People tend to think of Proverbs as a list of wise sayings and the book is certainly that; it is also much more.
Proverbs is an instruction from a king to his son on how to rule his people in a godly manner. The book is ascribed to Solomon, but the roots of many of the Proverbs may well be in the instructions of David as he taught his son Solomon how to rule as his successor.
The Proverbs were instructions from David for his son, and were expanded greatly by Solomon for his own son and successor; in short Proverbs is godly instructions on how to rule righteously; and as Holy Scripture, Proverbs are instructions from God our Father the Great King of the Universe on how we should live and learn to rule in his Kingdom.
The Proverbs is a list of teachings and instructions inspired by Jesus Christ, the coming King of kings, for those who have been called to him to become kings and priests in his Kingdom!
On another plane the Proverbs are also instructions on how a bride should behave toward her husband, and on a spiritual level: What Christ requires of his called out bride.
We should carefully read the Proverbs and prayerfully think on their meaning, so that we may learn the wisdom of Christ and how Jesus Christ our baptismal espoused Husband wants us to live.
Each Proverb contains wisdom for our physical lives; which also has spiritual meaning for our spiritual lives. The book of Proverbs is actually a very powerful condemnation of the Laodicean attitude of lukewarm for God.
Remember Proverbs 1:
Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
1:4 To give subtilty [wisdom, prudence] to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
The wise person will accept knowledge and not cling to traditional errors as do today’s church leaders; the wise will be continually learning and applying the wisdom of God: Which is the teachings and commandments of Holy Scripture.
1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
All truth has its foundation in genuine sincere respect to learn and to live by every Word of God. Only spiritual fools despise the Word of God and reject sections of scripture to cling to their false traditions.
1:6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark [secret, hidden] sayings.
1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
1:9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains [of authority] about thy neck.
Proverbs 31 gives us a clear explanation of what Jesus Christ requires in a wife; of what Jesus Christ requires of ALL those called out to be a part of his collective bride.
The ancient Rabbinical commentators identified Lemuel with Solomon. The Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Aboth, Chapter 5) says that six names were given to Solomon: Solomon, Jedidiah, Qoheleth, Ben Iokoh, Agur, and Lemuel.
According to A. Cohen, Proverbs (Hindhead, Surrey: The Soncino Press, 1945), p. 209, Lemuel is another name for Solomon that when translated means “towards (lemo) God (el).”
This is a description of a good wife and each example has its spiritual application; therefore in the spiritual sense this is a description of the kind of bride that Jesus Christ is seeking, and the kind of people that we need to become to be acceptable to Jesus Christ as a part of the collective bride of the Lamb.
The king begins by writing out what his mother had taught him about how to select a good wife.
31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
31:2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my [marriage] vows?
Selfish lust destroys people, especially leaders; for it saps their strength and wealth, and damages their reputations and intellect; as they turn away from the things of God.
A man who spends his inheritance on loose women, the foolishness of gambling, or is given to alcohol or drugs and cigarettes, or any other addiction; shall come to nothing; as his wealth and health are drained off in self-damaging behavior. The same is true of women who are not prudent and must buy everything they see, wasting their family finances.
If you want to be a king; you must learn to behave like a godly king.
31:3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
We who are called out to rule and to be a part of the bride are NOT to be given to drink or to be addicted to anything except; the pleasing of God. That is the only way to faithfully teach God’s ways and set a godly example for the people.
One does not need to be a drunkard to be addicted to wine. If one cannot get through the day without a drink, a cigarette, or some other addictive thing; then one is a slave to that substance and should STOP! Our only addiction should be to study and live by every Word of God!
31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 31:5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
A little drink to ease the pain of the suffering, or to rejoice at the Feast, or to lift the spirits on rare occasions is proper; but we are not to be drunken nor given to drink or any other addiction.
31:6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 31:7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
A godly ruler takes the part of the defenseless and gives godly justice to all
31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
The Virtuous Bride
We are in espousal to a spiritual Husband if we accept baptism and take the Passover commitment! What kind of wife does our LORD want?
Jesus Christ wants a bride who is diligent to study, learn and to live in Christ-like zeal by every Word of God; a bride who is totally dedicated and faithful to him! A bride who loves him enough to want to become just like him and internalize his very nature.
When Proverbs 31 speaks of selling and sewing, it does not mean that we must all learn to sew; it is talking about being diligent for/our spiritual Husband and spiritual family!
First she is totally trustworthy and dedicatedly loyal to her husband. Loyalty is a virtue beyond any other, for without it, every other virtue has no meaning. When a wife cannot be trusted, her husband’s house is divided.
Mark 3:24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [value] is far above rubies. 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
The whole lesson of physical Israel was one of a bad rebellious wife like Vashti, and was recorded to teach us about the kind of wife that Jesus Christ DOES NOT want!
Our Lord wants a dedicated wife who will be absolutely loyal and will do him good continually forever!
31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
It is important to understand that the following is in the context of that time and place, as well as about a physical marriage as an allegory of the spiritual union of the bride with Christ.
