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A “Virtuous” Wife

 She’s quite the celebrity, that virtuous woman. Countless women’s Bible study books have been written about her and she shows up in conference speeches all the time. But what does that word “virtuous” mean in the Bible? Did you know that it is used 224 times, but only three are translated “virtuous” – the same (and also only) three instances that refer to women. Here they are:

Proverbs 31:10 (NKJV)

Who can find a virtuous wife. For her worth is far above rubies.

 

Proverbs 31:29 (KJV)

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

 

Ruth 3:11 (KJV)

And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.

 

If only three refer to women and those three are the only instances translated “virtuous,” then what do the other ones say? Almost every other instance implies strength or courage in battle or occasionally wealth. Oddly, this is quite similar to what “helper” means in Genesis 2:18&20. To save space (although it’s still long) I am including here only the 98 occurrences that use the exact form of the word as these passages in Proverbs and Ruth.

 

Strong’s Concordance definition:

chayil: strength, efficiency, wealth, army
Original Word: חָ֫יִל
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Short Definition: army

(From BibleHub)

 

Here is a list of every other instance of the specific form of the word used in the above verses in Proverbs and Ruth.

 

Englishman’s Concordance

ḥa·yil — 98 Occurrences

 

Genesis 47:6 

HEB: בָּם֙ אַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֔יִל וְשַׂמְתָּ֛ם שָׂרֵ֥י
NAS: any capable men
KJV: [any] men of activity among them, then make them
INT: any men capable put charge

 

Exodus 18:21 

HEB: הָ֠עָם אַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֜יִל יִרְאֵ֧י אֱלֹהִ֛ים
NAS: the people able men
KJV: out of all the people able men,
INT: the people men able fear God

 

Exodus 18:25 

HEB: מֹשֶׁ֤ה אַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֙יִל֙ מִכָּל־ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל
NAS: Moses chose able men out of all
KJV: chose able men
INT: Moses men able of all Israel

 

Numbers 24:18 

HEB: וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עֹ֥שֶׂה חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: While Israel performs valiantly.
KJV: and Israel shall do valiantly.
INT: Israel performs valiantly

 

Deuteronomy 3:18 

HEB: כָּל־ בְּנֵי־ חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: it; all you valiant men
KJV: all [that are] meet for the war.
INT: all the sons valiant

 

Deuteronomy 8:18 

HEB: כֹּ֖חַ לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת חָ֑יִל לְמַ֨עַן הָקִ֧ים
NAS: to make wealth, that He may confirm
KJV: to get wealth, that he may establish
INT: power to make wealth because of may confirm

 

Judges 3:29 

HEB: וְכָל־ אִ֣ישׁ חָ֑יִל וְלֹ֥א נִמְלַ֖ט
NAS: all robust and valiant men; and no
KJV: and all men of valour; and there escaped
INT: all one and valiant and no escaped

 

Judges 11:1 

HEB: הָיָה֙ גִּבּ֣וֹר חַ֔יִל וְה֖וּא בֶּן־
NAS: the Gileadite was a valiant warrior,
KJV: was a mighty man of valour, and he [was] the son
INT: become warrior was a valiant he was the son

 

Judges 18:2 

HEB: אֲנָשִׁ֨ים בְּנֵי־ חַ֜יִל מִצָּרְעָ֣ה וּמֵֽאֶשְׁתָּאֹ֗ל
NAS: out of their whole number, valiant men
KJV: men of valour, from Zorah,
INT: men the sons valiant Zorah and Eshtaol

 

Judges 20:44 

HEB: אֵ֖לֶּה אַנְשֵׁי־ חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: all these were valiant warriors.
KJV: men; all these [were] men of valour.
INT: these warriors were valiant

 

Judges 20:46 
HEB: אֵ֖לֶּה אַנְשֵׁי־ חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: all these were valiant warriors.
KJV: all these [were] men of valour.
INT: these warriors were valiant

 

Ruth 2:1 

HEB: אִ֚ישׁ גִּבּ֣וֹר חַ֔יִל מִמִּשְׁפַּ֖חַת אֱלִימֶ֑לֶךְ
NAS: of great wealth, of the family
KJV: man of wealth, of the family
INT: A man of great wealth of the family of Elimelech

