Ruth, the "Virtuous Woman"
The very last Proverb in the book of Proverbs is a poem about the ideal "virtuous woman," written by King Lemuel's mother (this queen is believed by some to be Bathsheba - thanks for the insight, John Foss). Wish we had more writings from women in the Bible, but grateful for the few gems that made it in! This poem is a complicated, clever piece known as an "alphabetic acrostic" - one where each line of the poem starts with the letter A, B, C, D, and so on. The alphabetic acrostic is meant to emphasize that this woman truly is “all that,” she is the complete package from A to Z. Quoting the Jewish Society's Tanakh: "Contrary to a common notion of woman's status in the ancient world, this woman has considerable independence in interacting with outsiders and conducting business, even in acquiring real estate." Some particular lines that stuck out to me include: "She sees that her business thrives; Her lamp never goes out at night"