There is an intersting look at Proverbs 31 and its description of a Virtuous woman from a Bible scholar at the blog God & Mammon, which says in part:
Contrary to many Christian stereotypes of proper female behavior, this passage does not depict the virtuous and praiseworthy wife as a submissive homebody whose sole purpose in life is to raise children and do dishes. No, this noble wife is a shrewd and profiting businesswoman! Even the Hebrew word for "noble character," often translated as "excellent" or "virtuous" literally means "power" or "strength." Of the 244 times this word is used in the Bible, it almost always means "strength", "army", or "wealth." The woman in Proverbs 31 is described in this manner, as is the Queen of Sheba in 1 Kings (10:2) and 2 Chronicles (9:1). Her strength is mentioned several more times throughout this passage.and further in the post
Part of what makes this virtuous wife so praiseworthy is what she does with her wealth. She provides for her family and servants, but then she helps the poor and needy out of her excess. Her wise use of time and money enables her to be charitable, just like Lydia in the New Testament.The full text of the original post is found online here: Business Lessons from the 'Wife of Noble Character'. The biblical text on which the author muses is found here:
After she has provided for the needs of many, she still has the means for a little luxury.
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She senses that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.Something fun to try
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness...
And something I had fun with this week, is a BBC News quiz called Sex I.D. which is a series of visual challenges and questions used by psychologists to find out if you think like a man or a woman. It's online here: Brain Sex. I ended up at 30% toward male where 50% is typical. No problem preferring feminine faces and knowing objects set in different configurations—both male traits. However, my empathy (shown by identifying emotions on faces properly) and my ability to notice things out of pattern are more typically feminine than masculine abilities. Like I care.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor