By Christine Darg
“Eshet Chayil! Eshet Chayil!”
I hear the Lord calling,
The brave woman of valour, valued
Far above rubies and pearls.
The woman of worth, worthy
To be praised by her husband, boys and girls.
Also the noble single women
Who wash the Lord’s feet with their tears
Anointing his head with oil,
Keeping their lamps trimmed without fear.
The Lord says,
“My eyes search the earth for noble women,
Discreet, Powerful, Nurturing, Wise
Strong and uncompromising as steel in disguise.
I, the Lord, am appalled at the baseness of women in this hour:
Jezebel and Babylon’s whore riot in the street and glower.
Your time is short. I, the Lord, give you space to repent.
Otherwise concerning your doom I will not relent.
Calamities will soon overtake you,
Wickedness reaping the penalties you are due.
Look up, look up, my Eshet Chayil, my Bride, my Wife,
Rejoice and make yourself ready!
I will soon swoop down to save you from the Great Strife.”
The word eshet אשת is the construct form of isha (woman, wife) and the adjective chayil חַ֭יִל in the Bible denotes bravery, courage and strength, as in a valiant warrior, a soldier who is capable, triumphant!
The adjective chayil is also used in some Bible verses to connote wealth, thus the Lord’s Eshet Chayil is indeed a treasure.
Traditionally the Woman of Valour passage from Proverbs 31 is recited by her husband at the beginning of the Friday evening meal after the shabbat candles are lit and when the wife is praised for her excellence in front of her children, and the children are also blessed.
The Bride of Messiah is the Eshet Chayil he seeks in this hour. In her tongue is the law of kindness. (Proverbs 31: 26) She is brave, noble, honourable, modest, chaste, resourceful, faithful. She laughs the laugh of faith. Her lamp does not go out at night. (Proverbs 31: 18) She watches for her coming King.
“A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31: 30-31)