The Bible addresses women of various characters throughout its pages. From Eve, the mother of humanity who entertained the beauty of forbidden fruit, to the Virgin Mary who, though of humble means, was chosen as the mother of Jesus, God’s Only begotten Son.
Womanhood extols the best and the worse of human character. Our youth culture tends to idolize women who personify infamous qualities that a half-century ago would have been scandalous. Sadly, women who epitomize the best qualities are seldom noted or praised—by their family or peers. In our parable today, Solomon teaches his son a lesson that every man should note and every woman should heed.
Proverbs 12:4 – “A virtuous woman [morally pure; good] is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones [like a cancer to the bones].”
A virtuous woman is one of godly character. She is morally upright, faithful to her husband and worthy of the praise of her family and friends (note Proverbs 31). She brings out the best in her husband and is a joy and delight to her children. An example of a virtuous woman is found in the Old Testament. Her name is Ruth.
Ruth, the Moabite, emerged from a heathen culture and chose a path of godliness and moral virtue. In ancient Israel, her Moabite ancestry was considered scandalous; however, her godly character and reputation in Israel was such that Boaz, her future husband, praised her with this observation:
Ruth 3:11 – “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman [character & reputation above reproach].”
A woman “that maketh ashamed” (12:4) lacks moral judgment. She has a wandering heart and her adulterous ways are a cancer to her husband and family. One infamous Old Testament woman personifies the very definition of one who is a curse and cancer to her husband. Her name is Jezebel, wife of King Ahab. Unlike the virtuous woman who brings out the best in her husband, Jezebel brought out the worse in Ahab.
1 Kings 21:25 – “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up [incited him to do evil].”
To the young woman who is reading today’s devotional, I ask, what kind of woman are you? Are you like Ruth who set her heart to love the Lord and aspired to the highest virtues? What is your reputation at school, work and church? Whatever it is, you own it! You are becoming the woman who will be a “crown” or a cancer to her husband!