The Backwards Proverbs 31 Woman

August 14, 2014
"Die Hängematte" by Gustave Courbet

“Die Hängematte” by Gustave Courbet

Anyone can find an inferior wife.  Her worth is no more than common pebbles.

The heart of her husband cannot trust or confide in her, and he suffers constant loss.

She does him evil, and not good, all the days of her life.

She avoids finding ways to be industrious, and grumbles when she is forced to work.

She is like a useless broken ship; she sits in her harbor and goes nowhere, and brings no profit.

She rises late in the morning, leaving her household to find their own food.

She purchases expensive things without considering; she makes investments with money that does not belong to her.

She does not care that she is weak, and has feeble arms.

She does not recognize or use her talents that are of value.  Her lamp is always out at night.

She puts her hands to idleness, and her hands hold nothing useful.

She is tight-fisted toward the poor, and pulls back cringing when she sees the needy.

She frets and worries over snow for her household, for all of them are clothed in rags.

She never makes the bed, and dresses herself carelessly and sloppily.

Her husband is of no consequence, and has no authority whatsoever.

She makes nothing of profit, and drains the household income rather than building it up.

Spinelessness and indiscretion are her clothing, and she trembles at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with foolishness, and teaches mean-spiritedness with her tongue.

She could care less about the ways of her household, and does not enjoy the bread of industriousness.

Her children sit around and call her cursed; her husband also, and he reviles her: “Many women have done terribly, but you are worst of all.”


I once learned that a good way to examine your artwork is to look at it in a mirror.  It helps you see your drawing in a new way, and highlights anything poorly proportioned or uneven.  In the same way, sometimes turning a passage of Scripture backwards like this can give us a fresh angle and a new way to look at the text.

I know I find more of myself in this backwards Proverb 31 woman – and less of me in the real Proverbs 31 woman – than I’d like to admit.  Heavenly Father, make me every day less like this backwards, foolish woman and more like the strong, industrious, kind, and gentle wise woman of Your Word!

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. – Proverbs 31:30-31


  1. I love it!

  2. Wow… thought-provoking on a number of levels.

  3. Amazing! I love it! Encouraging and convicting! I’m thankful for grace as always.

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