Woman of strength, part 1

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  Proverbs 31:10

Proverbs 31 describes the way a woman of virtue is supposed to be.  It was written to a King Lemuel, but we do not know who that is, or how it wound up with the Proverbs of Solomon.

Since there is so much here, I will stretch it out over a series of posts.  Before I get started I’d like to point out the meaning of virtue in this verse.    The Hebrew word for virtue in this verse is “Chayil” which means strength, power, might, as in military strength.  This is  interesting considering it is speaking about a woman.  Gesenius’ Lexicon says, to show oneself strong, to display valour.    So, this is speaking, not about physical strength, but strength of character.

The first couple of verses speak to her abilities as a wife:

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  Proberbs 31:11-12

So, the woman of strength looks out for the interests of her husband, is good to him, and is also a good steward of what he has given her so that he doesn’t need to seek “spoil”, which is goods that are captured through warfare.  The Expanded Bible says “lacks no plunder.”  So she cares for his good so well, it’s as if he took plunder from war.

She is a woman of industry, keeps busy, and sees to the needs of her household:

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.  Proverbs 31:13-15  

The strong woman is productive, and goes to great lengths to get the best bargains for her household’s needs.  She ensures that the needs of those in her house are taken care of, including servants.  It’s an important point that she has servants—she is doing all this work on her own.  Some people like to interpret that she is performing all of her work by herself but it’s clear from this last verse that she has servants to assist her.

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.   She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  Proverbs 16-18

With the money she made by her productivity, she buys a field and plants a vineyard, so she uses her resources to purchase a field that will produce even more.   This isn’t to indicate she did the actual planting, but that she bought the field with her earning and has a vineyard planted there.  She isn’t afraid to do physical work; however it is highly unlikely that she herself did the planting.   Verse 17 indicates she is not lazy and does work hard.  She recognizes quality merchandise and ensures hers is good.  She stays up late to work at what she is doing.

More to come….

Pamela Parizo © 2017