any wonder I don’t like her?

She leaves me feeling idle, frumpy, and feckless!

And I know a good many women share my feelings! But it’s best we come to terms with her. Because that Model Woman won’t be going away, thanks to the book of Proverbs.

If you’re like me you read and think: I’m determined to become a better cook and housekeeper! Why, I’ll even learn to knit! I’ll guard my tongue more carefully. And find more ways to help the poor. I’ll become such a model woman that my family will barely recognize me! 

But I always fall short of my high and lofty goals! We still get take-out pizza. And as far as knitting is concerned, don’t even bother searching for any knitting needles in my house!

No one can do everything

This model woman was an ideal business manager and homemaker par excellence. Yet even she didn’t seem to do everything.

We don’t see her babysitting for friends.

The neighborhood children didn’t seem to gather around for stories or fun activities. I know women whose homes overflow with neighborhood kids. It’s difficult to figure out which kids are theirs. And I admire their gift. But I’d go stark raving mad!

And we don’t know if she was like the Shunamite woman.

That hospitable woman from 2 Kings who made a special guest room for the prophet Elisha. We don’t even know if this Model Woman had a guest room!

Some women, however, have turned hospitality into an art form. They go out of their way to make people feel at home, and they have a real knack for it.

No imitations

We can learn much from the Proverbs 31 woman. But the main thing it’s taught me is to always do my best. Even in the things I least enjoy. (Like cooking and menus.)

God has plotted a special path for each of our lives. He made us with unique strengths and talents. And he expects us to use and improve them – with wholehearted diligence.

Whatever you do, do well. For when you go the grave, there be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 NLT

My daughter encouraged me one day, by telling me that she grew up thinking I loved to cook. (Me?? Love to cook?) “But you were always cooking, and pouring over recipe books and meal plans!” she said. And it’s true.

With our low budget and ever-hungry family I had to! And I am an excellent cook (necessity is a great teacher). But I certainly don’t love cooking! I just tried to do the best I could. (Between coffee breaks and take-out pizza, that is!)

Doing our finest for the glory and honor of God is what really makes a worthy woman. One who tries to do what is right and cares about others. And who, though mediocre in many things, stewards her God-given gifts with care. And who does her very best – in her own special way.

Others will rise up and call such a woman blessed. Her works will praise her. And her heart will be at rest, knowing that her life is pleasing to the Lord.

Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels… Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also praises her: Many women have done noble deeds, but you surpass them all!”

Proverbs 31:10, 28-29 CSB

Images: Crochet hooks by xxolaxx. | Yarn ©SignoraSheila.

24 replies on “I Do Not Like That Proverbs Woman”

My favourite interpretation I have heard of this chapter of the Bible was a couple of years ago, when a very wise older man encouraged our Bible study group to look at this passage with New Testament eyes. He said, “What if this is a picture of the Church – the Bride of Christ?” I loved this, as I find that woman intimidating too. But I’m very happy to be part of the Bride of Christ, and together we do ALL those things and more!


Yes, I’ve heard that interpretation as well, Johanna. And it could definitely fit. For as you say, together we can do ALL those things and more! But on a personal level, the Model Women can be quite intimidating! Thanks for giving us something to ponder!


I too have heard Proverbs 31 explained in light of time–lots of time. Nowhere in the chapter does it say she accomplishes all this activity in one day, one week, or even one month. And you’re right, Sheila. There are many worthwhile achievements and positive character traits not even mentioned. Then there’s the point made by your daughter’s impression that you loved to cook. What others see is often more positive than we realize! We are our own worst critics. Thank you for helping us put the Proverbs 31 Woman in her proper place, Sheila, as an example of SOME ways to live purposefully and usefully, but by all means not ALL.


Thanks so much, dear Nancy, for your encouragement. I definitely am my own worst critic. But you’re right, the impression others get of us is often more accurate than the negative lies about ourselves that we heed. The Proverbs woman is a marvelous example – but as you say, even she didn’t accomplish all that she did in only one day!!

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Your title almost made me spit out my coffee. 🤣 I’ve felt that way too! I heard someone speculate once that she was a conglomeration of many women who please God. I’m not sure if that is true, but it helped me to enjoy spending time with her a bit more. As life changes, I accomplish and struggle differently. If I end my life, having been all the facets of a Prov. 31 wife at some time or another, I will be thankful. I don’t think God wanted us striving to be her as much as striving to be like Jesus. Wouldn’t that make her an idol? And I love how you pointed out virtues that God loves which she doesn’t seem to explore.


Thanks Mamalava! That’s an interesting thought about her being a conglomeration of many women. I have also read that the depiction of her was possibly scenes from different times or seasons of her life. I can see how either perspective could be valid. But I’m with you in that I hope to manifest some of her facets at some time in my life. Which in the end adds up to being more like Jesus. And that will be our life-long striving!

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What a great perspective Sheila. I never thought of the fact that there is no Proverbs ideal man (maybe Solomon forgot to add another chapter). But then again, I feel pretty intimidated by Paul’s example and feel just a shade more comfortable with his younger protege Timothy. I take courage from Paul’s admonition to him to stir up the gift in you. We each have our own little spark and can only stir up the fire of what God has given us. Great post Sheila, thanks! Got a busy day ahead and I need to stir up some stuff, so I’ve got to go now!


I love your perspective, Pastor Pete. I also never thought about their being no ideal man in Proverbs. But now I wonder how many men would struggle with him! Like you said, the apostle Paul is probably enough for all us (men and women alike) to deal with! Happy stirring – and let’s remember to stir every day!!

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I love that you tackled this “phantom” of a woman with humor and grace for she was amazing. But you’re so right–we each have been gifted with what the Lord chose to invest in us of Himself, and that is what we need to focus on. Wholeheartedly. And your gifts come out loud and clear in your wisdom, practicality, humor, and the love you have for Jesus and everyone around you. Thanks, Sheila! Wonderfully said!


Thanks Dayle! She really was amazing. But she can be hard to dearl with. May the Lord help us to understand what he has for us and then give our all to it. Because in that way, we too can become like this phantom!!


Thanks Jennifer, it helped me a lot to bring her down to a more human level. As great as all the biblical heroes were, they were only human. And based on the lives of Peter, David, and the others had many failings. Yet she is a glorious example for us to strive toward!

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Aw, thanks! I do my best and am certainly grateful for the Lord’s help and the assurance that he will always be an ever-present help! In him, we can do all things!

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I think she’s problematic for a lot of women, Vanessa. I admire her and continually try to become more like her. While grateful that the Lord’s plan excellence for each of us can be different. He did’t make me Business Woman Extraordinaire; I’d bankrupt the business and melt under the pressure. I thank him for teaching me to excell in the way he’s made me! That’s what Mrs. Proverbs taught me! 🙂

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I’ve always held that woman in Proverbs in high esteem, the perfect example of what I want to be. I love the idea that she runs her household well, but that she also runs a successful business as well. She is wise, capable, and confident. My hero, although I have a long way to go. Love your post, Sheila

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I agree Susan. She is to be held in high honor and esteem. But she’s also discouraging when I compare myself to her too much! I have a long way to go too! It’s great that we have wonderful sisters to encourage us along the way!!

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