Posts Tagged ‘eshet chayil’

Biblical View of Women

God Made Woman

On the sixth day of creation, God created a woman from the rib portion flesh of man. In Hebrew, man is ish and woman is isha. God named the man ‘Adam’ meaning from the ‘red earth;’ and the woman’ He named was ‘Havah’ meaning to ‘give life.  When the man saw the woman, he knew she was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23). In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Havah were spiritually equal in the eyes of God. God put a high value on the woman because she would bring life into the world. God also promised that through the ‘Seed of woman’ redemption for all mankind would come. They were physically equal as the woman was created complement the man. This is the reason a man leaves his mother, and a woman leaves her home. They are to ‘cleave’ to one another and become ‘one flesh.’

Matthew Henry, a minister and author, was born in Wales but spent much of his life in England. He is known for his volumes of Biblical commentary. He wrote this now-famous poem about man and woman in their perfect created state:

“Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.”

After the Fall

Once sin entered the world, the relationship between man and woman changed.  Because the woman did not heed the command of God, but enticed her husband to sin, she would need an authority over her –– to protect her from being deceived again. Though the woman would desire equality with her husband, he would be in authority over her.  God explains this consequences of the woman’s sin:

“To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pain in childbirth. You will bring forth children in pain. Your desire will be toward your husband, but he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).

Inequality between man and woman came about because of sin.  This inequality is manifested in broken male-female relationships and marriages. From a more deeply-rooted sin came ownership of women.  This is not a Biblical view, but a godless one.  Nations other than Israel bought and sold women, especially when they were collateral damage from war. Kings  made alliances with other kings through intermarriage without considering the value of their own flesh and blood. This is how King David accumulated so many foreign wives and these intermarriages caused great dysfunction within his family.

Protection of Women

The Torah governed the community of Israel. Everyone was to be treated with respect and kindness — from the intimate relationship of marriage to relationships in the marketplace (Exodus 20:1-17). For example, if a man married a second wife, he was not to deprive the first of “her food, clothing, and marital rights” (Exodus 21:10).  If two fought with each other and happened to hurt a pregnant woman so that her unborn baby dies, the man must be fined. He must pay the amount set by the woman’s husband and confirmed by judges” (Exodus 21:22).

A woman’s purity and propriety was protected by her father, brother or husband (Deuteronomy 22:13-29). Today, women, women have sold their propriety and moral behavior for sexual promiscuity. Virginity is frowned upon if not blatantly mocked.   Sexual activity outside of marriage, whether it is fornication or adultery, has become normal activity rather than sexual sin. What was once sacred between a man and a woman, husband and wife has become less and less valued.

God had consequences for men who raped virgins or married women.  According to Torah, the man must take responsibility for their actions against women.  It may seem a little absurd today that marriage would be required for raping a virgin, but if we still lived by this simple rule of law, perhaps fewer men would rape women and fewer women would flaunt themselves before men.

Unfortunately, women no longer want to be under the protection of their father, brothers or even husbands. Why is protection considered wrong? Instead, they act and speak like ‘sailors’ as my mom would have said. When they are treated rudely or roughly by men, they refuse to take responsibility for themselves lowering the standard of womanhood. God gave instructions to regulate the relationship between men and women after sin destroyed the partnership. Can He protect women if they live contrary to His commands for purity and morality?

Timothy describes a godly woman. She dresses modestly, with decency and propriety. She doesn’t wear elaborate hairstyle, gold or pearls, or expensive clothes. This doesn’t mean a woman can’t keep a nice hairstyle or wear precious stones, she is just not to bring attention to herself physically; she is to draw people to God with good deeds. She is to be worthy of respect, temperate and trustworthy in everything (1 Timothy 2:9-11, 3:11).

Abraham Protects Sarah

Abraham told Sarah to lie to Pharaoh about being his wife.  He didn’t want her taken from him and raped. This is what foreign kings did to foreign women. They took whomever they wanted; they raped and pillaged. Sarah was safer from such barbarianism if she were Abraham’s sister because men, even barbaric ones, knew they had to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage.

