Proverbs 12:4 Devotional: “A Virtuous Woman is a Crown…”

“A woman who is a crown to her husband…
C Cherishes her husband. (Titus 2:4)
R Reverences her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
O Obeys her husband. (Titus 2:5)
W Waits on her husband to do him good. (Prov 31:11-12)
N Never nags her husband. (Proverbs 19:13; 21:9,19; 27:15)”
– NANCY CAMPBELL

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says on Proverbs 12:4: “A wife of noble character is like a crown on her husband’s head, that is, her strength of character (ḥayil is lit., “strength”) makes her husband proud and honored. She adds dignity to him. Conversely a disgraceful wife (one who is not noble or strong morally) decays his bones; her shame gives him inner pain.”

United Bible Societies Handbook on Proverbs 12:4: “A good wife is the crown of her husband: The Hebrew term translated good refers principally to strength or power. It is used in 31:10–31. The activities of the good wife there show her to be trustworthy, competent, and industrious. See also Ruth 3:11 where “woman of worth” is used. GECL calls her “capable,” FRCL “courageous,” SPCL “exemplary,” and CEV “helpful.” The crown, the object worn on the head of a king or queen, is a symbol of authority, status, or honor. Translations differ in the way they understand the good wife to be a crown. Some take it to mean that she gives honor to her husband. For example, SPCL says “The exemplary wife makes her husband a king” and GECL “The capable wife brings the highest honor to her husband.” In TEV, on the other hand, the woman is honored by her husband: “… is her husband’s pride and joy.” Both approaches are suitable; however, the first understanding seems more appropriate when the sense of the contrasting second line is considered. In some languages it may be necessary to say, for example, “A husband who has a capable wife is respected by others” or “People respect a man whose wife is industrious.” But she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones: Brings shame contrasts with the honor and respect given to the husband in line 1. For brings shame refer to 10:5. The sense is the opposite of honor and so the meaning is “dishonor” or “disgrace.” The thought in line 2 is that the opposite kind of wife brings shame on her husband; as one translation says, “But if a wife does all kinds of bad things and her husband is ashamed ….” The wife in line 2 is compared to rottenness in his [her husband’s] bones. This figure suggests a disease that weakens the body and leads to death. CEV says “but a shameless wife will make his bones rot.” Note TEV “… is like cancer in his bones.” SPCL offers a nonfigurative rendering: “but a bad wife destroys him completely.”

Proverbs 12:4: “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

When I think of Queen Elizabeth II, I always picture her with a crown upon her head, somethig she wears proudly and does not mind showing off.

Likewise, a virtuous woman, Solomon tells us, is a crown to her husband. She is someone, a wife, he does not mind having around him, and he proudly shows her off.

Being a crown to your husband is not automatic. Being a virtuous woman is not automatic. You have to work at it, seeking God’s help through prayer. It involves being honest, having a meek and quiet spirit, obedience, producing a soft answer–anything good.

So let’s strive to be virtuous so we can be a crown that our husband will proudly wear.

— Ella Breedlove

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