 

Ruth 4:11 

HEB: יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַעֲשֵׂה־ חַ֣יִל בְּאֶפְרָ֔תָה וּקְרָא־
NAS: and may you achieve wealth in Ephrathah
KJV: and do thou worthily in Ephratah,
INT: of Israel achieve wealth Ephrathah and become

 

1 Samuel 2:4 

HEB: וְנִכְשָׁלִ֖ים אָ֥זְרוּ חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: But the feeble gird on strength.
KJV: are girded with strength.
INT: the feeble gird strength

 

1 Samuel 9:1 

HEB: יְמִינִ֑י גִּבּ֖וֹר חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor.
KJV: a mighty man of power.
INT: right A mighty of valor

 

1 Samuel 14:48 

HEB: וַיַּ֣עַשׂ חַ֔יִל וַיַּ֖ךְ אֶת־
NAS: He acted valiantly and defeated
KJV: And he gathered an host, and smote
INT: acted valiantly and defeated the Amalekites

 

1 Samuel 14:52 

HEB: וְכָל־ בֶּן־ חַ֔יִל וַיַּאַסְפֵ֖הוּ אֵלָֽיו׃
NAS: man or any valiant man, he attached
KJV: man, or any valiant man,
INT: any man valiant attached about

 

1 Samuel 16:18 

HEB: נַ֠גֵּן וְגִבּ֨וֹר חַ֜יִל וְאִ֧ישׁ מִלְחָמָ֛ה
NAS: a mighty man of valor, a warrior,
KJV: and a mighty valiant man, and a man
INT: musician A mighty of valor man A warrior

 

1 Samuel 18:17 

HEB: לִּ֣י לְבֶן־ חַ֔יִל וְהִלָּחֵ֖ם מִלְחֲמ֣וֹת
NAS: only be a valiant man
INT: become man valiant and fight battles

 

1 Samuel 31:12 

HEB: כָּל־ אִ֣ישׁ חַיִל֮ וַיֵּלְכ֣וּ כָל־
NAS: all the valiant men rose
KJV: All the valiant men arose,
INT: all men the valiant and walked all

 

2 Samuel 2:7 

HEB: וִֽהְיוּ֙ לִבְנֵי־ חַ֔יִל כִּי־ מֵ֖ת
INT: become afflicted able for is dead

 

2 Samuel 11:16 

HEB: כִּ֥י אַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֖יִל שָֽׁם׃
NAS: he knew there [were] valiant men.
KJV: where he knew that valiant men
INT: for men there valiant in it

 

2 Samuel 13:28 

HEB: וִהְי֥וּ לִבְנֵי־ חָֽיִל׃ 
INT: become afflicted able

 

2 Samuel 17:10 

HEB: גַם־ בֶּן־ חַ֗יִל אֲשֶׁ֥ר לִבּ֛וֹ
KJV: [is] a mighty man, and [they] which [be] with him [are] valiant men.
INT: and even the one are valiant whose heart

 

2 Samuel 17:10 

HEB: אָבִ֔יךָ וּבְנֵי־ חַ֖יִל אֲשֶׁ֥ר אִתּֽוֹ׃
NAS: and those who are with him are valiant men.
INT: your father man are valiant who for

 

2 Samuel 22:33 

HEB: הָאֵ֥ל מָעוּזִּ֖י חָ֑יִל וַיַּתֵּ֥ר תָּמִ֖ים
NAS: God is my strong fortress;
KJV: [is] my strength [and] power: and he maketh
INT: God fortress is my strong sets the blameless

 

2 Samuel 22:40 

HEB: וַתַּזְרֵ֥נִי חַ֖יִל לַמִּלְחָמָ֑ה תַּכְרִ֥יעַ
NAS: For You have girded me with strength for battle;
KJV: For thou hast girded me with strength to battle:
INT: have girded strength battle have subdued

 

