By Kimberly Hahn
Kimberly Hahn is a Catholic speaker and author who for decades has shared her wisdom with other wives and mothers. She is the author of several books, including Chosen and Cherished: Biblical Wisdom for Your Marriage.
The word for “jewels” in Hebrew refers to something very costly, like rubies or pearls. Proverbs 31 tells us that these pale in comparison to the value of a godly wife.
In Matthew 13:45-46 Jesus tells us about a man who searches for fine pearls. When he finds an exquisite one, he sells everything he owns so he can possess that pearl. The pearl to which Jesus refers is the gospel, worth any price. The Church, possessing the gospel, is a bride of inestimable worth. A similar understanding can be applied to a godly wife: She is worth any amount of sacrifice to her husband and children.
The queen mother knows the king’s temptation to consider a wife as a possession, one more thing to get. By highlighting that a wife is far more precious than jewels, she is telling him to keep his perspective. Conversely, her teaching also serves as a reminder to all women to be careful of any man who treats them as a mere possession.
Earlier in Proverbs wisdom is personified as a woman: “She is more precious than jewels, / and nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:15). As we grow in wisdom, we become more refined in our speech, blessing others with our words. We exemplify the proverb that says, “There is gold, and abundance of costly stones; / but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel” (Proverbs 20:15). As godly wives and mothers, our wise words are of inestimable value.
Who or what determines our value? If we look to our present culture, we get one set of answers; if we look to the Lord, we get a very different answer. The world judges us on appearances; God judges the heart.
External criteria include youthfulness, beauty, talent, skill, wealth, intelligence and fame. Though certain individuals excel in these areas, even the “winners” know they stand on shaky ground.
Those with youth or beauty know that it is just a matter of time before someone younger or more beautiful garners attention. Even pageant queens can list flaws they would correct to be more attractive. One attractive but aging actress wondered if she had “the courage” to refuse plastic surgery.
Those with money constantly compare themselves to others with more. How much is enough to be satisfied or to feel secure?
Those with fame—for their physical prowess, skill or talent—wonder how long they will remain in the limelight. And though the rich and famous may appear happy, the papers are replete with stories of their loneliness and isolation.
For some, it is not beauty or brawn that defines them, but their brains establish their sense of worth. They pursue higher levels of education and seek career advancement and its monetary rewards. Yet they know that younger people, willing to be paid less for the same job, are in line waiting for the opportunity. Eventually retirement comes, and then what is left of an identity so closely associated with mental acuity and job performance?
Even marital status can give a false sense of value. Perhaps a woman remains single to prove she does not need a man, only to end up lonely. Or a woman marries in search of an identity, only to discover a sense of loss or abandonment instead of fulfillment. Though our spouses and children should affirm our worth, they do not determine our worth.
In stark contrast to all of these ways to measure our value, God speaks to the heart of his beloved daughters and sons. He says, You are precious because I made you and redeemed you. I give you your sense of worth.
Chosen and Cherished offers biblical insight that will nurture your heart—and your marriage. With advice on everything from prioritizing relationships, communication, financial goals, and more, Kimberly Hahn invites you to boldly embrace Proverbs 31.