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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Anne Pratt :: The Excellent Woman of Proverbs 31

Anne Pratt :: Proverbs 31 Verse 28

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The expression of rising up to bless the parent may have some allusion to the eastern practice of rising and bowing to the ground before the head of the family, as this mode of reverence is very general. Its full meaning, however, appears to be that in which it would be taken in our land; that the children rise from infancy to childhood, and on to youth and manhood, with hearts full of affection, and grateful recollections of the worth of an excellent mother.

It has been said that home praise is the truest praise; and it is certain we can be known by none so well as by those who surround the family hearth. A far higher virtue and more consistent excellence belongs to her of whom all her household can speak well, than to those who can shine only in company, and who require but the charms of politeness and the graces of conversation to gain approval. And how pleasant is it to hear the blessings bestowed by the child on the name of the good mother! Who shall tell the hours of anxiety, the words of care and tenderness, which such a mother has bestowed on his infancy; the sleepless nights, and careful days, and all the maternal solicitudes, which shielded from harm his childhood and early youth; and which, as he grew older, changed their mode of expression, but never lost sight of their object? Truly did Gray say, "We can never have but one mother." No love, not even the tenderest, can equal hers; for she will love on, though sickness should wither the flower and turn all its beauty into decay; and fix her firmest and deepest affection on that one of her children who has the least of outward grace and loveliness. Her love, unlike all others, can withstand neglect, and ingratitude, and forgetfulness. The prodigal son may stray from his home, and the world may frown on him-and frown justly; and all the love of neighbours, or of friends, or even of brother or sister, may have been worn out by his folly and wickedness; yet is there a stream of love in the mother's heart, ever fresh and ever living; he is still her own loved son; and one word of penitence, one look of sorrow, will win forgiveness for a life of unkindness. The love of a mother is like the bounty of God, who "causeth his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

It is indeed a sure proof of their excellent education, when all the children of a family can arise and call their mother blessed. And when all are gathered in the circle of love, such a home presents the loveliest scene on earth.

"Domestic Happiness, thou only bliss
Of Paradise that has survived the fall!
Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure;
Or tasting, long enjoy thee; too infirm
Or too incautious to preserve thy sweets
Unmixed with drops of bitter, which neglect
Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup.
Thou art the nurse of Virtue-in thine arms
She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is,
Heaven‐born, and destined to the skies again."

When the law was given from Mount Sinai to ancient Israel, we find included in it not only the reverence of the father, but "Thou shalt honour thy father and thy mother," was its direct injunction. It would be from the lip of his mother that the Jewish child would learn his most sacred lessons. It must be remembered that the young Israelite had no school but his home. He was not sent away from the paternal roof to gather learning; but under its happy shadow he learned, from his parents' lips, his knowledge of business, of life and duty, and became early familiar with the law of God. He had not, perhaps, even his smaller Bible to refer to, but this law was taught in the house when the family met together; it was written up upon the gates of the city, and read aloud by the priests and Levites to assembled multitudes. It does not seem that, previous to the Babylonish captivity, the ancient Israelites had schools, save those for the "sons of the prophets"-the pious youths who were destined to be teachers in Israel-but many a mother's tongue could tell of Israel's Hope, the glorious Messiah, the Prince of the people, for whom every devout Israelite was hoping and looking; and for whose advent the Hebrew matron was so anxious, that she grieved if she was childless, because she hoped that from her house might spring forth the "Prophet like unto Moses." Guided by his mother's hand, the Jewish child went to the temple which God had chosen. From her lip he learned the meaning of those yearly festivals, when every male among the Jews appeared in Jerusalem, the holy city; and when, in after times, they sang, as they went up, that beautiful psalm-"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together: whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord" (Psa 122:1-4). And thus the pious Hebrew mother would weave with her child's earliest impressions, a store of associations to bless his after years. Oh that every mother in our own land would make her home a nursery for God; and teach such Christian principle, and enjoin such Christian practice, as would fully insure her children's love; then of every British mother might it be said, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed."

The husband of the excellent woman is represented as adding his praise to that of the younger members of the family. He could indeed point to her example for their imitation. He could praise her, not alone for the comfort which her useful energy cast throughout his home, but for the sweetness which her gentleness and goodness brought into it, and which rendered it so attractive. He could tell of enjoyment provided by her industry; of anxieties prevented by her caution; of sorrows lightened by her sympathy; and could perhaps look around on children walking in the fear of the Lord, who learned that fear from the teaching of their mother.

"Oh, say to mothers what a holy charge
Is theirs!-with what a kingly power their love
Might rule the fountain of the new‐born mind!
Warn them to wake at early dawn, and sow
Good seed before the world hath sown her tares;
Nor in their toil decline-that angel bands
May put their sickle in, and reap for God,
And gather to his garner."

Proverbs 31 Verse 27 ← Prior Section
Proverbs 31 Verse 29 Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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