Proverbs 31:16
She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
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(16) She considereth a field.—Fixes upon a suitable one for purchase.

With the fruit of her hands.—With her savings she buys a vineyard and stocks it.

Proverbs 31:16. She considereth a field — Whether it be fit for use and of a reasonable price, and how she may purchase it. This excludes the rashness, as the proceeding to buy it excludes the inconstancy, which is often incident to that sex; with the fruit of her hands — With the effects of her diligence; she planteth a vineyard — She improveth the land to the best advantage.31:10-31 This is the description of a virtuous woman of those days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and nation. She is very careful to recommend herself to her husband's esteem and affection, to know his mind, and is willing that he rule over her. 1. She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good. 2. She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's business. She does what she does, with all her power, and trifles not. 3. She makes what she does turn to good account by prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for her house. She lays up for hereafter. 4. She looks well to the ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her. 5. She is intent upon giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. 6. She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world. 7. Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever. 8. She has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she was not idle or useless when young. She shall rejoice in a world to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. If the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. But she leaves it to her own works to praise her. Every one ought to desire this honour that cometh from God; and according to this standard we all ought to regulate our judgments. This description let all women daily study, who desire to be truly beloved and respected, useful and honourable. This passage is to be applied to individuals, but may it not also be applied to the church of God, which is described as a virtuous spouse? God by his grace has formed from among sinful men a church of true believers, to possess all the excellences here described.The verse points to a large sphere of feminine activity, strikingly in contrast with the degradation to which woman in the East has now fallen. 16. and hence has means to purchase property. She considereth a field; whether it be fit for her use, and of a reasonable price, and how she may purchase it. This excludes the rashness, as her proceeding to

buy it excludes the inconstancy, which is oft incident to that sex.

With the fruit of her hands, with the effects of her diligence,

she planteth a vineyard; she improveth the land to the best advantage. She considereth a field, and buyeth it,.... The field are the Scriptures, in which are hid the rich treasures of Gospel doctrines and promises; and the church, and all truly enlightened persons, consider to what use this field may be put, to what account it will turn; how profitable the Scriptures are, for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness; what a rich mine and valuable treasure is in them; things more desirable, and of greater worth, than thousands of gold and silver; and therefore will buy this field at any rate, and not sell it; will part with all they have before they will part with that; even life itself, which in an improper sense is called buying of it, though it is without money and without price; see Matthew 13:44;

with the fruit of her hand she planteth a vineyard; her own vineyard, whose plants are an orchard of pomegranates, Sol 1:6; who through the ministry of the word, are planted in the house of the Lord, and flourish there; this the church is said to do by her ministers, who plant and water, as Paul and Apollos did, 1 Corinthians 3:6. And it is observable, that in the Hebrew text there is a double reading; the "Keri", or marginal reading, is feminine; but the "Cetib", or writing, is masculine; to show that she did it by means of men, she made use of in her vineyard for that service; it being, as Aben Ezra observes, not the custom and business of women to plant vineyards, but men. It may be rendered, "he planted", and be applied to her husband, Christ; who, through the ministry of the word in his church, plants souls in it; and happy are they who are the planting of the Lord! trees of righteousness, that he may be glorified, Isaiah 61:3.

She considereth a field, and {k} buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

(k) She purchases it with the gains of her travail.

Verse 16. - ZAYIN. She considereth a field, and buyeth it. She turns her attention to a certain field, the possession of which is for some cause desirable; and, after due examination and consideration, she buys it. One is reminded of Christ's parable of the treasure hidden in a field, which the finder sold all that he had to purchase (Matthew 13:44). With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Her prudent management and economy give her means to buy vines and plant a vineyard, and thus to increase her produce. Possibly it is meant that she sees the field she has gotten is more fitted for grapes than corn, and she cultivates it accordingly. Virgil 'Georg.,' 2:229 -

"Altera frumentis quoniam favet, altera Baccho,
Densa magis Cereri, rarissima quaeque Lyaeo."
A wife, such as she ought to be, is a rare treasure, a good excelling all earthly possession:

10 א A virtuous woman, who findeth her!

        She stands far above pearls in worth.

In the connection אושׁת חיל and the like, the idea of bodily vigour is spiritualized to that of capacity, ability, and is generalized; in virtus the corresponding transition from manliness, and in the originally Romanic "Bravheit," valour to ability, is completed; we have translated as at Proverbs 12:4, but also Luther, "a virtuous woman," is suitable, since Tugend (virtue) has with Tchtigkeit [ability] the same root-word, and according to our linguistic [German] usage designates the property of moral goodness and propriety, while for those of former times, when they spoke of the tugend (tugent) of a woman, the word combined with it the idea of fine manners (cf. חן, Proverbs 11:16) and culture (cf. שׂכל טוב, Proverbs 13:15). The question מי ימצא, quis inveniat, which, Ecclesiastes 7:24, proceeds from the supposition of the impossibility of finding, conveys here only the idea of the difficulty of finding. In ancient Jerusalem, when one was married, they were wont to ask: מצא אומוצא, i.e., has he found? thus as is said at Proverbs 18:22, or at Ecclesiastes 7:26. A virtuous woman [braves Weib] is not found by every one, she is found by comparatively few. In 10b there is given to the thought which underlies the question a synonymous expression. Ewald, Elster, and Zckler incorrectly render the ו by "although" or "and yet." Fleischer rightly: the second clause, if not in form yet in sense, runs parallel to the first. מכר designates the price for which such a woman is sold, and thus is purchasable, not without reference to this, that in the Orient a wife is obtained by means of מהר. מכר, synon. מחיר, for which a wife of the right kind is gained, is רחוק, placed further, i.e., is more difficult to be obtained, than pearls (vid., regarding "pearls" at Proverbs 3:15), i.e., than the price for such precious things. The poet thereby means to say that such a wife is a more precious possession than all earthly things which are precious, and that he who finds such an one has to speak of his rare fortune.

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