This article provides an exegesis of Proverbs 31:10-31 from an economic perspective, portraying the Proverbs 31 woman as an ideal entrepreneur. She is industrious, generous, and pious in all her actions, specializing in small-scale capitalist production. As such, her behavior is consistent with the vision of entrepreneurship found in Mises and Knight. Proverbs is part of the biblical "wisdom" literature, and the specific texts viewed are intended to showcase her worthiness. Her actions are provided as proof that “many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all,” and provide a model to emulate. The woman (or man) who serves consumers effectively in private markets will bring honor to her (his) household while securing the material goods necessary to serve her (his) family and the poor. The profit gained in her entrepreneurial activity is described as unquestionably good, providing a powerful rebuke towards Marxist thought that profit is necessarily exploitive.
- biblical entrepreneur,
- free markets
© 2012 Association of Christian Economists