Proverbs 31:17 “She girdeth her loins with strength,
and strengtheneth her arms.”
“I’ll get to it later.” How many times have we said that? It is not really sensible; after all, why save for tomorrow what you can do today? However, we tend to procrastinate, and procrastination makes us weak and vulnerable to worry, hurry and, ultimately, sin. In contrast, a Proverbs 31 woman of noble character gains virtue through rigorous work and is strong because she does not put off till tomorrow what should be done today. By pushing herself to finish her tasks, she strengthens herself tremendously and by extension her family.
Note that the picture here is of a warrior, not a “soft” woman. “She girdeth her loins with strength” refers to the reinforcing armor that a warrior would wear into battle. The “loins” are the area between the belly button and the knees, where the femoral artery is located. A favorite battle trick was to slash a soldier in the leg so that he would quickly lose blood and die, or stab the soft, unprotected lower belly. Therefore, armor was reinforced in this area so that the vulnerable loins would be protected.
“Strengthening her arms” is also a battle reference, this time to the gear that would cover the arms to protect them. As a warrior fought, his arms were right out in front, waiting to be slashed or stabbed by a sword. When warriors placed greaves over their arms, it gave them extra protection and strength. Another interpretation of this picture is of a warrior building up strength in the arms by exercising or perhaps lifting heavy objects.
Why does a strong woman like Sondra in the Parker Valley series need to think about battle? The battle in this case is not physical but spiritual. A Proverbs 31 woman of noble character knows that, just as we learn in Ephesians 6:10-18, putting on the “whole armor of God” is necessary to withstand temptation and remain strong in the Lord. Women of faith and strength can resist Satan’s wicked darts because they do not procrastinate. Instead, they gird themselves in preparation for battle every day and remain alert and vigilant.