2 Samuel 24:9 

HEB: אֶ֤לֶף אִֽישׁ־ חַ֙יִל֙ שֹׁ֣לֵֽף חֶ֔רֶב
NAS: hundred thousand valiant men who drew
KJV: hundred thousand valiant men that drew
INT: thousand men valiant drew the sword

 

1 Kings 1:42 

HEB: כִּ֣י אִ֥ישׁ חַ֛יִל אַ֖תָּה וְט֥וֹב
NAS: Come in, for you are a valiant man
KJV: unto him, Come in; for thou [art] a valiant man,
INT: for man valiant you good

 

1 Kings 1:52 

HEB: יִהְיֶ֣ה לְבֶן־ חַ֔יִל לֹֽא־ יִפֹּ֥ל
NAS: If he is a worthy man,
KJV: said, If he will shew himself a worthy man,
INT: become man worthy not will fall

 

1 Kings 11:28 

HEB: יָרָבְעָ֖ם גִּבּ֣וֹר חָ֑יִל וַיַּ֨רְא שְׁלֹמֹ֜ה
NAS: Jeroboam was a valiant warrior,
KJV: [was] a mighty man of valour: and Solomon
INT: Jeroboam warrior was a valiant saw Solomon

 

1 Kings 20:25 

HEB: תִֽמְנֶה־ לְךָ֣ ׀ חַ֡יִל כַּחַיִל֩ הַנֹּפֵ֨ל
NAS: and muster an army like the army
KJV: And number thee an army, like the army
INT: you and muster an army the army you have lost

 

2 Kings 2:16 

HEB: אֲנָשִׁ֜ים בְּנֵֽי־ חַ֗יִל יֵ֣לְכוּ נָא֮
NAS: fifty strong men,
KJV: fifty strong men;
INT: men afflicted strong go please

 

2 Kings 5:1 

HEB: הָיָ֛ה גִּבּ֥וֹר חַ֖יִל מְצֹרָֽע׃
NAS: The man was also a valiant warrior,
KJV: man in valour, [but he was] a leper.
INT: become warrior A valiant a leper

 

2 Kings 6:15 

HEB: וַיֵּצֵ֕א וְהִנֵּה־ חַ֛יִל סוֹבֵ֥ב אֶת־
NAS: out, behold, an army with horses
KJV: and gone forth, behold, an host compassed
INT: and gone behold an army was circling the city

 

2 Kings 7:6 

HEB: ס֔וּס ק֖וֹל חַ֣יִל גָּד֑וֹל וַיֹּאמְר֞וּ
NAS: of a great army, so that they said
KJV: of a great host: and they said
INT: of horses the sound army of a great said

 

1 Chronicles 5:18 

HEB: מִן־ בְּנֵי־ חַיִל֒ אֲ֠נָשִׁים נֹשְׂאֵ֨י
NAS: of Manasseh, [consisting] of valiant men,
KJV: of Manasseh, of valiant men, men
INT: at afflicted men men to bear

 

1 Chronicles 5:24 

HEB: אֲנָשִׁים֙ גִּבּ֣וֹרֵי חַ֔יִל אַנְשֵׁ֣י שֵׁמ֔וֹת
NAS: mighty men of valor, famous men,
KJV: mighty men of valour, famous men,
INT: men mighty of valor men famous

 

1 Chronicles 7:2 

HEB: לְתוֹלָ֔ע גִּבּ֥וֹרֵי חַ֖יִל לְתֹלְדוֹתָ֑ם מִסְפָּרָם֙
NAS: [were] mighty men of valor in their generations;
KJV: [they were] valiant men of might in their generations;
INT: Tola men of might their generations number

 

1 Chronicles 7:9 

HEB: אֲבוֹתָ֔ם גִּבּוֹרֵ֖י חָ֑יִל עֶשְׂרִ֥ים אֶ֖לֶף
NAS: 20200mighty men of valor.
KJV: mighty men of valour, [was] twenty
INT: of their fathers mighty of valor twenty thousand

 

1 Chronicles 8:40 

HEB: אֲנָשִׁ֨ים גִּבֹּרֵי־ חַ֜יִל דֹּ֣רְכֵי קֶ֗שֶׁת
NAS: men of valor, archers,
KJV: men of valour, archers,
INT: men were mighty of valour archer arch

