The Godly Wife as Domestic Warrior

Robert Alter, in his translation and commentary on Wisdom literature, makes the following observation on Proverb 31:10:

10. A worthy woman who can find? This concluding unit of the Book of Proverbs is an alphabetical acrostic (the Hebrew letter for each line appears in the margin). Thus, “a worthy woman” is ’eshet , the first word beginning with ’alef, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. means vigor, strength, worth, substance. It is a martial term transferred to civic life. Some have proposed that the term invites us to see this exemplary wife as a heroic figure, a kind of domestic warrior. It is noteworthy that the editors chose to conclude the book, in which instruction by male mentors to young men predominates, with a portrait of the ideal wife.

© 2012, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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