- Who can find a virtuous woman?
According to dictionary.com, virtue is defined as "moral excellence; goodness; righteousness", and virtuous is defined as "conforming to ethical and moral principles". So a virtuous woman would be a woman of moral excellence, goodness , and righteousness, conforming to ethical and moral principles.
On a more personal level, when I first think of a virtuous woman, I think of an almost saintly person--a real "church lady"--able to perform as a superwoman and keep a sweet look on her face all at the same time.
A lofty aspiration, but is this passage of scripture really discussing only saintliness as we usually define it--the goodness and morality mentioned earlier? The problem with thinking this way is that the scripture was not written originally in English. Especially if we're looking at it in the KJV, common usage of words may have changed since it was first translated. So, lets dig a little deeper. KJV translates this as "virtuous woman"; NKJV, "virtuous wife; NAS, "excellent wife", and the Amplified Bible states it as "capable, intelligent, and virtuous wife". So, again, I think of a certain quality of "goodness", and maybe efficiency thrown in for good measure. From the passage, it's obvious she is a real worker bee, and now she is morally excellent, good, and righteous.
This is getting
But wait, there's more...
According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the word translated here as "virtuous" is a Hebrew word that can best be transliterated in English as chayil. The definition of chayil is "army, wealth, virtue, valour, strength..great forces..might..power..strength." What's more, this word chayil is translated as virtue, virtuous, virtuously only about 4 out of 243 instances that it's used in the Bible. By far the single biggest use of this word is translated as "men of valour", as in David's mighty men of valour.
When I first started studying this, it was as if a light-bulb went off over my head. Being a virtuous woman is not about being meek and mild and sweet and "good"--all of those things that I have trouble being. Meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) that we all need to bear. But being a virtuous woman is about more than that. It's about being a strong woman. A woman of valour and honor. A woman of moral excellence, and yes, a "good" woman.
Wait a minute--aren't women supposed to be "the weaker sex"? You know, most of us are physically weaker than most men, in the tests that men use to measure strength. We probably can't bench press more than the men we know. We probably can't jump as high or run as fast or as far as most men. I think we're capable, though, of strength of a different sort. We may not bear the physical burdens in our families, but we often bear other types of burdens. Our work may be measured differently from what most men term work, but it is a noble work, and one that we are peculiarly equipped to do. Men may be the bricks upon which we build our family, but we are the mortar that holds it all together.
I'll be talking later on about what it means to be a strong woman of God, but for tonight, let me leave you with this. God has a peculiar place for each of us as godly women to fill. We are virtuous--not by our own strength, or by our own goodness, but by His strength, and His goodness.
Rise up, you women of virtue; rise up, you women of valour and strength, and take the place that God created you to take.
Until next time,