Question: "Why does he who finds a wife obtain favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22)?"
Answer: The book of Proverbs is featured in the Bible’s “Wisdom Literature.” It contains practical guidelines and moral principles for developing sound character and making wise and beneficial decisions in life. Various topics are explored within Proverbs, including marriage and family. One such tenet for wise men suggests that “he who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD” (Proverbs 18:22, ESV).
It’s important to understand that the proverbs are not meant as divine promises or guarantees. These maxims are general principles. Both positive and negative statements about wives appear in Proverbs. For example, Proverbs 19:13 remarks that “a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.” Proverbs 25:24 sagely warns that it’s “better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” Further stressing the point, Proverbs 21:19 says that it’s “better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.”
On the other hand, “a prudent wife is from the LORD,” says Proverbs 19:14. So, we can be confident that Proverbs 18:22 implies that He who finds a good wife obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 12:4 confirms, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.”
In Hebrew, the wording of Proverbs 18:22 is strikingly similar to that of Proverbs 8:35: “For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.” Me in this verse refers to wisdom, suggesting that, after wisdom itself, the finest of God’s blessings is an excellent wife. Proverbs 31:10 makes a parallel analogy: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (cf. Proverbs 8:11).
So, he who finds a wife obtains favor from the Lord, but the inference is that not just any and every wife will bring favor from Yahweh. Ecclesiastes, another biblical book of wisdom literature, makes this point abundantly clear: “I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare” (Ecclesiastes 7:26).
Proverbs 14:1 warns that “the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” A prudent, God-fearing wife is a treasure, an excellent thing for a man to find.
Proverbs 31:10–31 elaborates on the blessings of a wife of noble character. This passage is an acrostic poem extolling the value of a virtuous wife. The poem’s opening question emphasizes the rarity of a virtuous woman and implies that, if a man finds such a wife for himself, he will have obtained great favor from the Lord, for “she is worth far more than rubies” (verse 10). The woman described in Proverbs 31 is trustworthy, capable, intelligent, diligent, generous, and kind, bringing her husband goodness and blessings her whole life long (verses 11–15).
The virtuous wife, bringing favor from the Lord, is both wise and humble, strong and gentle. Through her judicious business dealings, forward thinking, competence, tireless work, and strength of character, she enhances the family’s dignity, adds esteem to her husband’s reputation, and is deeply loved by her entire household (Proverbs 31:16–28). For these reasons, her children call her blessed, and her husband praises her, saying, “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (verse 29, NLT). Above all else, this is a woman who loves and fears the Lord (verse 30). A man who finds a wife of such extraordinary worth most certainly obtains favor from the Lord.