The Proverbs 31…Man?
By Kathi Woodall –
Many of us are acquainted with the Proverbs 31 Woman. Not to get into name-calling, but sometimes she goes by Noble, and some people call her Virtuous. I prefer to call her Chayil Woman because that’s her name in Hebrew. When her name comes up in conversation, we think, “Oh no, not her again.” I know that’s how I felt until I took the time to get to know her. Then I saw the side of her most people don’t see; a valiant woman protecting and defending her home and her children from the invading evils of the world.
Although she is primarily known as a child of God, she is also widely seen as a wife. Her role as a wife makes me wonder, have any of us ever met her husband, the Proverbs 31 Man? How would we recognize the Chayil Man?
In Proverbs 31, our proverbial sister is introduced in verse ten, and her husband puts in an appearance in the very next verse. “Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:11-12 NIV). The Chayil Man is confident because his wife is strong, capable, faithful, and generous. Her actions add goodness to their life together rather than distress or misery. He has confidence and a sense of security in knowing his wife takes care of issues with wisdom.
Like many men, the Chayil Man is quiet for several verses and appears again in Proverbs 31:23. “Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.” The Chayil Man is respected. His wife doesn’t ridicule or criticize him to his face, to her friends or to her mother. She doesn’t subtly or overtly manipulate and control him. Just as he loves her as Christ loved the church, she submits to his authority (Ephesians 5:22-25). Her private and public respect not only increases his confidence, but also enables others to recognize him as a man worthy of respect.
Finally, the Chayil Couple is mentioned in Proverbs 12:4, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” The Chayil Man is crowned. In the culture in which these verses were written, a crown or a wreath was a sign of joy and honor. The Chayil Woman adds joy and honor to his life which he displays for the world to see. She isn’t known for disgraceful behavior that is like decay in his bones, or, in other words, a shame he hides deep within himself.
Proverbs teaches the Chayil Man is confident, crowned and respected. The rest of Scripture presents him as a mighty warrior, a strong and powerful man of valor. Maybe you recognize him or maybe this is the first time you’ve been introduced to him. For us as women to become who we are created to be as chayil – Hebrew for noble or virtuous – women, we need to start recognizing our men for who they are: confident, respected and crowned men of valor.