 

1 Chronicles 10:12 

HEB: כָּל־ אִ֣ישׁ חַיִל֒ וַיִּשְׂא֞וּ אֶת־
NAS: all the valiant men arose
KJV: They arose, all the valiant men,
INT: all men the valiant and took the body

 

1 Chronicles 11:22 

HEB: בֶּן־ אִֽישׁ־ חַ֛יִל רַב־ פְּעָלִ֖ים
NAS: the son of a valiant man
KJV: the son of a valiant man
INT: the son man of a valiant mighty deeds

 

1 Chronicles 12:26 

HEB: שִׁמְע֗וֹן גִּבּ֤וֹרֵי חַ֙יִל֙ לַצָּבָ֔א שִׁבְעַ֥ת
INT: Simeon champion able appointed time seven

 

1 Chronicles 12:29 

HEB: נַ֖עַר גִּבּ֣וֹר חָ֑יִל וּבֵית־ אָבִ֥יו
INT: babe champion able to the house fathers

 

1 Chronicles 12:31 

HEB: מֵא֑וֹת גִּבּ֣וֹרֵי חַ֔יִל אַנְשֵׁ֥י שֵׁמ֖וֹת
INT: hundred champion able by name

 

1 Chronicles 26:6 

HEB: כִּֽי־ גִבּ֥וֹרֵי חַ֖יִל הֵֽמָּה׃
NAS: for they were mighty men of valor.
KJV: for they [were] mighty men of valour.
INT: for were mighty of valor like

 

1 Chronicles 26:7 

HEB: אֶחָ֖יו בְּנֵי־ חָ֑יִל אֱלִיה֖וּ וּסְמַכְיָֽהוּ׃
NAS: Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men.
KJV: whose brethren [were] strong men,
INT: brothers men were valiant Elihu and Semachiah

 

1 Chronicles 26:8 

HEB: וַאֲחֵיהֶ֔ם אִֽישׁ־ חַ֥יִל בַּכֹּ֖חַ לַעֲבֹדָ֑ה
NAS: and their relatives [were] able men
KJV: and their brethren, able men
INT: and their brethren men able strength the service

 

1 Chronicles 26:9 

HEB: וְאַחִ֛ים בְּנֵי־ חָ֖יִל שְׁמוֹנָ֥ה עָשָֽׂר׃
NAS: and relatives, 18valiant men.
KJV: and brethren, strong men,
INT: and brethren men valiant eight teen

 

1 Chronicles 26:30 

HEB: וְאֶחָ֨יו בְּנֵי־ חַ֜יִל אֶ֣לֶף וּשְׁבַע־
NAS: 1700capable men,
KJV: men of valour, a thousand
INT: and his brethren men capable A thousand and seven

 

1 Chronicles 26:31 

HEB: בָהֶ֛ם גִּבּ֥וֹרֵי חַ֖יִל בְּיַעְזֵ֥יר גִּלְעָֽד׃
NAS: and men of outstanding capability were found
KJV: among them mighty men of valour at Jazer
INT: were found and men capability Jazer of Gilead

 

1 Chronicles 26:32 

HEB: וְאֶחָ֣יו בְּנֵי־ חַ֗יִל אַלְפַּ֛יִם וּשְׁבַ֥ע
NAS: and his relatives, capable men,
KJV: men of valour, [were] two thousand
INT: and his brethren men of valour thousand and seven

 

1 Chronicles 28:1 

HEB: וּֽלְכָל־ גִּבּ֥וֹר חָ֖יִל אֶל־ יְרוּשָׁלִָֽם׃
NAS: men, even all the valiant men.
KJV: and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem.
INT: all men the valiant at Jerusalem

 

2 Chronicles 13:3 

HEB: בָּח֖וּר גִּבּ֥וֹר חָֽיִל׃ ס
NAS: men [who were] valiant warriors.
KJV: men, [being] mighty men of valour.
INT: young warriors valiant

 

