Eishet Chayil, A Woman of Valor

January 18, 2008

Introduction

This is a psalm originally written by King Solomon. It sings the praises of a righteous woman, and in Jewish families is sung on Friday nights by the husband to his wife, thanking her for another week of work. It is found in the book of Proverbs, chapter 31, verses 10-31. This Arabic version came from http://www.biblegateway.com. I was working from that translation closely and directly, and I’ve posted the original Hebrew and the traditional English translation after mine, to compare.

The Arabic:

مَنْ يَعْثُرُ عَلَى الْمَرْأَةِ الْفَاضِلَةِ؟ إِنَّ قِيمَتَهَا تَفُوقُ اللَّآلِيءَ.
بِهَا يَثِقُ قَلْبُ زَوْجِهَا فَلاَ يَحْتَاجُ إِلَى مَا هُوَ نَفِيسٌ
تُسْبِغُ عَلَيْهِ الْخَيْرَ دُونَ الشَّرِّ كُلَّ أَيَّامِ حَيَاتِهَا
تَلْتَمِسُ صُوفاً وَكَتَّاناً وَتَشْتَغِلُ بِيَدَيْنِ رَاضِيَتَيْنِ،
فَتَكُونُ كَسُفُنِ التَّاجِرِ الَّتِي تَجْلِبُ طَعَامَهَا مِنْ بِلاَدٍ نَائِيَةٍ
تَنْهَضُ وَاللَّيْلُ مَا بَرِحَ مُخَيِّماً، لِتُعِدَّ طَعَاماً لأَهْلِ بَيْتِهَا، وَتُدَبِّرَ أَعْمَالَ جَوَارِيهَا
تَتَفَحَّصُ حَقْلاً وَتَشْتَرِيهِ، وَمِنْ مَكْسَبِ يَدَيْهَا تَغْرِسُ كَرْماً
تُنَطِّقُ حَقَوَيْهَا بِالْقُوَّةِ وَتُشَدِّدُ ذِرَاعَيْهَا
وَتُدْرِكُ أَنَّ تِجَارَتَهَا رَابِحَةٌ، وَلاَ يَنْطَفِيءُ سِرَاجُهَا فِي اللَّيْلِ
تَقْبِضُ بِيَدَيْهَا عَلَى الْمِغْزَلِ وَتُمْسِكُ كَفَّاهَا بِالْفَلَكَةِ
تَبْسُطُ كَفَّيْهَا لِلْفَقِيرِ وَتَمُدُّ يَدَيْهَا لإِغَاثَةِ الْبَائِسِ
لاَ تَخْشَى عَلَى أَهْلِ بَيْتِهَا مِنَ الثَّلْجِ، لأَنَّ جَمِيعَهُمْ يَرْتَدُونَ الْحُلَلَ الْقِرْمِزِيَّةَ
تَصْنَعُ لِنَفْسِهَا أَغْطِيَةً مُوَشَّاةً، وَثِيَابُهَا مُحَاكَةٌ مِنْ كَتَّانٍ وَأُرْجُوَانٍ
زَوْجُهَا مَعْرُوفٌ فِي مَجَالِسِ بَوَّابَاتِ الْمَدِينَةِ، حَيْثُ يَجْلِسُ بَيْنَ وُجَهَاءِ الْبِلاَدِ
تَصْنَعُ أَقْمِصَةً كَتَّانِيَّةً وَتَبِيعُهَا، وَتُزَوِّدُ التَّاجِرَ الْكَنْعَانِيَّ بِمَنَاطِقَ
كِسَاؤُهَا الْعِزَّةُ وَالشَّرَفُ، وَتَبْتَهِجُ بِالأَيَّامِ الْمُقْبِلَةِ
يَنْطِقُ فَمُهَا بِالْحِكْمَةِ، وَفِي لِسَانِهَا سُنَّةُ الْمَعْرُوفِ
تَرْعَى بِعِنَايَةٍ شُؤُونَ أَهْلِ بَيْتِهَا، وَلاَ تَأْكُلُ خُبْزَ الْكَسَلِ
يَقُومُ أَبْنَاؤُهَا وَيَغْبِطُونَهَا، وَيُطْرِيهَا زَوْجُهَا أَيْضاً قَائِلاً
«نِسَاءٌ كَثِيرَاتٌ قُمْنَ بِأَعْمَالٍ جَلِيلَةٍ، وَلَكِنَّكِ تَفَوَّقْتِ عَلَيْهِنَّ جَمِيعاً»
الْحُسْنُ غِشٌّ وَالْجَمَالُ بَاطِلٌ، أَمَّا الْمَرْأَةُ الْمُتَّقِيَّةُ الرَّبَّ فَهِيَ الَّتِي تُمْدَحُ
أَعْطُوهَا مِنْ ثَمَرِ يَدَيْهَا، وَلْتَكُنْ أَعْمَالُهَا مَصْدَرَ الثَّنَاءِ عَلَيْهَا

