[CF Devotionals] 2014-04-13 - Ruth and the Virtuous Wife

Ruth ~ Part 32

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Talmage praises the godly wife, when he states:

“What you want in a wife, O man! is not a butterfly of the sunshine, not a giggling nonentity, not a painted doll, not a gossiping gadabout, not a mixture of artificialities which leave you in doubt as to where the humbug ends and the woman begins, but an earnest soul — one who can not only laugh when you laugh, but weep when you weep. There will be wide, deep graves in your path of life, and you will both want steadying when you come to the verge of them, I tell you. When your fortune fails you will want some one to talk of treasures in Heaven, and not charge upon you with a bitter “I told you so.” As far as I can analyze it, sincerity and earnestness are the foundation of all worthy wifehood. Get that, and you get all. Fail to get that, and you get nothing except what you will wish you never had got.

~ TALMAGE.” 1

Introduction: Last time we left Ruth waiting to hear from Boaz. Would he be able to marry her or would the other kinsman be interested in marrying Ruth and redeeming Elimelech’s line? I guess it will be another long “day” until next week when we pick up in Chapter 4.

Are we raising our young men to respect women and care for them, in spite of the contemporary view of society regarding the place of men and women? Are we raising our young women to be women of character, and pleasing to the Lord as future wives? We are going to compare the qualities of Ruth, with the qualities of a virtuous wife, as seen in Proverbs 31. This study was inspired by, and adapted, from John MacArthur’s commentary on Ruth. 2

Finally, it should be noted the wife of Proverbs lives in a very prosperous, possibly even a wealthy household. Nevertheless, the principles demonstrated are applicable to any wife, no matter what her economic circumstances.


I am going to follow the analysis used by MacArthur, in comparing Ruth’s virtues with those of the wife discussed in Proverbs 31. But first let’s get a definition of virtuous (KJV) or noble (NIV). This is the same word used to describe Ruth in 3:11 and Proverbs 31:10.

“mighty, majestic, splendid; (n.) any powerful or awesome person.” 3
“All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character.” … “A wife of noble character who can find?” (Ruth 3:11; Proverbs 31:10).

I like Dr. McGee’s opening thoughts in describing this wife in Proverbs 31.

“Virtuous” here means a woman of character, a woman of strength, a woman of real ability. She is not to be a shrinking violet. She is not to be like Whistler’s mother, always sitting in a rocking chair. (A whimsical story is told that Whistler painted another picture of his mother, because he came in one day and found her sitting on the floor and said to her, “Mother, you’re off your rocker.”) I don’t think you will find many mothers sitting in rocking chairs. They are busy. This is the picture of a busy mother” 4

There are eight areas of comparison between Ruth’s characteristics and those of the virtuous wife. MacArthur wrote the following regarding these shared qualities.

“With amazing parallel, they share at least eight character traits. One wonders (in concert with Jewish tradition) if King Lemuel’s mother might not have been Bathsheba who orally passed the family heritage of Ruth’s spotless reputation along to David’s son Solomon. Lemuel, which means “devoted to God,” could have been a family name for Solomon (see Jedediah, 2 Samuel 12:25), who then could have penned Proverbs 31:10-31 with Ruth in mind” 5

  1. McClure, editor, J. B., Pearls from Many Seas, The Master Christian Library, AGES Software, Albany, OR, Version 8.0 © 2000
  2. MacArthur, John, Ruth & Esther, Word Publishing, Nashville, TN, © 2000, p. 31.
  3. Goodrick, Edward W., John R. Kohlenberger III, and James A. Swanson, Hebrew/Aramaic to English Dictionary and Index to the NIV Old Testament, Zondervan Interactive Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, © 1999.
  4. MacArthur, John, Ruth and Esther, Word Publishing, Nashville TN, 2000, p. 102.
  5. Ibid.

To be continued.

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com
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CFD | April 2014 | Geoff's Devotions | Geoff's Studies | Devotional Topics