2 Chronicles 14:8 

HEB: וַיְהִ֣י לְאָסָ֗א חַיִל֮ נֹשֵׂ֣א צִנָּ֣ה
NAS: had an army of 300,000
KJV: And Asa had an army [of men] that bare
INT: become and Asa were valiant bearing targets

 

2 Chronicles 14:8 

HEB: אֵ֖לֶּה גִּבּ֥וֹרֵי חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: all of them were valiant warriors.
KJV: all these [were] mighty men of valour.
INT: another warriors were valiant

 

2 Chronicles 17:2 

HEB: וַיִּ֨תֶּן־ חַ֔יִל בְּכָל־ עָרֵ֥י
NAS: He placed troops in all the fortified
KJV: And he placed forces in all the fenced
INT: placed troops all cities

 

2 Chronicles 17:13 

HEB: מִלְחָמָ֛ה גִּבּ֥וֹרֵי חַ֖יִל בִּירוּשָׁלִָֽם׃
NAS: and warriors, valiant men,
KJV: mighty men of valour, [were] in Jerusalem.
INT: and warriors men of valour Jerusalem

 

2 Chronicles 17:14 

HEB: וְעִמּוֹ֙ גִּבּ֣וֹרֵי חַ֔יִל שְׁלֹ֥שׁ מֵא֖וֹת
NAS: and with him 300,000 valiant warriors;
KJV: and with him mighty men of valour three
INT: with warriors valiant three hundred

 

2 Chronicles 17:16 

HEB: אֶ֖לֶף גִּבּ֥וֹר חָֽיִל׃ ס
NAS: and with him 200,000 valiant warriors;
KJV: thousand mighty men of valour.
INT: thousand warriors valiant

 

2 Chronicles 17:17 

HEB: בִּנְיָמִ֔ן גִּבּ֥וֹר חַ֖יִל אֶלְיָדָ֑ע וְעִמּ֛וֹ
NAS: Eliada a valiant warrior,
KJV: a mighty man of valour, and with him armed men
INT: Benjamin man of valour Eliada with

 

2 Chronicles 24:24 

HEB: נָתַ֨ן בְּיָדָ֥ם חַ֙יִל֙ לָרֹ֣ב מְאֹ֔ד
NAS: Indeed the army of the Arameans came
KJV: For the army of the Syrians came
INT: delivered their hands the army great A very

 

2 Chronicles 25:6 

HEB: אֶ֛לֶף גִּבּ֥וֹר חָ֖יִל בְּמֵאָ֥ה כִכַּר־
NAS: also 100,000 valiant warriors
KJV: mighty men of valour out of Israel
INT: thousand warriors valiant hundred talents

 

2 Chronicles 26:11 

HEB: וַיְהִ֣י לְעֻזִּיָּ֡הוּ חַיִל֩ עֹשֵׂ֨ה מִלְחָמָ֜ה
NAS: had an army ready
KJV: Moreover Uzziah had an host of fighting
INT: had Uzziah an army ready battle

 

2 Chronicles 26:12 

HEB: הָאָבוֹת֙ לְגִבּ֣וֹרֵי חָ֔יִל אַלְפַּ֖יִם וְשֵׁ֥שׁ
NAS: of the households, of valiant warriors,
KJV: of the mighty men of valour [were] two thousand
INT: of the fathers men of valour thousand and six

 

2 Chronicles 26:13 

HEB: מִלְחָמָ֖ה בְּכֹ֣חַ חָ֑יִל לַעְזֹ֥ר לַמֶּ֖לֶךְ
NAS: their direction was an elite army of 307,500,
KJV: war with mighty power,
INT: war power great to help the king

 

2 Chronicles 26:17 

HEB: שְׁמוֹנִ֖ים בְּנֵי־ חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: priests of the LORD, valiant men.
KJV: of the LORD, [that were] valiant men:
INT: eighty men valiant

 

2 Chronicles 28:6 

HEB: הַכֹּ֣ל בְּנֵי־ חָ֑יִל בְּעָזְבָ֕ם אֶת־
NAS: all valiant men,
KJV: day, [which were] all valiant men;
INT: all men valiant had forsaken the LORD

