HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
She is like the merchants’ ships; She bringeth her food from afar.
In verse 13 she is seeking to provide clothing for her family and in verse 14 she is seeking to provide food for her family. The Bible teaches us that with food and raiment we can be content (1 Tim. 6:8) and the virtuous women play a key role, as God’s instrument, in providing both.
Notice the simile. The virtuous woman is compared to the merchants’ ships. Merchants are traders who buy or sell commodities for profit, and merchants’ ships are filled with items from far countries. So the godly woman brings in food from afar (from distant places). The word “food” is the common Hebrew word for “bread” but it is also used for food in general.
Does this mean that she travels to far off countries to procure international delicacies for her family? Very unlikely. It probably means that she brought in foods from distant lands by trading for them. She took some of the wondrous garments or clothes that she made with her hands (v.13) and was able to bring them to some merchantmen and trade them for food items which had come from afar, even from distant lands.
Today the wife usually says to her husband, “Dear, I need some money because I’m going to town to do our weekly grocery shopping.” The virtuous woman said, “Dear, I’m going to town but I don’t need any money because I’m taking some of the fine linen which I have made and will trade it in for some items of food which you will really enjoy.” How can he complain about that?
It also seems that she recognized that it would be good for her family to give them great variety in their diet, including international dishes, and not to constantly give them the same foods all the time. Variety is the spice of life.