Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character; The Virtuous Wife; The Virtuous Woman (Proverbs 31:10 – 31)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Proverbs 31:10 – 31

Questions:

1. (Women) Of the TV sitcom women of the 1980s and 1990s, with whom do you identify most? What about these women do you admire?

  • Roseanne Conner (from Roseanne)
  • Jill Taylor (from Home Improvement)
  • Claire Huxtable (from The Cosby Show)
  • Elaine (from Seinfeld)
  • Someone else? ______________

2. “A women’s place is in the home.” What feelings does this slogan evoke?

3. Would the author of this epilogue be applauded by feminists or traditionalists? Would he or she (perhaps Lemuel’s mother; see Proverbs 31:1) support equal rights for women? Or gender-defined roles? What makes you think so? Which verses support which view?

4. (Men) To which of women in Question #1 would you prefer to be married? Why?

5. Verses 10 – 31 form an acrostic (each verse in succession begins with the next letter of the 22-character Hebrew alphabet). How might this carefully crafted epilogue and personification of wisdom relate to the prologue (Proverbs 1:1 – 7)?

6. From this chapter, how would this ideal woman define her “place”?

  • the house: managing the day-to-day affairs of the home
  • the House and Senate: making policy decisions
  • the city market: on a shopping spree
  • the city market: as an entrepreneur

7. What does the woman of this chapter manage? Children? Domestic help? Property? Money? Business partnership? All of the above? Which of these roles do you see as the primary one for her? Why?

8. What abilities make her praiseworthy in the eyes of her husband? He children? The city fathers? The poor and needy?

9. What is her spiritual life like? Her appointment calendar? Her workplace? Her personal temperament?

10. How could anyone become like this woman? What does verse 10 imply? Is she just a symbol for some spiritual quality? An actual woman? Or both?

11. If she represents “God’s ideal woman”, should an “average” woman (single or married) aspire to her qualities? Likewise, should a man? Why or why not?

12. What would you think of a person who aspired for these qualities, but came up “a buck short”? What if she came up “woefully short”?

13. Which of the domains managed by this ideal woman are also things you are involved in? Which of these roles energize you?

14. How does this woman who “does it all” compare with your image of the woman today who “does it all”? What are the similarities? The differences?

15. How can women today follow her example without wearing themselves out and compromising their role as a wife and mother?

16. She spent her expertise and resources on the poor and needy (verse 20). To whom or what mission do you give yourself?

17. She feared the Lord and received the praise of children, husband and co-workers. Apart from the Lord’s favor, whose opinion or praise matter most to you? Who is harder to please – your family or your co-workers? Why?

18. (Women) What do you think is the “reward she has earned” (verse 31)? What reward do you think you deserve?

19. (Men) In what way could you best reward the work of the woman in your life? How do you expect the woman to respond?

20. We’ve finished our study of Proverbs. What stands out? What changes are you still praying about? In what ways are you wiser now than when we started? What disturbed you the most?

Important Note:

We will begin a month-long study of “Song of Solomon” starting Monday July 7. If you are married (or will be studying with your significant other) get ready for a multitude of questions about the emotional, spiritual and sexual intimacy within marriage.

Taking into account the nature of the subject matter and that many of you will be studying this book with your spouse (or significant other), I will publish 2 posts per week (instead of 5) until the end of July. Look for the study questions on Monday and Thursday of each week.

.

Sayings of King Lemuel (Proverbs 31:1 – 9)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Proverbs 31:1 – 9

Questions:

1. What favorite saying of your mother’s can you still recite?

2. How is this king brought to his mother? To the Lord? To his senses? And to his people?

3. If the Jerusalem Times decided to print each of these paragraphs (verses 2 and 3, 4 – 7, 8 and 9) as separate articles, with you as its editor . . .

  • what headline would you give each one?
  • what accompanying picture do they bring to mind?
  • what section of the paper do they fit in the best?

4. In what ways can you “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (verse 8)?

5. Other than women (verse 3), who are “those who ruin kings”? How so? What should be your attitude to them?

6. What is your reaction to these sayings of this unknown king?

.

Sayings of Agur (Proverbs 30)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window)

Proverbs 30

Questions:

1. To what vehicle would you compare yourself or your lifestyle? And with what feature of that car do you identify?

  • Four-wheel drive truck
  • Nine-passenger van
  • Speedy sports car
  • Classic roadster
  • Comfortable sedan
  • Economy car
  • All terrain vehicle
  • Ambulance
  • Chauffeur-driven limo

2. Where would you like to take you and yours for a day’s drive in this vehicle?

3. In what ways are the “Sayings of Agur” like Solomon’s proverbs? How are they different? Which ones are more like the Psalms, addressed to God?

4. What is the point of the literary style and device which compares three and four items with one another? In using this device, is Agur:

  • losing track of his sermon outline?
  • stuttering in his speech?
  • trying to be cute, witty or chatty?
  • painting a picture without being explicit?

5. How does that style affect the content and impact of the chapter? Is his main point to observe, to suggest or to preach? Why do you think so?

6. What do you learn about Agur from verses 2 – 4? From verses 7 – 9? What assumptions about human nature and money underlie his two-fold request? Why doesn’t he pray to use poverty and riches rightly?

7. What do you learn of God from the agnostic’s questions in verse 4? From the answer in verses 5 and 6? From Agur’s prayer in verses 7 – 9? From the arrogant “eyes” of verses 11 – 14?

8. How does the character of “those” pictured in verses 11 – 14 contrast with Agur at prayer? What will happen to the “eyes” of those who arrogantly leech off others (verses 15 – 17)?

9. What is “amazing” about the “ways” and the fifth way (verses 18 – 20)?

10. What is “unbearable” about the four things (verses 21 – 23)?

11. What is so “wise” about the four “small” creatures (verses 24 – 28)?

12. What is “stately” about the next four things (verses 29 – 31)?

13. How do verses 32 and 33 tie together all the other sayings about humility?

14. After viewing Agur’s humble, artistic impressions, how do you feel?

  • “I know where this guy is coming from”
  • “I’m totally confused”
  • “But for the grace of God, there I go”
  • “I wish he would not be poetic”

15. Which gives you more grief: not enough money or too much money? Explain.

16. What childhood cravings of yours are still unsatisfied? What can you take to heart from these sayings which will help you crave things less?

17. What does it mean to “play the fool” (verse 32)? Where have you “played the fool and exalted yourself” (verses 32 and 33)? What can you take to heart from these sayings?

18. How are you tempted to add to God’s words (verse 6)? What principles of inductive group Bible study help to avoid that?

19. Of these ways, things and creatures of this chapter, with which can you most easily identify? Is the comparison at all flattering, humbling or what? How so?

.