Just a few days ago, I was in the grocery store, on my way to the checkout carrying a 5 lb. bag of flour. A little boy wandered past me and patted his mother on her arm. "Mommy, do ladies have muscles?" Looking down at her son, she smiled. "Ladies do actually have muscles, just not as big and strong as men's muscles." Confidently, the little boy added, "I'm quite sure that ladies have hardly any muscle at all."
I chuckled as I finished my purchase, but it set me to thinking. In today's culture there has for certain been a de-feminization of women. Even those of us who are desiring to be a feminine and Biblical woman may fall into the trap of becoming lazy, complaining, complacent people. What if we aren't living like the true women we ought to be?
A study on the word "virtuous" found in Proverbs 31:10 revealed the following quotation:
"'Virtuous' is a translation of the Hebrew 'chavil' (or 'havil'). According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 'chavil' is used to denote 'strength, power, or might' in a variety of ways. It may refer to the strength of God (Ps. 59:11), the physical strength of man (Eccl. 10:10), or even the strength of a plant (Joel 2:22). And, according to Young's Analytical Concordance, 'chavil' is translated 'valor' 37 times and translated 'army' 54 times.
"'When used of a woman (Ruth 3:11; Prov. 12:4; 31:10) it is translated "virtuous", but it may well be that a woman of this caliber had all the attributes of her male counterpart' (TWOT). The masculine attributes described seem to indicate an individual not only with physical strength, but also strength of character, and possibly one of some wealth and social standing. And the attributes of the 'virtuous' woman as shown in Proverbs 31 seem to fit that pattern.
"The Septuagint translates the Hebrew 'chavil' of Ruth 3:11 into the Greek 'dunamis', which means 'power'. Proverbs 12:4 and 31:10 are translated 'andreia', which means 'manly'.
"From this we see that though 'virtuous' would include the moral purity which evidences strength of character, it would not be limited to moral purity. A virtuous woman would be a woman strong in all facets of her life!"
-Sandra Cobble from http://www.oldpaths.com
So, it began to dawn upon me that the weak and wimpy form of womanhood we see today is also a part of the de-feminization of women.
What would it look like if women were hardy workers, patient sufferers, and faithful helpmeets and mothers, doing much but expecting little in return? What of women who not only did domestic duties of a household but joined their husbands in manual labor? What of women who had great fortitude that settled the wild frontier and killed the invading beast when her husband was away?
What of women who made the commitment to be hard workers, strong in fortitude and labor, ever vigilant in the duties of home and family?
Let's be sturdy women, content in the present and brave to the future!
"She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms."
And strengthens her arms."