(Original Hebrew) דָּ֭רְשָׁה צֶ֣מֶר וּפִשְׁתִּ֑ים וַ֝תַּ֗עַשׂ בְּחֵ֣פֶץ כַּפֶּֽיהָ׃
(Hebrew Transliterated) dā-rə-šāh ṣe-mer ū-p̄iš-tîm; wat-ta-‘aś, bə-ḥê-p̄eṣ
(King James Version) “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”
(Berean Study Bible) “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.”
Breakdown of the word for “She seeks” / dā-rə-šāh / דָּ֭רְשָׁה
- Dallet: Gate/Dilligence/Perseverance
- Resh: Beginning/Container/
- Shin: Fire/Transformation/Balance
Daresah = She seeks
The image of this word “Daresah/Seek” is of a priority search. Its at the very top of the to-do list. And it might not be easy. It may require some work – as a matter of fact, it likely WILL require some work. Its not “seeking” as if feeling the yarn at a yarn shop, rather its a search like her life depends on it. This root word is the same used in so many verses telling us to seek the Father. This is serious business.
The verse, of course, continues on to say that it is wool and flax that she seeks out and that she “works willingly”. Now this word, bə-ḥê-p̄eṣ, broken down, almost brought me to tears. The word very literally means container+energy+words+praise. In other words, the work of her hands is accompanied by an overflowing, overabundance of spoken praise. Like the cup that overflows.
Stop the bus.
So often we are told to be the dutiful wife. We have this image of a woman bent over a washboard, she stands to wipe sweat from her brow. She looks exhausted, yet she presses on, because she must. Because if she doesn’t do it, who will? Nowhere in that image do we see a woman “overflowing with words of praise”.
The wording is not clear whether she is praising for the work of her hands, or simply that she is praising regardless of what is going on. Either way, we see a woman bubbling with praise. Maybe a song on her lips and a smile on her face. We have a clear image of a woman who is the heart and soul of her home, with steady joy and even wisdom pouring out from her very pores.
I’ll be honest. I am not that woman.
More often I’m grumbling about “Gosh, the house is such a wreck. I’m going to be at this all day.” or “Whyyyyyy is there so much laundry???” Many times, I’m grumpy because I have other things I want to do but “duty comes first!” Anybody else relate to this?
What is her worth?
Her worth here in this verse is NOT the products she makes from the wool and flax. Yes, her family is thankful for the fine clothes and linens she provides, but there is more. There is no dollar amount that can be placed on a joyful home.
The wife and mother is the foundation of the home. Her attitude all too often determines the flow of the home. If she is anxious or stressed, her children will feel that and, in turn, be anxious and stressed. If she is sour and angry, her children will be sullen and her husband will loathe the idea of coming home. But if she is joyful and the air in the home is light then the children will feel safe and secure and her husband will count down the minutes to when he can again be in his favorite place.
To be clear, this is not saying that women don’t have struggles. This is not to say that we are required to be happy all of the time. We are human. We will have down days. Hard times will come and we will struggle to even get out of bed, much less sing a tune. What this is referring to is the overall feeling. When her children are grown, will they look back and remember a mom who seemed to always have a joyful spirit, even for unpleasant tasks? Our children won’t remember the one-off days, weeks or even months where we struggle. They will remember the sum of the days over the years.
Our current culture does not teach us joy in all things. We grow up seeing grumbling and complaining. Its ingrained in us. Even the consumer culture is constantly telling us about the problems we have – and their solution to fix it. Our solution to our unhappiness is not a gadget. Our solution is dig deep into ourselves, and to Father, and find the peace that passes all understanding and joy everlasting.