The “Eshet Chayil” Woman

“A WOMAN OF VALOR WHO CAN FIND. HER WORTH IS FAR ABOVE JEWELS,” PROVERBS 31:10

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Woman of Valor

When you read Proverbs 31, you may wonder, “Who is this woman? How can she possibly manage to do all of this and survive?” This woman seems to have it all together. No doubt, many women have felt unable to live up to her faultless example of womanhood. I know I have. Yet, there is much we can learn from the virtuous woman.

For starters, Proverbs 31 is a poem of praise to an excellent wife. It is a Jewish tradition to read or sing at the beginning of Shabbat, on Friday night at the dinner table. Husbands sing this celebration of womanhood to their wives to honor them for making the house a home. Proverbs 31: 29–31 says, “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” No doubt, many women do not think of blessing, honor, or praise when they hear Proverbs 31:10-31. They read her accomplishments and feel like they can never live up to the standard this woman embodies.

“Who Can Find an Eshet Chayil Woman? She is worth far more than rubies.” – Proverbs 31:10 How does the Proverbs 31 woman relate to having courage? Let’s unpack this a little more and take a closer look at this awesome woman. Proverbs 31 isn’t about being superwoman. It’s not about being perfect. It is a poem in praise of women. It is about bravery, courage, and strength. Her example reveals the potential within each one of us which, if properly understood, will transform our personal lives and the world around us as we carry out the many roles within our sphere of influence as women. She is a heroine and role model for what we should all aspire to. She embodies the qualities of insight, patience, influence, and balance. I like to think of her as “poetry in motion.” She is someone who moves with tactful elegance, with graceful confidence and courage to accomplish all she sets her heart to do. The Hebrew word eshet is a construct from isha (woman), and chayil (bravery; capability; triumph; a rampart; or wealth).1

The eshet chayil then represents virtues of courage and strength. Eshet Chayil is a woman who has risen above the others. She is not only strong and courageous, but she is business-savvy. She is a competent leader and force for God. To know her is to appreciate her strength, insight, talents and grace. She uses her wisdom, faithfulness and obedience to God to accomplish all that she has been given to do.

“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.”

Elisabeth Elliot

We all need courage to face the everyday challenges of life, big and small; to confront our own inner demons and to choose faith, hope and love over despair and skepticism. We need courage to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us; to stand for Christ in a culture which opposes and ridicules our faith; and to hear God’s calling on our lives and pursue it, however difficult it may be. A woman can bring glory to God with her life whether she is married or single, a mother or childless. Ruth is such a woman.  She is a truly remarkable person of character. In Ruth 1-2, we see that even in the face of tremendous loss, she is loyal to her mother-in-law, vowing to follow her wherever she goes and provide for her once they arrive. Ruth is a woman of valor because she lived her life with incredible bravery, wisdom, and strength. She is a fierce woman because she puts her trust in an Almighty God. She is you, every time you trust in God and do not lean on your own understanding, every time you ask for wisdom, and every time you obey God despite the circumstances you face.

Blessing,

Minister Dr. A. Francine Green

__________________________________

ENDNOTES

All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard (NASB) unless otherwise noted.

  1. Parsons, John J.,“Eshet Chayil – Praising a Woman of Valor – Hebrew for Christians,” Hebrews For Christians, April 8, 2017, http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Blessings/Shabbat_Blessings/Eshet_Chayil/eshet_chayil.html

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