Israel was never to do the same things as foreign kings in a war. Many times the Israelite warriors were commanded to destroy everyone, including women, so immoral practices wouldn’t happen.  If an Israelite man took a foreign captive woman for his own, there were still rules. The woman had to be allowed a month mourning the loss of her family so she could faithfully enter the community of Israel.

What About Hagar?

Hagar was Egyptian and most likely served Sarah when she lived in Pharaoh’s palace in Egypt. Hagar returned with Sarah to Canaan when they left Egypt and became Sarah’s maid. Some scholars suggest that Hagar was actually Pharaoh’s daughter and given to Abraham, as a wife, as an appeasement for the debacle with Sarah. If this is true, another foreign king give away his daughter to make a peace alliance.

Hagar does become intimate with Abraham and gives birth to Ishmael. Eventually Abraham sends her away because Ishmael ‘played’ with Isaac.  The Hebrew word for Ishmael’s actions is the same word for ‘rape’ found in the account of Dinah.  Abraham had to make a difficult decision regarding not only his son, but the woman, Hagar. Ishmael means ‘God hears’ so Hagar is not left alone; God was with her.

The Rape of Dinah

Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob, was raped by Shechem. Though Shechem loved Dinah and wanted to marry her, Jacob couldn’t think of an acceptable ‘bride price.’  Dinah’s brothers came up with the ‘bride price’ –– the men in the city needed to be circumcised.  Shechem agreed because he wanted to marry Dinah.  While all the men in the city were in pain from the circumcision, Dinah’s brothers, killed all of the men and removed their sister from the city.   Dinah’s brothers avenged their sister after a rape (Genesis 34).

Paying for a Bride

A ‘bride price’ is not about buying and selling a woman, but giving the father something for the loss of his daughter.  It also tests the true affections of the man for the daughter. Shechem who was a gentile was willing to be circumcised to marry Dinah. Jacob worked seven years to marry Rachel and then seven more after he was deceived into marrying Leah.

Yeshua paid a ‘bride price’ for his Bride. He didn’t pay for us with gold or silver, but with his blood. He paid the ‘bride price’ to our father, the Adversary, with his life (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Queen Esther

King Xerxes was from a pagan culture and used women for his pleasure. When he was done with them, he removed them just as he did with his wife Vashti. Esther was taken to the palace and prepared to be either the next Queen of Persia or join a harem ending the possibility of marrying or having children. Through the protection of God, Esther became Queen.  

Her position gave her the power to sway the King to show favor on the Jewish people, and to stand against the treachery of Haman.   Because of Esther’s courage, the Jewish lineage of Messiah was not exterminated. Esther could have been abused by this King, but God protected her to save His people.

Deborah, the Judge

Deborah was a Judge in Israel because there were no men courageous enough to fight the Canaanites.  The Canaanites used temple prostitution to appease their gods.  This was not done in Israel nor could it be done in the Promised Land.  There are only a few songs recorded in the Bible: The Song of Moses, The Song of the Lamb, The Song of Miriam and Song of Deborah (Judges 5).

The Moabite Woman

Growing up in Moab, Ruth lived with child sacrifice to Chemosh and temple prostitution.  She would have seen and known families who offered their children on the altar of fire.  Maybe she watched as brother or sister put on the burning altar to appease this pagan god. Even the King of Moab offered his child, the crown prince, as a sacrifice (2 Kings 3:27).

When Ruth had the opportunity to leave Moab with her mother-in-law, she didn’t just leave, she embraced Naomi’s God, people and country. In this strange land, she would no longer have to appease a god who required murdering children. She would have the opportunity to find protection and ultimately marriage with a kinsman-redeemer in Boaz. Her baby would not be sacrificed on a burning altar, but grow up to be the grandfather of King David.

Obscure Strong, Courageous Women

There are many strong, courageous women in Scripture. Asher’s,daughter, Serach, is believed to have sung for Jacob when he was told that Joseph was alive in Egypt. Her singing revived his spirit (Numbers 26:46).

