(Original Hebrew) גְּמָלַ֣תְהוּ טֹ֣וב וְלֹא־רָ֑ע כֹּ֝֗ל יְמֵ֣י חַיֶּֽיה ׃
(Hebrew Transliterated) gə-mā-laṯ-hū ṭō-wḇ wə-lō- rā‘; kōl, yə-mê ḥay-yeh
(King James Version) “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”
(Berean Study Bible) “She will bring him good and not harm all the days of her life.”
Breakdown of the word for “She will bring him” / gə-mā-laṯ-hū / גְּמָלַ֣תְהוּ
- Gimel: Balance/Carrying/Change/Motion
- Mem: Water/Wisdom/Coming to completion
- Lammed: Learning/Leading
- Tav: Perfection/Completion
- Hey: Gentleness
- Vav: Man/Him
Gemalathu = She Brings Him
The word Gemalathu carries the image of a gentle force of movement – much like a river. The first letter is typically depicted as a camel that carries someone to their destination. Many translations translate this to “She does him” but I feel that the translation to “She brings him” is more accurate. This word, to me, is not of doing something to someone but rather encouraging them on a journey.
Then there is the addition of the letters for wisdom and learning and of course the hei for gentility. You can also see it as a way to describe a teacher who doesn’t stand at the front of a classroom but walks alongside the students to gently point things out to them.
When you take that word and you combine it with the next part of the verse “good and not evil”, we get a perfect picture here of the wife being a gentle force to help move him into good. The good (tov) here is the same word God used when He describes His completed creation. The evil (ra) here is the same word used to describe how the earth was when God brought the flood. We aren’t talking about making him a tasty dinner. This is talking about encouraging him into righteousness and perfect completion.
And of course, ending the verse with “all the days of her life” means its a lifelong commitment. A journey. Not just when she feels like it. Not just when he’s being a good husband. Every single day. For as long as she is alive. This is serious business.
How Can A Woman Lead?
The Bible goes to great lengths to establish marriage hierarchy. Its obvious that the man is “the head” of the home, but does that mean the woman is to be silent? Far from it. The difference is that the woman is to be a gentle river. A guide. She is to be open, inviting and encouraging. He can step in and out of the river as he pleases, but he needs to know that the river is there. And he can make the choice to walk the long road, or they can work in unison and achieve their goals faster.
Like the river, the woman is not forceful. She does not scream at him or get mad when he doesn’t like her idea. She stays steady and strong. Unwavering. Like the camel, she does he duty steady and surefooted. And like both examples, the husband has a choice to work with her or not. She is wise, strong and available.
What is her worth?
The author of this chapter fully understands the influence that a woman has over her husband. A woman can make or break a man. She can raise him up or she can ruin him. We, as wives, have a responsibility – and sometimes a burden – to guide our husbands to good. To encourage him in the right paths and to respectfully dissuade him from the evil paths.
No, we won’t always be successful, as they are beings with their own minds. And we won’t always be right, either. But a wife holds such a precious treasure of her husband’s trust. In the previous verse, we learned that we are supposed to keep his heart safe, like in a basket, but this verse goes beyond that. We are to keep his trust and his best interests safe as well. And remember that what happens to him, affects us, our children and the generations to come. There is a reason that a family feels the loss of a matriarch so keenly. She really is the rudder to a very important ship.
There are so many instances in history where great kings have done incredible things thanks to the counsel of their wife and there are even more instances where a woman was a great man’s ruin. For a man to have the unwavering support and counsel of a wise and righteous wife is a real blessing indeed.
Find Verse 3 here – Dallet/She Seeks