 

2 Chronicles 32:21 

HEB: כָּל־ גִּבּ֥וֹר חַ֙יִל֙ וְנָגִ֣יד וְשָׂ֔ר
KJV: all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders
INT: every mighty of valour commander and officer

 

2 Chronicles 33:14 

HEB: וַיָּ֧שֶׂם שָֽׂרֵי־ חַ֛יִל בְּכָל־ הֶעָרִ֥ים
NAS: Then he put army commanders
KJV: captains of war in all the fenced
INT: put commanders army all cities

 

Ezra 8:22 

HEB: מִן־ הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ חַ֣יִל וּפָרָשִׁ֔ים לְעָזְרֵ֥נוּ
NAS: from the king troops and horsemen
KJV: of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen
INT: from the king troops and horsemen to protect

 

Nehemiah 2:9 

HEB: הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ שָׂ֥רֵי חַ֖יִל וּפָרָשִֽׁים׃ פ
NAS: with me officers of the army and horsemen.
KJV: captains of the army and horsemen
INT: now the king officers of the army and horsemen

 

Nehemiah 11:6 

HEB: וּשְׁמֹנָ֖ה אַנְשֵׁי־ חָֽיִל׃ ס
NAS: in Jerusalem were 468 able men.
KJV: threescore and eight valiant men.
INT: and eight men able

 

Nehemiah 11:14 

HEB: וַאֲחֵיהֶם֙ גִּבּ֣וֹרֵי חַ֔יִל מֵאָ֖ה עֶשְׂרִ֣ים
NAS: and their brothers, valiant warriors,
KJV: mighty men of valour, an hundred
INT: and their brethren men of valour an hundred twenty

 

Job 20:15 

HEB: חַ֣יִל בָּ֭לַע וַיְקִאֶ֑נּוּ
NAS: He swallows riches, But will vomit
KJV: He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again:
INT: riches swallows again

 

Job 21:7 

HEB: גַּם־ גָּ֥בְרוּ חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: on, also become very powerful?
KJV: become old, yea, are mighty in power?
INT: also become very

 

Psalm 18:32 

HEB: הָ֭אֵל הַמְאַזְּרֵ֣נִי חָ֑יִל וַיִּתֵּ֖ן תָּמִ֣ים
NAS: who girds me with strength And makes
KJV: that girdeth me with strength, and maketh
INT: the God girds strength and makes perfect

 

Psalm 18:39 

HEB: וַתְּאַזְּרֵ֣נִי חַ֭יִל לַמִּלְחָמָ֑ה תַּכְרִ֖יעַ
NAS: For You have girded me with strength for battle;
KJV: For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle:
INT: have girded strength battle have subdued

 

Psalm 33:16 

HEB: נוֹשָׁ֣ע בְּרָב־ חָ֑יִל גִּ֝בּ֗וֹר לֹֽא־
NAS: by a mighty army; A warrior
KJV: by the multitude of an host: a mighty man
INT: saved A mighty army A warrior is not

 

Psalm 60:12 

HEB: בֵּֽאלֹהִ֥ים נַעֲשֶׂה־ חָ֑יִל וְ֝ה֗וּא יָב֥וּס
NAS: we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down
KJV: we shall do valiantly: for he [it is that] shall tread down
INT: God shall do valiantly who will tread

 

Psalm 62:10 

HEB: אַל־ תֶּ֫הְבָּ֥לוּ חַ֤יִל ׀ כִּֽי־ יָנ֑וּב
NAS: If riches increase,
KJV: in robbery: if riches increase,
INT: not vainly riches If increase

 

Psalm 73:12 

HEB: ע֝וֹלָ֗ם הִשְׂגּוּ־ חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: they have increased [in] wealth.
KJV: they increase [in] riches.
INT: and always have increased wealth

 

Psalm 76:5 

HEB: כָל־ אַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֣יִל יְדֵיהֶֽם׃
NAS: And none of the warriors could use
KJV: and none of the men of might have found
INT: and none of the men of the warriors his hands

 

