At the end of Proverbs is this wonderful poem about the “worthy woman.”
Proverbs teaches us that we are who we run with. Our companions make a difference. So in a book often addressed to “sons,” it’s most fitting that it end with a poem about the kind of woman we want our boys to marry. It is an acrostic poem about a woman who is the embodiment of the kind of wisdom described in the Proverbs.
Companions should be trustworthy – particularly our companions for life, those who know us fully, deeply, and intimately (vs. 11). She is industrious (vs. 15), not lazy, prudent (vs. 16) and her industry increases her wealth. This wealth is the means of caring for her family (vs. 21), but not just her family; also the poor (vs. 20). She fears the Lord (vs. 30) and her words are words of wisdom (vs. 26).
Why is the poem about a woman and not a man?
I can suggest four reasons: First, the book is mainly addressed to men. Perhaps the compiler is attempting to be even handed. Second, wisdom is personified in chapters 1, 8-9 as a woman. The writer is just picking up on that figure. Third, “wisdom” in Hebrew is a feminine noun. Again, the writer is building on that.
Finally, The industriousness and righteousness of this woman puts many men to shame. Perhaps, in the end, that is the reason. If this worthy woman has these qualities, what man would want to be less worthy than her?