The overall meaning is that a virtuous wife [one called out as a part of the spiritual bride] will not be lazy or seeking her own pleasures. She will work diligently to please and help her husband [spiritually Jesus Christ], by studying and learning the Word of God [which is Jesus Christ in print], to internalize his very nature and to be FULLY ONE MIND with him, and to be an eternal good helper, pleasing him in every way that we can.
This does not mean that to be a part of a virtuous spiritual bride we must work with wool and flax; it DOES mean that we are to work to help our espoused Husband and become like him and his Father in heaven, in every way that we can.
31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She feeds her family, not refusing to get up to cook and serve because she is lazy: Spiritually this concerns teaching the Word of God to her children diligently feeding them with the Wisdom of God.
All those called to be a part of the spiritual bride are to feed our families with the Word of God; so that we will learn to teach, and so that our children may learn godliness. In doing this we prepare to become kings [rulers] and priests [teachers], teaching godliness to the nations as a part of the spiritual bride of the Lamb of God.
31:14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat [physical food, an allegory of the spiritual food of the Word of God] to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
Not every wife is wealthy enough to buy a field, yet every wife should help and support her husband in every way she can.
This is an allegory about spiritual increase and that with dedicated zealous effort those called out to become a part of the spiritual bride of Christ will bring forth much spiritual wealth [fruit]!
Through intense efforts and zeal to learn and apply God’s Word in our lives; we are to grow in grace [repentance] and knowledge of the things that please our espoused Husband Jesus Christ, so that we may be at ONE with him, as he IS ONE with God the Father!
31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
Spiritually speaking buying a vineyard is analogous to bearing much spiritual fruit.
A virtuous spiritual bride of Christ works as hard as she can to let the light of her Husband shine day and night in her example; those called to the wedding of the Lamb work day and night to learn and APPLY the Word of their espoused Husband so that God’s will Light shine in them.
She perseveres and works with all her strength to bear much spiritual fruit and to please her Husband at all times.
31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
The faithful to God are full of the wealth of the Word and Wisdom of God and shine a continual light of example for all to see.
31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle [lamp, light; candles were unknown in ancient Israel] goeth not out by night.
31:19 She layeth [she remains at her task without pausing] her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Christ also wants a bride who is forgiving and kind hearted to the sincerely repentant like he is.
Kind hearted, yet diligent for the Word of God; who teaches godliness and strongly rebukes all sin out of love for the sinner in the hope that he may repent and be saved.
In tirelessly refusing to tolerate any sin, each called out person helps to keep the whole body HOLY, and covered by the Passover sacrificial blood of the Lamb.
Helping the physically poor is an allegory of the faithful to God providing spiritual food for the spiritually poor.
31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
This speaks spiritually of the called out bride being dressed with righteous character (Rev 19:8), and the beauty of godliness.
31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
The bride’s reputation is well known and her Husband rejoices in her good works. By the deeds of the espoused bride [preaching and living the true gospel of righteousness] her husband Jesus Christ is made known to the whole world.
A good bride does NOT go around teaching against her espoused Husband who she vowed to love; teaching compromise with her Husband’s word; NO, NO, NO!
Those called to be a part of the spiritual bride will be chosen, resurrected and taken in marriage to the Lamb; based in their loyalty, love and zeal for their Lord.
This is like a man who has several potential mates: Which one will he choose! He will choose the one who is most loyal and dedicated to him, the one that he judges will be the most faithful and cooperative; and the best match for his temperament and character.
He will choose the one who’s example is an inspiration to others and whose actions cause his own name to have a GOOD reputation.
No one who brings disrepute and shame on Jesus Christ or God the Father will be chosen to have a part in the resurrection to spirit of the bride!
31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
Those called out to be a part of the espoused bride are expected to work HARD to learn and internalize the nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ their espoused Husband. To work hard to become fully like them; to become ONE in complete unity with them through learning and living by every Word of God, and by seeking day and night to please them in all things.
Fine linen is analogous to righteousness
Proverbs 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Those chosen to be a part of the collective bride of Christ will be wise in the ways of God and strong to live by every Word of God
31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
The physically virtuous woman is diligent for her family and husband. The spiritually virtuous called out bride is diligent for her espoused Husband Jesus Christ and to live by every Word of God as Christ commands (Mat 4:4).
31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
There have been many good wives; but the bride of Christ should be shining brighter than them all.
31:29 Many daughters [women, brides] have done virtuously, but thou [the bride of the Lamb] excellest them all.
Physical things are transitory; it is the things of the spirit, the things of God, which really matter; for they bring eternal life and honor to the chosen bride of Christ!
31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
The spiritual espoused bride who is faithful, loyal, dedicated; and full to overflowing with love and zeal to live by every Word of God; shall be rewarded for her godly righteousness with the resurrection to eternal life as a part of the bride of Christ, and she shall be praised as an example of true godliness for all time.
31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Those who teach a false Christ and use the name of Christ to gather followers after themselves; who use the name of Christ and DO NOT DO WHAT CHRIST TEACHES: Shall reap the reward of the wicked.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock [Founded on Jesus Christ the Word of God].
7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand [the shifting sands of the false traditions and doctrines of men]:
7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.