The Proverbs 31 Woman: You've never seen her like this!

See Commentary in Footnotes
 1: The words of king Lemuel the burden wherewith his mother corrected him [1] 2: My son, son of my womb, son of my vows 3: Give not your strength to [whoring after] women nor your ways to that which destroys kings 4: It is not for kings O Lemuel it is not for kings to drink wine [in excess] nor for princes strong drink 5: Lest they drink and forget the law and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted 6: Give strong drink to them who are ready to perish and wine to those that be of heavy hearts 7: Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more 8:[But you] Open your mouth in defense of those who have no voices in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction [2] 9: Open your mouth judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and needy 10: A woman of chayil,[3] find! For her price is far above rubies 11: The heart of her lord ba`al [4] safely trusts He shall have [no fear] of lack or plunder 12: She rewards good and not evil all the days of her life [5]13: She seeks wool and flax and works willingly with her hands 14: She is like the merchant's ships She brings her food from afar 15: She rises also while it is yet night and give food to her household Matthew 24:45-46 and a portion to her maidens her servants 16: She considers a field and buys it with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard 17: She girds her loins with strength and strengthens her arms 18: She perceives that her merchandise is good her candle goes not out by night 19: She lays her hands to the spindle and her hands hold the distaff 20: She stretches out her hands to the poor yes she reaches forth her hands to the needy 21: She is not afraid of the snow for her household for all her household are clothed with scarlet 22: She makes herself coverings of tapestry her clothing is silk and purple 23: The one who possesses her ba`al  [not husband] is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land 24: She makes fine linen and sells it and delivers girdles to the merchants 25: Strength and honor are her clothing and she shall rejoice in time to come 26: She opens her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness 27: She looks well to the ways of her household and eats not the bread of idleness 28: Her children rise up and call her blessed the one who possesses her also and he praises her 29: Many daughters have done valiantly but you excel them all 30: Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the LORD YHWH she shall be praised 31: Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates

[1] Most authorities believe that name “Lemuel” was more than likely a pseudonym for King Solomon. That makes sense, as in the time of Solomon, the status of women was inferior to that of men—as it still is in all Islamic countries and among complementarian Christians, today. it would have been improper for a woman in biblical times to chastise a man—even more so if that man was her King. If this is the case, that Lemuel was Solomon, then the mother who corrected the wayward King would have been none other than the infamous **Bathsheba. 

Her words correlate perfectly with Solomon’s story, as we know that, for an unspecified length of time, after he ascended the throne, he plumbed the depths of depravity. Solomon eventually concluded that his riotous manner of living was all “vanity,” at which time he turned his life around to become the greatest King in the history of Israel and of the world in his time. Perhaps that turn-around was due to the Word of correction given to him by his mother, words that are preserved as Holy Scripture to this day. 

** We know Bathsheba had great influence with her son, as Adonijah, Solomon’s half-brother, a royal prince himself, went to Bathsheba first, when he had a request to make of his brother, the King. It is also recorded that Solomon honored his mother by having a smaller throne placed next to his royal throne for her.

That Solomon published the words of King “Lemuel’s” mother, indicates the degree of import Bathsheba's influence must have carried for him. It is entirely possible the Proverbs-31 letter could have proved the turning point in King Solomon’s life, a turn-around that can be attributed [at least in part] to the timely intervention and correction of a God-fearing mother, who dared to speak the inspired/authoritative Word of God to a son who was King.

Aside from the above comments, there are two other things of note in this passage: 1.) Whether King Lemuel was Solomon or not, in Proverbs chapter 31, we have an entire chapter of scripture written by a woman. Verse one states the passage was written to the King by the King’s mother. The fact that this passage has been included in the Hebrew scriptures along with the writings of Solomon is extraordinary—a powerful testimony to its authenticity and authority. 2.) This is an irrefutable example of a woman not only teaching a man—a very powerful man—but chastising him as well, with the inspired, prophetic, authoritative Word of the LORD. The opening words of Proverbs 31, refute complementarian positions that our Creator intended only men to be the oracles of God, and that women cannot teach men or speak the Word of God authoritatively to both men and women. King “Lemuel’s” mother did so, and continues to do so through an inspired and authoritative prophecy to a powerful male monarch, and by extension to all men and women.

[2] Christian response to abortion

[3] Chayil H2428 means: Valor, Strength, or Might. The word never means “virtue." The Hebrew word chayil is mistranslated as “virtuous” only three times in the Hebrew text, and each of these mistranslations is deliberate due to translator bias against women (misogyny). This bias is not found in ancient translations only but also in modern translations, as translators continue to add to and take away from the Word of God with respect to the word, chayil...but only when it is associated with women. 

