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Sabbath School Lessons on Proverbs
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 39 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 13: Women and Wine *
Introduction: "Women and Wine" sounds like a song, right? Women,
thinking this might not be heading in a direction that will put them
in a good light, are asking, "Why not Men and Beer?" The Proverbs
have given us positive advice to improve our lives and this, our last
lesson in this series, will be no different. We will not only study
God's positive message for women, we start out with a woman's wisdom.
Let's dive into the Bible and see what we can learn!
- Lemuel's Mother's Wisdom!
- Read Proverbs 31:1. Who is the source of this wisdom?
- Read Proverbs 31:2-3. Why does Lemuel's mother state the
things she does in verse two? (She is reminding Lemuel of
how close they are - she is his mother, the one who gave
birth to him and made vows about him. His name means "for
God," so this suggests that she dedicated him to God.)
- What warning does Lemuel's mother give him in
Proverbs 31:3? (Not to spend his "strength" on women
or his "vigor" on "those who ruin kings.")
- Why refer to "strength" and "vigor?" (I think
the idea is that you should not dedicate too
much of your time to women or those things (or
people) that will ruin you as a ruler. Many
think that "Lemuel" is actually Solomon. Since
Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1
Kings 11:3), we can understand the worry about
his strength and vigor.)
- Read Proverbs 31:4-5. Why are only kings and rulers
mentioned and not others? (The concern is that they will
lose sight of the "rule of law." Instead of ruling by what
the law requires, the king will forget the law and just do
what he decides is appropriate when he is not thinking too
- Have you ever done something inappropriate when you
were not thinking too clearly?
- Read Proverbs 23:20-21. What do these verses say is the
problem with drinking or eating too much? ("Drowsiness."
Again, we see the problem is that you lose your clarity of
thought at a time when it is important to get things
- Read Proverbs 31:6-7. To whom does Lemuel's mother think
giving beer and wine is a good idea? (To those who are
dying, those who are sad.)
- Why is this a good idea? (We don't want the king to
forget the rules, but for some it would be better to
- Does this seem to be common sense advice? I
understand the counsel to ease the pain of the
dying, but does it help the sad and depressed
to give them alcohol? (It hardly seems like a
helpful long-term solution.)
- Read Proverbs 31:8-9. As you consider the verses we have
just read in Proverbs 31, do you think the primary concern
is about drinking and spending too much time with women?
(The focus seems to be on doing what is right. What is
expected of kings is that they will keep to the rule of
law regardless of the status of the person standing in
judgment. Those who are not educated and articulate, those
who are poor and cannot help the king, those kind of
persons are just as entitled to justice as anyone else.)
- The Woman to Find
- Read Proverbs 31:10. I think the first line, "A wife of
noble character, who can find?" is a rhetorical question.
What is supposed to be the answer? (Such women are rare -
- Read Proverbs 31:11. When it says the husband of a "ruby
wife" "lacks nothing of value," does that mean a ruby wife
makes a lot of money? (No. If you have a good wife, you
have everything you need.)
- Read Proverbs 31:12. How do you know you have a ruby wife?
(She brings her husband good and not harm.)
- Ruby wives are supposed to be rare. How difficult is
it to bring good and not harm to your spouse?
- What do you think is the key to being able to
accomplish this? (Living by the direction of the Holy
Spirit is the first requirement. But, it seems to me
that unselfishness is the goal.)
- Read Proverbs 31:13-15. Do ruby wives get up early? (Yes!)
- What do you think about the comparison of a ruby wife
to a "merchant ship?" (Merchant shipping brought
great wealth and diversity of goods. It seems to be a
high compliment to compare a good wife to this
revolution in commerce.)
- Read Proverbs 31:16. This is an astonishing statement from
a historical point of view. Note that women have often
been denied the right to own property. What does this say
is a goal for a wife? (To make her own business judgment
("considers a field"), to own her own money and property
("buys it out of her earnings"), and to engage in business
("she plants a vineyard").)
- Read Proverbs 31:17-18. What does this say about the image
of a weak, dependant women? (It says just the opposite is
- What other business is engaged in by this ruby wife?
(She makes a profit trading.)
- What does this say about the Bible's view of free
enterprise? (It commends it and it recommends that
women be a part of it.)
- Read Proverbs 31:19 and Proverbs 31:22 & 24.
"Distaff"(verse 19)is not part of my vocabulary. The
commentators are not clear on exactly what this means, but
most believe this is some sort of spinning device for
making cloth. Verses 22 and 24 support this idea.)
- Look again at Proverbs 31:22. What do you think of
her clothing? (These are not ordinary clothes. They
are fine, valuable clothes. They suggest wealth.)
- Read 1 Peter 3:3-4. Is the description of a ruby wife
in Proverbs 31 at odds with Peter's description of a
Christian wife? (The two texts should be read
together. Peter says true beauty comes from character
and actions. Read consistently with Proverbs 31,
Peter is not saying that jewelry, fine clothes and
carefully prepared hair are prohibited, he is just
saying that they should not be the source of a
woman's true beauty.)
- Read Proverbs 31:20. What is her attitude toward the poor?
(She helps them.)
- What do you think the reference to "arms" and "hands"
means? ("Open arms" seems to reflect the attitude of
welcoming the poor, having sympathy for them. "Hands"
tells us that both of her hands help the needy. Her
attitude is backed by "two handed" action!)
- Read Proverbs 31:23. What does her husband have to do with
this? Does it mean that ruby wives marry well? (She has
something to do with his success.)
- Read Proverbs 31:25. Is she facing a funny future? (Notice
her attitudes: strength, dignity, and no worry about the
- Since no human can predict the future, is this wife
foolish, reckless? (The last half of Matthew 6
contains instructions about not worrying about the
future. God will take care of us. However, Proverbs
31 adds an essential point, we need to be diligent
today. God is not saying, "be lazy and don't worry."
He is saying, "be diligent and trust Me.")
- Read Proverbs 31:28-29. Mothers, what kind of attitude do
you want your children and husband to have of you?
(Following this formula gets you great reviews from your
- Read Proverbs 31:30. Men, how would you go about finding a
ruby wife? What are the considerations? (Charm, beauty and
her relationship to God.)
- Which is the most important? (A woman's relationship
with God. Beauty often departs with age. Some women
are only nice when they are dating. But a
relationship with God can be an eternal attribute.)
- Read Proverbs 31:31. How should husbands treat their ruby
wives? (With rewards and praise!)
- Friend, consider God's affirming attitude toward women in
this chapter. First, God tells us they are a source of
practical advice. Second, he tells us that they should be
allowed to use their extraordinary abilities to bless
those around them.
- Next week: We begin the study of the Gospel of Luke.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.