Understanding Proverbs 31:15 for Moms Today

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” Proverbs 31:15 KJV

The woman depicted in Proverbs 31 is a picture of “…a continual supply of abundance.” (Ross)
But what does it take to do that? 
The answer is found in Proverbs 31:15, showing how she “riseth also while it is yet night”.
When a home was filled with both family members and servants as was typical of families in Biblical times, it was well within the bounds of a virtuous wife to put in extra hours. Despite what some may insinuate, there is much to do in the home and getting it all done EVERYDAY is no small feat! 

What does Proverbs 31:15 mean for Moms today?

When most of us think of a mother, much of that role comes with hard work. Regardless of the era we see her in, a mother is typically cleaning the house, cooking, washing, shopping, caring for her children, meeting her husband’s needs, doing dishes and cleaning again!
It can be pretty exhausting!
The record of the Proverbs 31 woman seems even more demanding with a band of servants to manage!

It’s OK To Get Help as a Mom

The first lesson from the woman in Proverbs 31:15 is that she had servants. She had maidens to help her get some of her daily tasks done.
Imagine having sheep to sheer, yarn to spin, fabric to make, and a garden to tend on your own. So the virtuous woman has hired help.
We can learn from her to know when we’re in over our heads. Working ‘smarter not harder’ will look different for each mom. You might have friends or church family to ask for help. I might have relatives. Someone else might be able to afford a paid helper. 
The point is that it’s ok to get help.

Here’s Some Balance 

Although the woman of Proverbs 31 was not averse to getting help, it was never about making a social statement or ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. 
Having hired help was all for the purpose of meeting the NEEDS of her home.
It is also important to note how she treated her maidens. They were given a “portion” which implies they were either being paid or at least being cared for. She was a clear example of obeying other instructions in the Bible that guide how we should treat those who work for us:

  1. Jeremiah 22:13 KJV

Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages, and giveth him not for his work

  1. Leviticus 19:13 KJV

Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

Proverbs 31:15 KJV

Physical Work is Not Slavery

Rising while it is still night suggests a willingness to do extra physical work when necessary to get some things done. This, despite the fact that she already has maidens at her disposal. 
The suggestion here is that she was still humble and involved in the affairs of her home even with the additional help the servants must have provided. 
Laziness was not in her vocabulary. 
And if it’s in your vocabulary, it must be taken out for the sake of the management of our homes. 
Even with hired help, she was still waking up before dawn sometimes?! Wow! Most of us hire helpers with the mindset that at least we can sleep in when the helper is coming by! 
Another important perspective from seeing this woman “rise early” is accepting the nobility of work.
Modern cultures bash physical work, especially that of a homemaker. The women who choose to stay home are often looked down on and shamed for their failure to contribute financially to their homes. Sometimes these women are portrayed as slaves of their husbands.
However, the job of a homemaker is not one of enslavement but purpose. It bears nobility and not oppression. The worth of the job of homemaking is not (and should not) be diminished by its inability to generate a predictable salary as do other jobs beyond the home.

Work and Rest Go Together

Although Proverbs 31:15 says she rises while it is still night, it is not a command for a mother to be overworked or unduly tired.
It is not discounting the need to sleep or to care for one’s body – the converse would be bad for both the mom and those who depend on her! 
Waking up extra early to do extra hard work was not something she did everyday and neither should we do that as moms, if we mean ourselves and our families well. 

Closing Prayer 

Lord, thank You for this wonderful example of motherhood in Scripture. Thank You for the lessons I have learned and that have been reinforced by this verse. I pray you help me to realign myself to value hard work for the right reasons. I also ask for the grace and wisdom to know when and how to rest.

Find more Wisdom in Proverbs for Moms devotions here.

Guest Blogger Bio

Yaneke is a Jamaican blogger and YouTuber who is married with three children. She creates content for young Christian women on her Blog for the Christian Damsel (link christiandamsel.com) and shares fun, family-focussed posts at myquiverfull.com

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