Proverbs 31.23 — Reputation

“Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” The city gate was traditional place for the city elders to gather to do business (see Lot in Sodom’s gate in Gen 19:1) and to hear legal arguments was at the city gate (see Ruth 4:1-4). Old Babylonian records note the legal role of the elders in judging land disputes, hearing the taking of oaths, and serving as witnesses to various transactions (see Jer. 32:12). This means the husband of the woman in Prov. 31 is a leader in the community.

Previous proverbs have taught that a woman can be her husband’s undoing (Prov. 14.1). Here it is implied that she has been an element in her husband’s success. For him to be the success that he is translates that she has treated him with respect and honor, and not tearing him down by berating him, telling negative stories about him in public, or making him feel worthless and stupid. It is implied that her behavior and her treatment of him have worked to enhance the respect of him in the community. In keeping with the teachings in Proverbs, to do such, she must be living with a reverent spirit, a grateful heart, a servant’s attitude, and a clear conscience.

The implication is that the husband can achieve such a significant status only with the support of his wife. Her reputation enhances his.

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