Jordan writes: "I have always interpreted Proverbs 31 similarly—the wife is not only hardworking, capable, and kind, but wise and intelligent as well. She owns her own business, and seems very independent. I hope to imitate her, though of course she's idealized. As a Christian in Texas, however, I am surrounded by people of a different opinion. Conservative evangelicals seem to take the proverb as a declaration of women belonging to the domestic sphere (Huh? I thought she owned her own business, bought a field with her earnings.) My liberal Episcopalian friends deplore this passage, saying that it does not in fact describe a woman to look up to."
Jordan goes on to ask how various religious traditions interpret the passage. Do many Christians in fact see it as a declaration that women belong in the domestic sphere? How do Jews interpret the passage? Does any group give it the more feminist reading that Jordan proposes, viewing it as affirmation that women should be independent and entrepreneurial?