Virtuous Woman: Man’s Call to Action

Originally published on

Today’s reading: Leviticus 17; Psalms 20–21; Proverbs 31; 1 Timothy 2

April 13th, 2016.


The Virtuous Woman is a passage that I am afraid may often be misunderstood. If you read this passage and hear a to do list, you are not alone. It was a year or so back that Jamie and I got a bit of advice from a good friend in reference to this scripture. Jamie had felt a need to ‘check the boxes’ when reading it, but it seemed impossible. The advice came in the form of a simple story that revealed a new perspective on the purpose of this passage. It begins with a woman feeling like she is not measuring up to the Virtuous Woman. As she bears her heart to her friend, her friend tells her that she had never read the Virtuous Woman in that way. Her friend went on to explain that each Friday night at the dinner table her father would read this passage aloud to her mother, not as a measure but as a blessing. In this way the passage is not inserted into the home as an impossible to do list for the wife but a picture of the future full of encouragement and support. We have since learned this is a Jewish tradition called Eshet Chayil. It is an interesting observation that this passage was not written to a woman but to a man. I wonder then, what is a man to do with it?