Hear Her Roar

Proverbs 31 is a popular passage, which describes a strong and powerful woman. The author argues that a strong and powerful woman is worth a lot. The book of Proverbs is a composite work, written by more than one person. The author of Proverbs 31 is identified as King Lemuel. Nothing is known about this individual beyond his mention here; he appears nowhere else in the Bible or in history. He relates words his mother taught him, including a description of what to look for in a woman. Traditionally, she is described as “virtuous” or “noble” in most English translations. Oddly, the Hebrew word so being translated is rendered “virtuous” only when it is being used to describe women. Otherwise, the word gets translated as “powerful” or even “army.” Perhaps most translators, being male, find the concept of a powerful woman disturbing? And yet, the passage goes on to describe a woman who takes charge of her life and those around her, doing what she can to see to the welfare of her family, from purchasing land to conducting business and trade. We’re told that her husband is respected in the affairs of state and business because of her abilities. Lemuel’s mother tells him that in finding a woman, intelligence and productivity, together with the fear of Yahweh is much better than a charmer with a good figure, since beauty is fleeting: character, in other words, is what counts and it is what endures.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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