HH Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div

Proverbs 31:29

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

Charles Bridges describes the happiness of the godly woman as follows:

This verse is different from all the others in this section.  All of the other verses speak about the virtuous woman in the third person.  For example, verses 12-22 all begin with the word “she.”   She will do him good….  She seeketh wool….  She is like the merchants’ ships…. She riseth also… etc.  But in verse 29 the second person pronoun is used for the first time:  “But thou (you) excellest them all.”   It is more personal, familiar and intimate. Apparently, it is her husband himself who is speaking these words.

At the end of verse 28, we were told that her husband praises her.  In verse 29 we have the husband’s praise in his own words:  “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

The Hebrew term for “daughters” literally means daughters, but here it is used more generally of women (as in Genesis 30:13).  The word “virtuously” is the same word as found in verse 10–“Who can find a virtuous woman?”  The term “virtuous” is from a noun meaning strength, efficiency, ability.  Here it refers to the strength of character, moral strength and firmness.  See the fuller discussion under Proverbs 31:10.  This husband knew his wife was not the only godly, virtuous woman on the planet.  He knew that there were other God-fearing women of moral strength and of virtuous character.  Such women were rare (verse 10) but they were not extinct.  How we should thank God for all women who live godly in Christ Jesus and who reflect the Person of their Saviour in their walk and talk!  May the beauty of the LORD our God be upon them all (Psalm 90:17).

The husband then directs his praise to his own wife:  “but thou excellest them all.”  You surpass them all!  You have raised yourself above them all.  You are excellent and incomparable!  You surpass all others.  Was this man married to the most virtuous woman in all the world, or did it just seem so to him?   When a man has found a priceless gem (compare verse 10), he considers his treasure better than all others.  To him, she is the most precious wife anyone could ever have.  From his vantage point, no other woman could rival her.  “There’s not another woman in the whole world like you!”  “When I married you, God gave me the best gift this side of heaven!”  He lavishes praise upon her, and she does not mind his exaggerations.  In his mind, she excels all others.

George Lawson beautifully observes:

The praises of her husband will be still more delightful to her ears than those of her children. What earthly happiness can a good wife desire, like the affection and approbation of the guide of her youth?  and this a virtuous woman can scarcely fail of possessing, for what heart has so much marble in it as to be able to resist those virtues which every hour appear in his other self?  He cannot refrain from bestowing praise on one whom he finds the sweetener of all his cares, his faithful adviser in perplexities, his comforter in every distress, the instrument of a great part of his earthly felicity; his best friend, his unceasing joy, and his brightest crown.  No wonder if the experience of such goodness and happiness makes him eloquent in her praise, and draws commendations from his tongue, that must be understood in a restricted sense to make them true. He prefers her to every other wife who ever lived upon earth; and he is sincere in doing it, for she ravishes his heart by the beauties of her mind and conversation.  Piety will dispose a man to think meanly of himself, in comparison with other men, but highly of his wife, when he compares her with other women (Commentary on Proverbs, p. 570).

Author: Godfrey Gregg