Jemimah is one of Job’s daughters. After he lost everything, at the end of his life, God restored his life. He was given three daughters and gave them an inheritance, Jemimah was one of these daughters (Job 42:14).

Tamar should have been given Judah’s last son in a levirate marriage. She dwas considered righteous for deceiving Judah in order to continue the royal lineage (Genesis 38).

Asenath, the daughter of a pagan Egyptian priest, married Joseph and learned about the God of Jacob. She gave birth to two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim who became part of the Tribes of Israel (Genesis 41:45).

Miriam had the responsibility as a little girl to watch her brother float in the Nile River.  She asked the Egyptian princess if she should find a nurse. Many decades later, after crossing the Red Sea, Miriam the prophetess took out the tambourine and led the women in dancing (Exodus 15:20).

Rahab was a prostitute who lied to protect the spies who came into Jericho. When the Israelites came to Jericho to destroy it, she and her family were saved. She married Salmon and became part of the lineage of Messiah (Joshua 2:1-24).

Huldah was a prophetess in Jerusalem who told the King of Judah that he would not see the destruction of the city (2 Kings 22:14-20). There are three gates named after her that the Jews used to enter the Temple area to worship God.

Ya’el  killed Sisera by slamming a stake through his head delivering Israel from the troops of King Jabin (Judges 4:18-22).

Hannah, after waiting many years, gave birth to a son. She relinquished Samuel to the priest to be raised in the Temple.  He became a powerful prophet in Israel anointing David to be King (1 Samuel 1:21-27).

Miriam’s womb was filled by the Spirit of God and she became pregnant out of wedlock. Joseph remained faithful to her and married her. She gave birth to the Messiah of Israel, the ‘Seed of woman’ that will one day crush the serpent’s head (Luke 2:4-7).

Anna was a widow and prophetess who spent her days in the Temple. When she saw Yeshua at the redemption of the firstborn, she told people that the liberation of Jerusalem was at hand (Luke 2:36-38).

Phoebe was a deaconess in the congregation of Cenchrea, a seaport of Corinth where Sha’ul had his hair cut for a vow. Phoebe offered financial help to those in the Body who needed it including Sha’ul.

Lydia lived in Thyatira and was a dealer of purple cloth. Purple cloth was valuable and expensive –– equal to silver. She was a gentile, a God-fearer. When Sha’ul preached the message of Yeshua, Adonai opened her heart. She persuaded Sha’ul to stay in her home (Acts 16:14-15).

Eunice, Timothy’s grandmother taught him Torah on her knee. When he grew up, he put his faith in Yeshua and traveled with Sha’ul (2 Timothy 1:5).

Women found the tomb empty and proclaimed the message of Yeshua’s resurrection. A woman washed Yeshua’s feet because he forgave her sins. Martha had faith to believe that Yeshua could raise her brother from the dead.

Women and Authority

The world has a skewed view of women and the church which doesn’t teach Torah has embraced this view. Young girls are taught that their God-given role as daughters, wives, and mothers, has less value than having a career. Titus outlines the roles of older and young women, the ‘keepers of the home.’ The Greek word for ‘keeper’ is ouros and means ‘guardian’ (Titus 2:3-5).

Women, mothers especially, have relinquished their guardianship over the home. Instead of protecting their children from the evil ways of the world, they open the door and walk out. They allow others to ‘guard’ their sons and daughters while justifying the desire for the ‘equality’ lost in the beginning due to sin.

Because the woman was deceived, God decided she needed a ‘covering.’ This doesn’t negate her value as seen in the women above, but she needed protective ‘authority.’

Sha’ul teaches the Corinthians about the line of authority: God, Messiah, Man and Woman (1 Corinthians 11). This is the governmental order of God’s Kingdom that keeps chaos and confusion out. Being under authority doesn’t mean women have no authority, just that they is under authority like a man is under the authority of Messiah and Messiah is under the authority of his Father. Remember the Centurion? He told Yeshua that he didn’t need to come to his home to heal his servant.  He knew Yeshua was a man under the authority of God; and as a Centurion under authority, he understood that when a command is given, it is followed (Matthew 8:9). 

Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]” (Romans 12:2 Amplified Version). 

The Bible says that women are weaker than men but that does not make them less valuable. In fact, Peter says that husbands must treat their wives with respect so that nothing will hinder their prayers (1 Peter 3:1). In Hebrew, Proverbs 31 is called the Eshet Chayil or the ‘Woman Warrior.’ Women are not less equal to men, but co-heirs in the Kingdom of God. In Eternity, there will be a restoration of all things, including the relationship between man and woman that began in the Garden of Eden.

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Proverbs 31 – Eshet Chayil

Proverbs 31 is known as the Eshet Chayil in Hebrew meaning ‘woman of strength’ or ‘warrior woman.’ The Eshet Chayil is an ‘shadow’ of the Bride of Yeshua. Each sentence of this Proverb begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alef-bet.

Alef – Ox (first, strength)

“Who can find an eshet chayil (a woman of valor, an excellent wife)?  Her value is far beyond that of pearls.”

A man looks for a strong, brave, and courageous woman whose worth is that of a valuable pearl. 

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for fine pearls. On finding one very valuable pearl he went away, sold everything he owned and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46).

Bet A Tent (house, family)

“The lev of her ba’al (the heart of her husband)  securely trusts in her so that he shall have no lack of gain” (Orthodox Jewish Bible).

The eshet chayil will keep and protect the heart of her Husband, who is the head of the house and family.  

“He told him, “‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength‘” (Matthew 22:7).

Gimel Camel (lift up, pride)

“She will do him tov (good)  and not rah (harm) all the days of her life.”

The eshet chayil will not walk in her own pride, but will lift up her Husband in goodness as long as she lives.  

“So Yeshua said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM [who I say I am], and that of myself I do nothing, but say only what the Father has taught me” (John 8:28).

Dalet – Door (pathway)

“She procures a supply of wool and flax and works with willing hands.”

Wool and flax represent the redemption/sanctification message.  Wool is the covering of the Lamb through which we receive the atonement for our sins. From flax, fine linen is made, the covering for the the priesthood and the Bride.

The eshet chayil knows the pathway for her family. She works with her hands during times of cold (wool) and heat (flax).   

“They were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands; and they shouted, “Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).

Hey Window (behold, reveal)

“She is like those merchant vessels, bringing her food from far away.”

The eshet chayil is compared to a merchant vessel who travels, even to faraway stores, wherever there is revelation for good food offering the best nutrition.

“Yeshua answered, “I am the bread which is life! Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever trusts in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

Vav – Nail (secure, binding)

“She rises also while it is yet lailah (nighttime), and provides food to her bayit (house) and a portion to her na’arot (servant girls).”

The eshet chayil  is bound to her home, even rising at night, to see to the needs of her family and servants.

“When a strong man [woman] who is fully equipped for battle guards his own house, his possessions are secure” (Luke 11:21).

Zayin – Weapon (divide, cut)

“She considers a field, then buys it, with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”

The eshet chayil cuts deals, buys lands on which she can bring forth nourishing fruit; she plants a vineyard. 

“You will recognize them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:16).

Chet – Fence (protect, surround)

“She girds her loins with strength and strengthens her arms.”

The eshet chayil is prepared to protect her her family from ‘warfare,’ surrounding them with the strength of her arms.

“I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the Evil One” (John 17:15).

Tet – Snake (twisting)

“She sees that her business dealings are good; her ner (lamp) does not go out at night.”

The eshet chayil makes sure her business deals are true and honest, even it she has to work through the night.

“Your word is a lamp for my foot and light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Yod – Arm and Closed Hand (finished work)

“She puts her hands to the distaff with the flax; her fingers to the spinning rod.”

The eshet chayil keeps to her own affairs, stays busy in her own home teaching the next generation.

“They should teach what is good,  thus training the younger women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled and pure, to take good care of their homes and submit to their husbands” (Titus 2:3-5).

