Please Support the Bible Translation Work of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
The Good Wife
Proverbs 12:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 A good wife is the crown of her husband,
but like rottenness in his bones is she who brings shame.
A capable wife is the crown of her husband: Capable (חַיִל chayil) is the quality that renders the wife desirable and essential. The capable wife of her husband is like a capable servant of God in that she has good values, is virtuous, possesses moral excellence, is generous with both her time and her money, is merciful, shows loving-kindness, and is truthful. She does not condone or participate in any way with badness. However, in this context, capable refers explicitly to her strength, respect, and supportiveness. The sense is of noble character, strong character, and a worthy person. (Ru 3:11; 1Ki 1:42; Pr 12:4; 31:10) The capable wife is a spiritual person who is industrious, competent, faithful, trustworthy, supportive, and wise. The crown (עֲטָרָה atarah) is a symbol of her behavior and demeanor that brings honor to her husband and raises him up so that others can see what a great man he is.
but like rottenness in his bones is she who brings shame: Brings shame is contrasted with the honor shown to the husband in line one. Shame (בּוֹשׁ bosh) is the dishonor that the foolish, disrespectful, unsupportive wife brings on her husband. She has failed her husband when he needed her most. Bringing shame means bringing dishonor and disgrace. This wife who brings shame on her husband does so by dishonoring him and bringing disgrace upon him. It is like rottenness in his bones, like a disease that weakens the body and so will weaken their relationship until it is no more, dead.
Everyone has heard the saying, “Behind every successful man there is a good woman.” Proverbs 12:4 points to the importance of a supportive wife. The qualities of a good wife, as described in detail in Proverbs chapter 31, include industriousness, faithfulness, competency, trustworthiness, respectfulness, and wisdom. The good wife who possesses these attributes is a crown to her husband because of the manner in which she presents her husband to others. She never pushes ahead of him or tries to draw attention to herself over him. Instead, she is the balance, the harmony, the complement to her husband. It should be noted that the husband should never push ahead of his wife or try to draw attention to himself over her.
How is it that the wife might act shamefully, and with what outcome? This shameful conduct could very well range from quarrelsomeness to flirting with others, to adultery. (Proverbs 7:10-23; 19:13) Any such action from the wife will only destroy the marriage like a fatal disease destroys the body, bringing shame on the husband. She is like rottenness in his bones in the sense that she weakens the marriage to the point of ruination. As Christian wives, many seek to find favor with God and their husbands by reflecting the attributes of a good wife.
Leave a Reply