Proverbs 31:21

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

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The virtuous woman is diligent, foresightful, and classy. She looks and thinks ahead, so that future needs never catch her by surprise. She is ready for winter or any other situation that requires special preparation. Not only does she prepare in advance, but she also has a sharp eye for quality and appearance. Her family is well prepared for the cold weather, but they will also look good in the fine clothing she obtains for them.

The ideal woman fears the Lord above all else, which lays the foundation for her perfect character and conduct (Pr 31:10-12,30). Diligence is the main practical virtue of the wonderful woman in this extensive description. Verse after verse describes her energy, initiative, labor, and productivity, both in the home and in her business enterprises. She is not distracted or diverted by amusement, recreation, sleep, or vacations. She is a worker.

But hard work poorly directed is wasted effort. Wisdom is valuable for directing energy and strength in productive projects. A tree is cut down most efficiently with a sharp axe, rather than more effort applied with a dull one (Eccl 10:10). A virtuous woman has a mind as well as a back. She thinks as well as works. She looks ahead and sees the needs that are coming, so she can prepare for them in advance and be ready when they arrive.

For those living in parts of the world with seasons, one of the duties of a great woman is to have clothing prepared for the cold weather of winter. With growing children, this requires obtaining whole new sets of sweaters, coats, boots, and other protective clothing for each child. Since most budgets cannot afford all the expense at once, a wise woman plans ahead and begins securing the clothing items long before the first snow falls.

A foolish or lazy woman lives day to day. She barely makes it through each day. The future overwhelms and intimidates her – she hardly has the commitment and energy to survive today. She is preoccupied with taking a nap, getting out of fixing supper, or planning a vacation. Future needs that require budgeting and prudent shopping can wait, she says. She does not see the coming evil, and she does not hide from it (Pr 22:3; 27:12).

How does scarlet protect? Can a bright red color warm the body? This proverb – a short pithy saying with hidden wisdom – describes a great woman’s concern for quality and class, not just functionality. Rags were not dyed scarlet! Her family has warm clothing ready, but it is also attractive and stylish. She is diligent, foresightful, concerned about quality, and conscious of beauty. She overlooks nothing. She knows appearance, image, and reputation have a limited value, so she includes them in her planning and buying.

Woman, what will your family soon need? Does the house need painting? The gutters cleaned? The garden planted? The nursery furnished? The freezer filled? The daughters educated about marriage? Clothes prepared for your husband’s business trip? Long-term care planned for your parents? A preventive physical for them or you? Money set aside for an insurance bill? A wise woman will have such things taken care of with style.