The Bible in Modern English; Section the Fourth
Translated by Ferrar Fenton
Fourth Edition, 1906
The Good Wife
(Translator’s Note – Every couplet of the following exquisitely beautiful poem begins in the original with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: the first with A [alef], the next with B [bet], and so forward to Th [tav] the final one. I am not able to reproduce this, but in all other respects my translation is word for word and line for line, as in the whole of Solomon’s writings, so as to preserve his literary form. – Ferrar Fenton)
Who ever finds a clever wife,
Her worth is more than pearls.
Her husband’s heart can trust on her,
And he wants no supply.
She gives him comfort in his grief,
While she remains alive.
She works up the wool and the flax,
And spins them with her own hands.
She, like the merchants with their ships,
Will bring home food from far.
Will rise at dawn to fix housework,
And give food to her girls.
She will survey and purchase a field;
Her profits plant the farm.
She girds her loins up with strength,
Invigorates her arms.
She tastes her trading brings her good,
So lights her lamp at night.
Her hands are to the shuttle stretched,
The spindle she can drive.
Her hands give out gifts to the poor,
Her fingers help their needs.
Her family fears not the snow;–
Her household double clothed.
She makes herself rugs for her beds;
Her robes are purple lawn [ fine linen or cotton ] ;
Her husband’s honoured in the Gates,
Sits down amongst the peers.
She makes and sells fine satin cloth,
And girdles to the trade.
In strength and honour she is clothed,
And at the future smiles.
Her mouth with wisdom is unclosed,
Kind law controls her tongue.
Her household’s conduct she controls,
And eats not idle bread.
Her children rise and call her blessed,
Her husband gives her praise;–
“Many wives have acted well,
But you surpass the whole.”
A form deceives, and beauty fades;–
A wife who fears the Lord is grand;
Give her the product of her hands;
Praise her works in the Gates.
When Jesus went into Peter’s house,
He saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.
He touched her hand and the fever left her;
and she got up and served Him.
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