Other than misogyny, there is no lingual or textual reason to translate the Hebrew word, Chayil, as virtuous. The Woman of chayil, according to scripture, is a woman of strength and valor.

[4] Taken within context of what we know about Solomon, his mother was not giving advice about how to find a wife. And though her advice is good for men in general, she was writing specifically to one man—her son—who had spent quite some time plumbing the depths of sin Ecclesiastes 1:17-18, Ecclesiastes 2:10-12, which included carousing with women and likely already had multiple wives and concubines [sex-slaves]. 

In the end, Solomon had hundreds of wives and thousands of sex-slaves. Though God says he was the wisest man who had ever lived or would ever live, with respect to women, he was not wise Deuteronomy 17:17

Solomon’s "concubines" were sex-slaves with a bit of status because their lord—who was not their husband—happened to be their king as well. King or not, any man with sex-slaves was the lord of those women. In fact, in Solomon's time men were lord over the women in their house-holds, whether the women were wives or sex-slaves. Bathsheba did not use the word husband for a reason. In this verse, speaking of the woman of chayil, she correctly wrote, “The heart of her "lord,” was safe with her. This terminology was correct, because Solomon was the lord of many women, most of which were sex-slaves and not wives.

[5] Proverbs 31 has typically been used to oppress women by underscoring the alleged subordination of women to men, but this has been entirely due to misogynistic translation and interpretation. As the reader continues to read this chapter, take note that the woman of chayil is an industrious business woman. This contradicts male supremacy/complementarian doctrine that restricts the initiative of women to work outside their homes or to run their own businesses. 

The woman of chayil, adores her family without being commanded to. This is in stark contrast to fathers being commanded not to provoke their children to wrath and husbands having to be commanded to love their wives. This commentary only points that out anger and indifference in husbands and fathers (which the Bible attempts to counteract by commands to love) result directly from male-headship [complementarian theology] and traditional-role-religion.

The woman of chayil, is industrious when it comes to her home, and she has a diverse portfolio of prosperous businesses as well. She is successful in real estate, agriculture, manufacturing, and marketing. There is no mention that she is required to procure anyone's permission to start or carry out her businesses. 

The woman of chayil [Bathsheba writes of], is materially well off, if not extremely wealthy. She has servants who do most of the physical labor for her. Her family does not suffer from neglect, because she has excellent organizational skills in seeing to the material and physical comfort of her household. 

This correlates perfectly with New Testament scripture that commands women to rule the home. Here we see another deliberate, misogynistic, mistranslation that reduces “rule” to “guide.” The Greek word oikodespoteo, is mistranslated as “guide” in 1 Timothy 5:14. It means home-ruler or home despot [dictator, but not in a bad way]). 

New Testament wives are commanded to not just guide their households, but to rule them. The woman of chayil rules her home well. In this and other passages, God's original purpose for one wife per husband is strongly insinuated--one wife to rule one home--not multiple wives and sex-slaves per each man. 

The woman of chayil, is also a respected admired business-woman. She is admired and respected socially and by civic leaders, in her own right and not as simply an extension of her husband. She enjoys the praise and support of her husband and children, who stand solidly behind her in all her endeavors. Her family benefits both materially, socially, and politically from her business success and good reputation as a woman of strength and good character. 

Men who bury the treasure [of women of chayil] in pits of subordination—or lock them in prisons of male supremacy—bury their strength. And, to some degree or other, bring upon themselves and their families shame and lack. They become like those described in The Revelation who say they are rich but are really poor and don’t even know it.

Women of chayil have survived such circumstances for millennia  and have honorably managed very well. These incredible women are to be saluted. But there is a vast difference between surviving and thriving. Many survive, but no one thrives under male headship. And, unless there is repentance and change, no one's--not women's or men's--full potential can never be reached.

 Author and speaker, Jocelyn Andersen, is an eclectic Christian writer. She is a Bible teacher who writes about many subjects including Bible prophecy and equality of the sexes. She is best known for her advocacy in domestic violence awareness. Her book, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence
, has been a staple in the library of resources on that subject 

If the topic of God and Women interests you, join the conversation HERE.

To receive an announcement from Amazon whenever a new book is released by Jocelyn Andersen, subscribe to Her Amazon author's page.

To Contact Jocelyn: Use the contact form in the sidebar of her blog at to leave comments on her books, to reach her with questions, or to request for her to come and speak at your group. 

No comments:

Post a Comment