The Proverbs 31 Woman is an ideal and often feels impossible to obtain. As described in Proverbs 31, she belongs on the cover of Forbes Magazine as well as Cosmopolitan. Is she a fairy tale character?
Proverbs 31 Woman: Cinderella?
As some of you know, I perpetually work on my novel which I describe as the real story of Cinderella. Interestingly, I find many similarities between Cinderella and the Proverbs 31 Woman–at least in perception. Most people describe Cinderella as a meek, mild, hard working survivor who is saved by a handsome, powerful, loving prince. That may be true, but there is more to her than that.
Please understand, I consider Cinderella a real person, because she is–she is in every woman I know–just like the Proverbs 31 Woman. We struggle and we prevail. We wish and we work. We trust and we get hurt. We go to the ball and we run away. But in no way are we perfect…and neither is the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Chayil – H2428
In verse 10, this woman is described as noble, virtuous, excellent, and capable, depending on the translation you read, but these words fall short not only in meaning, but also in scope. The Hebrew word used to describe this ideal wife is chayil (H2428) and means valiant, strong, courageous, able, mighty, etc. This word is used to describe powerful armies such as Joshua’s (Joshua 6:2), qualities in a ruler (Ex. 18:25), and Boaz even used this word to describe the courage of Ruth. Is anyone singing Helen Reddy right now? Yes, we are powerful and strong, but only if we have courage.
Courage is the beginning of the Proverbs 31 Woman. All the positive attributes that follow in this chapter stems from her courage. She must believe she is capable and useful. She must believe she is worthy and lovely, and sometimes, she needs a reminder. The chapter ends with her receiving praise for her own abilities and not those of her husband’s.
If anyone ever says that Christianity is chauvinistic, they haven’t studied the Bible enough. God created Eve to help Adam, but the Hebrew word for helper (‘ezer – H5828) is also used to describe the help we get from God and as such, has no connotation of man’s superiority.
God created Eve to be a helper, a companion, a teammate, a lover, a wife, and a mother. She was wonderfully and beautifully made in order to complete the creation of man.
God chose Rahab to save the spies in Jericho. Rahab, a Gentile, a harlot and unlikely hero, hid the two Israelite spies from the king of Jericho and told the king’s messengers that they had left.
Her act of courage saved her life as well as her families and allowed vital intel to pass to Joshua. It took much faith and courage to defy the king of Jericho, but God knew her heart and she said, “yes.”
Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James
Though there are many more examples of God’s love for women, my favorite is that He chose three women to be the first to witness Jesus after His resurrection. Using the examples God has given us, The Proverbs 31 Woman is everything Helen Reddy says she is.
Courage of a Lion
Our courage must begin and end with God by accepting His power, strength, guidance, and love. Our motive must be to serve God. Never serve out of pride or the misconception that we can earn the love we receive. Be bold enough to speak out and at times, remain silent. We must have the fearlessness to say “yes” and also, “no.”
To be a Proverbs 31 Woman, you must love the Lord with all your heart, find God’s will for your life, stand firm in your beliefs and never, ever, ever, try to earn love; your perfection is not a prerequisite.
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