Psalm 84:7 

HEB: מֵחַ֣יִל אֶל־ חָ֑יִל יֵרָאֶ֖ה אֶל־
NAS: from strength to strength, [Every one of them] appears
KJV: from strength to strength, [every one of them] in Zion
INT: strength before to strength appears before

 

Psalm 108:13 

HEB: בֵּֽאלֹהִ֥ים נַעֲשֶׂה־ חָ֑יִל וְ֝ה֗וּא יָב֥וּס
NAS: we will do valiantly, And it is He who shall tread down
KJV: we shall do valiantly: for he [it is that] shall tread down
INT: God will do valiantly who shall tread

 

Psalm 118:15 

HEB: יְ֝הוָה עֹ֣שָׂה חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: of the LORD does valiantly.
KJV: of the LORD doeth valiantly.
INT: of the LORD does valiantly

 

Psalm 118:16 

HEB: יְ֝הוָה עֹ֣שָׂה חָֽיִל׃ 
NAS: of the LORD does valiantly.
KJV: of the LORD doeth valiantly.
INT: of the LORD does valiantly

 

Proverbs 12:4 

HEB: אֵֽשֶׁת־ חַ֭יִל עֲטֶ֣רֶת בַּעְלָ֑הּ
NAS: An excellent wife is the crown
KJV: A virtuous woman [is] a crown
INT: wife an excellent is the crown of her husband

 

Proverbs 31:10 

HEB: אֵֽשֶׁת־ חַ֭יִל מִ֣י יִמְצָ֑א
NAS: An excellent wife, who
KJV: Who can find a virtuous woman?
INT: wife an excellent who find

 

Proverbs 31:29 

HEB: בָּ֭נוֹת עָ֣שׂוּ חָ֑יִל וְ֝אַ֗תְּ עָלִ֥ית
NAS: have done nobly, But you excel
KJV: have done virtuously, but thou excellest
INT: daughters have done nobly you excel

 

Isaiah 5:22 

HEB: יָ֑יִן וְאַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֖יִל לִמְסֹ֥ךְ שֵׁכָֽר׃
NAS: wine And valiant men
KJV: and men of strength to mingle
INT: wine and men and valiant mixing strong

 

Isaiah 43:17 

HEB: רֶֽכֶב־ וָס֖וּס חַ֣יִל וְעִזּ֑וּז יַחְדָּ֤ו
NAS: and the horse, The army and the mighty man
KJV: and horse, the army and the power;
INT: the chariot and the horse the army and the mighty together

 

Jeremiah 48:14 

HEB: אֲנָ֑חְנוּ וְאַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֖יִל לַמִּלְחָמָֽה׃
NAS: And men valiant for battle’?
KJV: ye, We [are] mighty and strong men
INT: we men valiant battle

 

Ezekiel 28:4 

HEB: עָשִׂ֥יתָ לְּךָ֖ חָ֑יִל וַתַּ֛עַשׂ זָהָ֥ב
NAS: You have acquired riches for yourself And have acquired
KJV: thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten
INT: and understanding have acquired riches acquired gold

 

Ezekiel 37:10 

HEB: עַל־ רַגְלֵיהֶ֔ם חַ֖יִל גָּד֥וֹל מְאֹד־
NAS: an exceedingly great army.
KJV: an exceeding great army.
INT: on their feet army great an exceedingly

 

Nahum 2:3 

HEB: מְאָדָּ֗ם אַנְשֵׁי־ חַ֙יִל֙ מְתֻלָּעִ֔ים בְּאֵשׁ־
KJV: is made red, the valiant men
INT: are red the warriors the valiant are dressed flashing

(From BibleHub)

 

So, what does the Hebrew word translated “virtuous” in the three verses that it is used to reference women typically mean? Well, it doesn’t mean “having or showing high moral standards” or “chaste,” which is the English dictionary definition of “virtuous.” This is a term of strength. It is a term denoting valor. King Lemuel’s mother is not telling him to go find a sexually pure woman; she is telling him to go find himself a strong, valiant one.

 

Rachel Shubin

Critical thinker, obsessive reader and writer (not just on this blog), Bible-studier, church-goer, Jesus woman.

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