Praise of a Virtuous Worthy Woman Wife Mother Proverbs 31:10-31
Since it is Mother’s Day weekend it is fitting to share a song in praise of the virtuous women wives, and mothers that make up our lives and world. My desire was to share something special for my own wife along with this post, but decided to post this first, and tomorrow to share my dedicated tribute. I spent several hours trying to find a metrical version of Proverbs 31:10-31 but found nothing, so I composed my own metrical version a few days ago, since I was settled on that scripture passage as the praise due and to those women whom we love and desire to honor. So saying, Happy Mother’s Day to my Wife, Daughters, and all others who deserve such love and praise from their children spouses, and friends; and also to those women not wives or mothers, who share the blessed happy lot of a Woman.
I will first give my Metrical Version of Proverbs 31 being as literal as English poetic form allows, with minimal changes, then the AKJV Text on which it was based. Afterwards I give a Jewish Text and info of this important Text.
Proverbs 31:10-31King James Version (AKJV) (188.8.131.52.Doubled) (mjm.2017)
The Worthy Woman who can find?
Far above rubies is her price!
Her husband’s heart in her confides;
He needs no other spoil or heist;
Without evil she does him good
Within all of her living days;
For wool and flax she ever seeks
And with her hands she works her ways.
She is lik’n to the merchant’s ships;
Which brings her food from very far.
She wak’ns early, e’en in the night,
Feeds house and maid’ns from her store.
She sees a field, and she invests:
With fruit of hands, she plants her vines.
She girds her loins with might and strength,
And with both arms she seeks and finds.
She perceiveth her wares are good:
Her candle goes not out at night.
She lays her hands to the spindle,
She holds the distaff with her might.
She extends her hand to the poor;
And her hands to those needing foods.
She braves the snow for her family:
Clothes them in scarlet finest hoods.
She weaves her cloths with tapestry;
Her silk purple clothin by hand.
Her husband is known in the Gates;
And sits with Elders of the land.
She makes fine lin’n garments to sell;
Supplies girdlebelts to merchant trade.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
Then she’ll rejoice in what she’s made.
She opens her mouth with wisdom;
Her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looks well to her family’s ways,
She eats not the bread of idl’ness.
Her children grows to call her blessed;
Her husband also praises her well:
“Many daughters have done virt’ously,
But thou above them doth excell.
Favor deceives, and beauty vain:
But praised is’woman who fears the Lord.
Give her from the fruit of her hands;
In the Gates praise her works and word.
(“Who can find a virtuous woman?
Far above rubies is her worth!
Many daughters have done well,
But thou excellest in thy birth.”)
AKJV Text Proverbs 31:10-31
10 Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her,
so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil
all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax,
and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships;
she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night,
and giveth meat to her household,
and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it:
with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength,
and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:
her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle,
and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor;
yea, she reacheth 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 maketh herself coverings of tapestry;
her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it;
and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing;
and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously,
but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands;
and let her own works praise her in the gates.
(Who can find a virtuous woman?
for her price is far above rubies.)
( Many daughters have done virtuously,
but thou excellest them all.
Hebrew Jewish Aishet Chayil (Virtuous Worthy Woman)
(by Chaviva Gordon-Bennett Updated April 20, 2015)
“Every Friday evening, before the festive Shabbat meal, Jews the world over sing a special poem to honor the Jewish woman.
Meaning: The song, or poem, is called Aishet Chayil, although it is spelled a multitude of different ways depending on the transliteration. Different ways of spelling it include aishes chayil, eishes chayil, aishet chayil, eishet chayil, and so on. The words translate as “a woman of valor.”
The song minimizes beauty (“Grace is false and beauty is vain,” Prov 31:30) and elevates kindness, generosity, honor, integrity, and dignity.
Origins: One reference to a woman of valor appears in the Book of Ruth, which tells the story of the convert Ruth and her journey with her mother-in-law Naomi and marriage to Boaz. When Boaz refers to Ruth as an aishet chayil, it makes her the only woman in all the books of the Bible to be referred to as such. The entirety of the poem derives from Proverbs (Mishlei) 31:10-31, which is believed to have been written by King Solomon. It is the second of three books believed to have been written by Solomon, son of David. There is a midrash that suggests that that Proverbs 31 is actually about Ruth. “Many women have done valor, but you surpass them all.” This is Ruth the Moabite, who entered under the wings of God. “Grace is false and beauty is vain.” [This refers to Ruth,] who left her mother and father and her wealth and went with her mother-in-law and accepted all the commandments. Therefore, the poem [concludes], “Extol her for the fruit of her hand and let her works praise her in the gates.” (Midrash Proverbs 31:29-30)
How To: Aishet Chayil is sung every Friday night after Shalom Aleichem (the song to welcome the Sabbath Bride) and before Kiddush (the formal blessing over the wine before the meal). Whether there are women present at the meal or not, a “woman of valor” is still recited to honor all righteous Jewish women. Many will keep their wives, mothers, and sisters specifically in mind while singing the song.”
The Text (Hebrew Alphabetical Psalm of 22 Verses from Aleph-Thau).
01.A Woman of Valor, who can find? She is more precious than corals.
02.Her husband places his trust in her and profits only thereby.
03.She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
04.She seeks out wool and flax and cheerfully does the work of her hands.
05.She is like the trading ships, bringing food from afar.
06.She gets up while it is still night to provide food for her household, and a fair share for her staff.
07.She considers a field and purchases it, and plants a vineyard with the fruit of her labors.
08.She invests herself with strength and makes her arms powerful.
09.She senses that her trade is profitable; her light does not go out at night.
10.She stretches out her hands to the distaff and her palms hold the spindle.
11.She opens her hands to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
12.She has no fear of the snow for her household, for all her household is dressed in fine clothing.
13.She makes her own bedspreads; her clothing is of fine linen and luxurious cloth.
14.Her husband is known at the gates, where he sits with the elders of the land.
15.She makes and sells linens; she supplies the merchants with sashes.
16.She is robed in strength and dignity, and she smiles at the future.
17.She opens her mouth with wisdom and a lesson of kindness is on her tongue.
18.She looks after the conduct of her household and never tastes the bread of laziness.
19.Her children rise up and make her happy; her husband praises her:
20.”Many women have excelled, but you excell them all!”
21.Grace is elusive and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears God — she shall be praised.
22.Give her credit for the fruit of her labors, and let her achievements praise her at the gates.
(Print your own copy with the Hebrew, transliteration, and English at Aish.com, and listen to a recording, too.)