(Bhaju Ram Takhachen Shrestha)
To qualify the title of this article, it does demand the evidences of being a virtuous woman so that the readers can have verdict on it. Different culture or religions may have own definition of a virtuous woman, which certainly does not make it un-virtuous. The author of this article would like to fish out the definition of a virtuous woman found in the wisdom literature, called Chapter 31 of Book of Proverb that is honored by the seeker of wisdom throughout the centuries. This book is found in the Bible. This book was credited to the King Solomon of Israel. According to the Bible he was said to be the wisest man ever lived (1 Kings 3:11). He lived about 3 thousand years ago. He not only wrote his own proverbs but also collected wise sayings from other people in other countries giving us the message that wisdom has not national boundaries and is given by God to all who see it in sincerity. Also, wisdom found in other literature or folklore does not make it false.
According to the Proverb, the definition of a virtuous woman is given by the mother of an obscure king Lemuel who was not necessary a Jew or from Israel but a believer in the Creator God who cares for His people. He recalls the advice of his mother who must be virtuous herself. She starts fist defining in one sentence who is not a virtuous woman. She says a woman who destroys a king should not be given attention. Every man is the king of his own; therefore he should be aware of a woman who makes him fall. Actually it is not fair to discredit such a tone only to a woman. If a man allows her to destroy he should be blamed initially not the woman. If a man cannot control himself and flutter around with women and falls, who should really, be blamed? Whether is the Bible or elsewhere in a popular saying, a woman is considered to be a fire. Therefore one should be aware of how he handles fire.
Before the mother defines who is virtuous woman to the son, the king, she challenges her son to be virtuous himself by not drinking wine that perverse the judgment and judge righteously and plead cause of the poor and needy. She wants her son to be worthy king-the king who was to have compassion and care for the poor and dejected class. (In modern context a king can be any one who is a leader that leads his or her country). Then the mother of the king goes on to define a woman with virtues. According to her a virtuous woman is worth far above precious stones like rubies or she is priceless which means she could not be bought or sold. her husband can trust her, she is dependable and good to the husband in all her life, she is a hard worker, she is like a merchant’s ship loaded with all goods that a household need (which means she is a co-provider for the house, not depending totally on her husband for the family’s all necessaries), in her initiative land is bought and she works in the field, she is not weak and pliable but a strong woman which means she possess a strong personality, she is generous to the poor and needy, her family does not have to worry about the weather since she prepares for whatever weather that may come, she sells her handicrafts to earn money which means she is clever with her hand indicating she is a skilled worker, she does not deck herself with jewelry or ornaments to show how rich she is but her hard work, good character and honor are her ornaments, she is not a gossiper but she is a source of wisdom and she is ethically kind. Her husband and children appreciates her because she is mindful of presence of Lord God in all what she does. Her husband is honored and sought as counselors and decision makers in the community he lives. His image is built on the virtuous wife that he has. She is a lead person in the family, she keeps the family together and she is the health of the family. Commending her, the Book of Proverb closes saying she deserves her right not just because she is a woman but because what she does and how she is.
When a husband treats a wife with respect and the wife treats husband with respect, a little heaven is created on earth. The above definition of a virtuous woman and a just king or husband gives no place for the family violence in which the children experience hell on earth. Un-virtuous daughter-in-law and mother-in-law live through a soap opera that makes every one’s life miserable in the family. Education, wealth, affluent class, high or low cast do not necessary change the atmosphere of home if there is no dignity in relationship with each other. I wonder why Naryan Gopal sang, “I want to end my life by drinking.” Did his mother give him birth at the risk of her own life so that her son would die of drinking? Virtuous wife or mother with virtuous husband or father creates virtuous family. How interesting, the when God created man and woman, He said, “Be fruitful and multiply” or be virtuous, then multiply. But today multiply first and then try to be fruitful resulting most of the families in the world living against the grain that God wants or in chaos. Drug problem, violence, terrorism, depression, unhappiness dominate today’s society. Billions of dollars are spent to eradicate these negative characters of society but the situation continues to get worsen. The reason? Could it be the lack of home that has virtuous mother or father, husband or wife?
July 21, 2016