Translation
Who can find a righteous woman? Her value is beyond pearls.
Her husband’s heart trusts her and he needs nothing expensive,
She bestows goodness and not evil upon him all the days of her life,
She searches for wool and linen, then works with her willing hands,
She is like ships bringing food from distant countries,
She wakes while it is still night to prepare food for her family, and supervises the work of her servants,
She inspects a field and buys it, and with the gains of her hands she plants a vineyard
Her loins are girlded with strength, and her arms are tough,
She knows her work has worth, and her lamp doesn’t go out at night,
She grips the spinning wheel in her hands, and her palms grasp its spin,
She opens her palms to the poor, and extends her arm to help the suffering,
She doesn’t fear the cold for her family, for they all wear scarlet garments,
She makes embroidered tableclothes, and her clothing is sewn from purple linens,
Her husband is known at the meeting-places at the gates of the city, for he sits among the country’s notables,
She makes linen shirts and sells them, giving the Caananite merchants belts,
Her garments are esteemed and honorable, and she rejoices for the coming days
Her mouth speaks wisdom, and on her tounge are the traditions of the day
She takes care of her family with concern, and never eats the bread of laziness
Her sons are happy with her, and her husband praises her, saying:
“Many women have done great works, but you have outshined them all”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is vain, a woman who fears God, she shall be praised.
Give her the fruits of her hands, and let her actions be the source of her praise.

Original Hebrew Version

 

אשת חיל מי ימצא, ורחוק מפנינים מכרה.
בטח בה לב בעלה, ושלל לא יחסר.
גמלתהו טוב ולא רע, כל ימי חייה.
דרשה צמר ופשתים, ותעש בחפץ כפיה.
היתה כאניות סוחר, ממרחק תביא לחמה.
ותקם בעוד לילה, ותתן טרף לביתה, וחוק לנערותיה.
זממה שדה ותקחהו, מפרי כפיה נטעה כרם.
חגרה בעוז מתניה, ותאמץ זרועותיה.
טעמה כי טוב סחרה, לא יכבה בלילה נרה.
ידיה שלחה בכישור, וכפיה תמכה פלך.
כפה פרשה לעני, וידיה שלחה לאביון.
לא תירא לביתה משלג, כי כל ביתה לבוש שנים.
מרבדים עשתה לה, שש וארגמן לבושה.
נודע בשערים בעלה, בשבתו עם זקני ארץ.
סדין עשתה ותמכור, וחגור נתנה לכנעני.
עוז והדר לבושה, ותשחק ליום אחרון.
פיה פתחה בחכמה, ותורת חסד על לשונה.
צופיה הליכות ביתה, ולחם עצלות לא תאכל.
קמו בניה ויאשרוה, בעלה ויהללה.
רבות בנות עשו חיל, ואת עלית על כולנה.
שקר החן והבל היופי, אשה יראת ה’ היא תתהלל.
תנו לה מפרי ידיה, ויהללוה בשערים מעשיה.

Translation from English Standard Book of Proverbs

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the God is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

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One Response to “Eishet Chayil, A Woman of Valor”

  1. Sheva Says:

    feminists would have a field day on this.. :)

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