We are all image bearers. In Genesis chapter one, it says God created mankind in His own image, male and female (v27). This Mother’s Day weekend, we celebrate moms. We celebrate the God nature in us. We are physically designed and spiritually designed to nurture and guide.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Yet, I’d like to take the banner and run further. Regardless of where we (women) fall on the feminine spectrum: Princess to tomboy. Small to big. Young to old. We are women, we are female (regardless of the world’s confusion). Proverbs 31 gives examples of a woman (don’t groan). When we begin reading it – we are exhausted. When done with the last verse, we can be overwhelmed with all that is listed. BUT. It is not a job-description. It is a – celebration. (Stay with me, I’ll explain).
At first glance it is strongly assumed it is written by a man. Well, it is … kinda. Most jump straight to the popular verses, beginning at verse ten and neglect the opening (vv1-9). It is a man telling what his mom taught him. One Jewish tradition claims the mom is Bathsheba teaching this to her son, Solomon. She tells her son not to spend himself on women (plural). Do not waste yourself on wine. And to be bold speaking up for the poor and helpless, – THIS is what a king does. The following twenty-two verses are acrostic (the first letter of each sentence is in alphabetical order, in the Hebrew).
Mom goes on say, but this “woman” (singular) she is worth far more than valuable jewels. If the son is Solomon, it is said in 1 Kings 10, that he was the riches king, riches man on earth, and well, that wealth doesn’t stack up to a woman who “fears the Lord” (Prov 31:30). A woman who is faithful, kind, prepared, charitable, hardworking, smart and confident. She is a good wife and mother.
Verse 10, (paraphrasing) “Who can find such a woman of virtue.” Many translations say, “wife” due to the context that she has a husband. In the Hebrew “eishet chayil” (woman of virtue). Chayil paints a vibrant picture. It can mean brave, excellent and noble. It conveys a military tone as well, “one of war” – a warrior. She is a woman of valor. She is strong.
Of the 235 times “chayil” is used in scripture, all refer to either God or men. All except – two. Here, where Mom tells the son, a good God-fearing woman, a kind, STRONG woman is worthy of your interest, your strength. The other? Ruth.
In Ruth chapter three, just before Boaz is about to begin the process of taking her as his wife, he says the people of his village know her to be “eishet chayil” – “You, Ruth, are a woman of strength.” You are hardworking, brave, faithful and wise. Ruth, unlike the Proverbs 31 gal, is not married (she was, he died). She does not have any children.
Ruth goes on to marry Boaz and together they have a son named Obed. He had a son named Jesse – he had a son named David. This eishet chayil (woman of strength) was King David’s great-grandmother. David went on to have a son named Solomon. (God is the most brilliant Orchestrator!)
Oh, beloved women of God, what a great connecting story! A Godly woman is both married AND single. She has children, while others do not. All women are to be celebrated. Do not allow others to define you or frame you. Not to be compared with – be celebrated.
Be blessed in your image bearing – to the glory of God.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Hebrews 10:24).
I had the honor of speaking this to the women of our church this weekend at our annual Mother Daughter Tea & Breakfast. I encouraged them to go back and read all of Proverbs 31 (and the 4 chapters of Ruth). May the Holy Spirit breathe over them their worth – far more than valuable jewels.
Please note: It is the Jewish young men, who are encouraged to memorize Proverbs 31, NOT the young gals. It is also tradition: at the Shabbat meal the men sing the Eishet Chayil (traditional Proverbs 31 song) to the matriarch and the women of the family – they celebrate them – weekly.