An exegetical study of Proverbs 31:10-31 was conducted and its relevance for modern women was examined. The Book of Proverbs is rich in guidelines for wise living, applicable to both men and women. Historically, Proverbs 31:10-31 was and is still used to judge women and their conduct, both personally and professionally. The placing of Proverbs within the wisdom genre as well as the possible author(s) of the Book of Proverbs gives readers a better understanding of the community, culture, and society in which it originated.
The Book of Proverbs was written for ordinary people as a guideline as to how they should conduct their lives. Proverbs invites the reader, proverb after proverb, to converse in what is wise, good, and truly meaningful in life. The purpose of this study was to render Proverbs 31:10-31 more accessible to its readers and to involve the reader in the context in which the pericope came to life. Although Proverbs belongs to a specific time and place, it does not mean that it cannot have a positive and significant impact on the lives of its readers, especially women.
The woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 does not truly exist. According to the Wisdom Literature, she is an ideal, paradigmatic figure. Women should be inspired by her favourable qualities and values, and therefore encouraged to emulate these desirable attributes. The woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 should be seen as a role model that other women can look up to.
The study focused on feminism, its development, and its role in theology. Specific mention was made of the diverse group of women who played an important role in changing the perception of South African women. Women, especially in South Africa, represent diverse groups that include different races, ethnicities, and cultures. This should not prevent women from working together to transform the lives of all women.
Working together as a “sisterhood” can assist women in reaching shared goals, instead of working against each other or against men.
The “noble woman” of Proverbs 31:10-31 is a positive female role model women can look up to and strive to emulate. She is a personification of the woman wisdom theology encourages women to strive for. This woman portrays the way in which women should live, while they are pursuing a relationship with God. The woman of Proverbs 31:10-31 may be interpreted as the woman wisdom theology encourages all women to become.
The “noble woman” of Proverbs 31:10-31 is a personification of wisdom and the ideal woman. She did not exist, but is an example of favourable values and qualities women can strive for. The reader’s interpretation of this woman influences the contextual reading of the pericope.