What Alice described is not the “Super Woman,” who is so intimidating to women and perplexing to men, but a literary device that brings to conclusion the word pictures of Lady Wisdom and the Foolish Woman that show up early in the Proverbs.
What surprised me is the way this last chapter of proverbs came to life when considered as a way of summing up the nature of wisdom for all.
As Alice reminded us, Proverbs 31 begins with an explanation by King Lemuel that these are the words of wisdom that his mother gave him. Verses 1-9 talk about not giving his strength and honor away to that which will consume him. Verse 10 then begins the description of the kind of trustworthy woman who will help him. Written in Hebrew acrostic poetry— for purposes of memorization, it would conceivably be memorized by both sons and daughters.
The woman, Alice suggests, and I think makes so much sense, is “Lady Wisdom”.
The problem for some of us men is that we may have a hard time seeing wisdom in a description of a woman of strength who seems to do everything. It requires some “gender language translation”—which as it turns out is what women have always had to do with man-centered language, illustration, and communication.
Am wondering whether this is enough to make you want to take another look. If so, see if you think it makes more sense to see in “the virtuous woman” something that is more like a riddle about the wisdom we all need— rather than a single Super Woman who makes all other women feel like they are never doing enough.