Proverbs 12:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 12:4, NIV: "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones."

Proverbs 12:4, ESV: "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones."

Proverbs 12:4, KJV: "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones."

Proverbs 12:4, NASB: "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones."

Proverbs 12:4, NLT: "A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones."

Proverbs 12:4, CSB: "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a wife who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones."

What does Proverbs 12:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Having written about a good man (Proverbs 12:2), Solomon writes now about an excellent wife. Using regal terminology implies that such a woman possesses noble character and ability. Just as a crown identifies a man as royalty to others, a good woman does the same by bringing her husband honor and dignity.

Proverbs 31 describes such a woman in further detail. Among the many things she does, the writer of Proverbs 31 says she does her husband good (Proverbs 31:12). She is far more valuable to her husband than jewels (Proverbs 31:10), and wisdom and kindness flow from her mouth (Proverbs 31:26). Ruth was an excellent woman. Boaz complimented Ruth, whom he eventually married, by saying, "All my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman" (Ruth 3:11).

Unfortunately, not all wives are excellent. Solomon writes here that a wife who lacks discretion (Proverbs 11:22) by inviting a bad reputation, or ridicule, also brings her husband pain. Just as decaying bones would cause severe pain, so a wife of ignoble character causes her husband great angst. Choosing a wife, therefore, is an extremely important matter. While Solomon speaks immediately to his "sons," (Proverbs 1:8), the concept is not limited to wives. Both spouses can be honored, or shamed, by the conduct of their partner.