Here, again, we see how the woman who fears the Lord works with her family in mind. Verse 16 shows us a couple of things. First, we see an example of how her husband trusts her (verse 11). She is choosing, buying, and running a piece of real estate. Now, there is a lot that goes into buying property. One must know the value of the land, how much money they have, how to recognize a good price, how to purchase, etc. This woman must be knowledgeable. Also, do not overlook the word ‘considers’. She does not hurry and make a rash decision. She weighs the pros and cons. She thinks of all the ways that her decision will affect her family. She realizes that this is a huge decision. She is responsible for the outcome.
The second half of this verse points out that she follows through with her plans. She is not an irresponsible dreamer. She does not leave the dirty work for someone else. She does not get bored and move on to another project. And maybe the most important – she does not start all of this and then assign tasks to her husband!!! This is her project from beginning to end. The goal of purchasing and growing a vineyard is definitely not to give her husband something else to do or work on. He already has a job (Again, to the single ladies: HE HAS A JOB! That is a conversation for another time, but that time will come!). She takes care of everything, including the manual labor of working the vineyards.
Verse 17 says “She dresses herself with strength” (ESV). I really like the Hebrew here, which means “She girds her loins with strength.” This verse teaches that a woman has no excuse to be a sissy. She is to get her hands dirty. She can lift heavy things. It’s okay (rather commanded here) to be in shape and to have a little muscle. So many women and women’s ministries love or hate this chapter in Scripture. They feel that the woman here is presented as the woman who is always barefoot and pregnant. Some hate it because they are ultra-feminists out to crush the sexist masculine culture. Some love it because it gives them another excuse to go get a manicure and watch soap operas all day. But verse 17 slaps both of these groups in the face. The woman here does the hard work.
One thing not to forget, however, is that the woman in this chapter is definitely not masculine or butch. We will see in a couple of verses that she is elegant and does keep up on her appearance.
I pray that God teaches us HIS definition of femininity. Also I pray that we will carefully and prayerfully and consider ways that we can invest ourselves for our families, whether we have one now or in the future. I pray that we learn how to be the virtuous wife and apply our knowledge in a greater scale to the church, who is Jesus’ bride.