Kof – Open Hand (to allow, to open)

“She reaches out to embrace the poor and opens her arms to the needy.”

The eshet chayil has an open arms of hospitality, taking care of the widow and the fatherless; the poor, the homeless, and those in need.  

“The religious observance that God the Father considers pure and faultless is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being contaminated by the world” (James 1:27).

Lamed – Shepherd’s Staff (urging forward)

“When it snows, she has no fear for her household; since all of them are doubly clothed.”

The eshet chayil looks toward the future and makes extra preparations for winter: snow, cold, and illness.

“Therefore you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting him… pray that you will not have to escape in winter or on Shabbat.” (Matthew 24:20, 44).

Mem Water (mighty)

“She makes her own coverings;  she is clothed in fine linen and scarlet (purple).”

The eshet chayil is a mighty woman sewing her own garments and covering herself as is appropriate for a royal Bride: fine linen and purple.  

“For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and his Bride has prepared herself — fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear.” (“Fine linen” means the righteous deeds of God’s people.)” (Revelation 19:7-8).

Nun Fish (life)

“Her husband is known at the city gates when he sits with the leaders of the land.”

The eshet chayil‘s Husband has an honored life and is known for His wisdom.

“So that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father” (John 5:23).

Samech – To Prop (support)

“She makes linen garments and sells them; she supplies the merchants with sashes.”

The eshet chayil supports the community and the local merchants with her talents.   

“All the women who were skilled at spinning got to work and brought what they had spun, the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and the fine linen” (Exodus 25:35).

Ayin – Eye (see, understand)

“Oz (strength) and hadar (dignity) are her clothing; and her smile is toward the yom acharon (coming day, future).”

The eshet chayil is a woman of integrity and dignity. She is prepared for the future – physically as well as spiritually. 

“Adonai gives the command; the women with the good news [of the kingdom] are a mighty army” (Psalm 68:12).

Peh – Mouth (speak, mouth)

“When she opens her mouth, she speaks wisely; on her lashon (tongue)  is torah chesed (loving instruction).”

The eshet chayil is a source of wisdom and God’s loving instructions.

Let your conversation always be gracious and interesting, so that you will know how to respond to any particular individual” (Colossians 4:6).

Tzadik Fishhook (desire, pull toward)

“She watches how things go in her house, not eating the lechem atzlut (bread of idleness).”

The eshet chayil is not pulled toward the ‘rat race’ of life.  She focuses on her home and does not get ‘caught in the fishook’ of gossip and slander that accompanies idleness.

“Let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value” (1 Peter 3:4).

Qof – Back of the Head( what is behind,  final)

“Her children arise; they make her happy; her husband too, as he praises her:”

The eshet chayil‘s final blessing is her children who grow up godly and faithful; her husband praises her for her faithfulness to the family.

“The righteous live a life of integrity; happy are their children after them” (Proverbs 20:7).

Resh – Head of a Man (leader, highest authority)

“Rabbot (Many teaching women) have done wonderful things, but you surpass them all.”

The eshet chayil has a spiritual life that teaches other women because her Husband is her her highest authority.

“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is the Messiah, and the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of the Messiah is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).

Shin – Teeth (consume)

“Chen (charm) is sheker (deceitful), and yofi (beauty) is fleeting, but an ish Yirat Hashem  (a woman who fears Adonai), she shall be praised.”

The eshet chayil is consumed with her fear Adonai; she is not concerned with aging and there is no ‘charm’ or deceit found in her.

“I am continually consumed with longing for your rulings” (Psalm 119:20).

Tav – Two Sticks Crossing (sign, covenant)

“Give her of the p’ri (fruit) of her yadayim (hands); and let her own works praise her at the city gates.”

The eshet chayil is the ‘sign of the covenant’ for her Husband. She is known at the city gates because of the work she has done in her home and community while providing for her family and servants, gathering food and making business deals in the market square.  

“Also I saw the holy city, New Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).

©2013 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.