Posts Tagged ‘eshet chayil’

Proverbs 31 – Eshet Chayil

Proverbs 31 is called the Eshet Chayil in Hebrew meaning the ‘woman of strength.’ The Eshet Chayil is an allusion to the Bride of Messiah and her worth to Him. This proverb begins each sentence begins with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alef-bet. Using the Hebrew letter pictures with the Orthodox Jewish Bible reveals some unique insights.

Alef – Ox (strong, powerful leader)

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

A man is looking for a strong, powerful, brave, and courageous woman who has the value 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 (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.”

The eshet chayil will keep and protect the heart of her husband. 

“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, self-will, 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 self-will and 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 (entrance, pathway)

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

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

Wool and flax represent the salvation/redemption message.  Wool is the covering of the lamb through which we receive the atonement for our sins.

“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 Man with Arms Raised (look, reveal, behold)

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

The eshet chayil travels like a merchant ship looking for the best nourishment for her family revealed in faraway places. 

“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 – Tent Peg (secure, binding)

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

The eshet chayil  brings security to her home even in darkness and is bound to generosity to those who serve her.  

“You will be confident, because there is hope; you will look around you and lie down secure …” (Job 11:18).

Zayin – Weapon (divide, cut, nourish)

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

The eshet chayil is rightly divides the needs of her family and works with her hands so that she can bring forth nourishing fruit – planting a vineyard. 

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

Chet – Fence (separate, protect, inner room)

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

The eshet chayil protects her family’s inner room with all her strength.  

“Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences” (Proverbs 4:23).

Tet – Snake (surround, twist)

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

The eshet chayil keeps herself and her family from from the darkness of the evil one (snake).  She is wise and discerning and surrounds herself with those who do not twist the Truth.

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

Yod – Arm and Closed Hand (finished work, throw)

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

The eshet chayil keeps all things spinning and weaving so as to complete her work. She keeps to her own affairs, busy in her own home, teaching the next generation.

“Therefore, get your minds ready for work, keep yourselves under control, and fix your hopes fully on the gift you will receive when Yeshua the Messiah is revealed” (1 Peter 1:13).

Kof – Open Hand (allow, bend, open)

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

The eshet chayil has an open hand of hospitality, taking care of the widow and the fatherless.  She bends to 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 (leader, one who guides)

“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 prepares.  Her household is ready for winter and everything that comes with it: snow, cold, illness, provisions.

“Therefore you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting him” (Matthew 24:44).

Mem Water (water, mighty, chaos)

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

The eshet chayil not only makes coverings for her family’s needs, but also for herself.   She covers herself as is appropriate for a mighty ‘queen’ in 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 brings forth life to her husband giving him the liberty to sit at the city gates with leaders. 

“I am the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).

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 who understands integrity and dignity.  She sees that she is prepared for the coming days – physically as well as spiritually.  She has prepared herself, her family, and her husband and can smile at the days ahead. 

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

Peh – Mouth (speak, words, mouth of a river)

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

The eshet chayil is a river of life with her wisdom, always instruction God’s words of life through love. 

“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. In this way, God’s message will not be brought into disgrace” (Titus 2:3-5).

Tzadik Fishhook (desire, pull toward)

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

The eshet chayil does not pulled toward the ‘rat race’ of life.  Her home is her desire and her focus is there.  She does not become ‘caught in the fishook’ of  gossip and slander that accompanies idleness.

“Your beauty should not consist in externals … rather, 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 3:3-4).

Qoof – Back of the Head( setting of the sun, what is behind,  final)

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

The eshet chayil never looks to what is past and uses her time wisely.  She is blessed as the sun sets on the horizon of her day (yom), week (Sabbath), month (Rosh Chodesh), year (Teruah), and lifetime.   

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

Resh – Head of a Man (first, authority, head)

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

The eshet chayil surpasses all other women because her spiritual life comes first and her authority is her head.

“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 (sharp, consume, glory)

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

The eshet chayil is consumed with her faith (fear) of Yahweh; there is no deceit found in her as she brings glory to God. 

“Trust in Adonai with all your heart; do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him; then he will level your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Tau – 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 has the sign of the covenant, the sign of her relationship with her husband.  She is a woman who is known at the city gates because of the work she does in her home and community while providing for her family and servants, preparing food and dealing with business 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).

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