(Original Hebrew) וַתָּ֤קָם ׀ בְּעֹ֬וד לַ֗יְלָה וַתִּתֵּ֣ן טֶ֣רֶף לְבֵיתָ֑הּ וְ֝חֹ֗ק לְנַעֲרֹתֶֽיהָ׃
(Hebrew Transliterated) wat-tā-qām bə-‘ō-wḏ lay-lāh, wat-tit-tên ṭe-rep̄ lə-ḇê-ṯāh; wə-ḥōq, lə-na-‘ă-rō-ṯe-hā.
(King James Version) “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”
(Berean Study Bible) “She rises while it is still night to provide food for her household and portions for her maidservants.”
Breakdown of the word for “And She Rises” / wat-tā-qām / וַתָּ֤קָם
- Vav: As a prefix this means “and”
- Tav: Perfection/Completion
- Qof: Cycle/Resolution
- Mem: Water/Wisdom/Coming to completion
Wattaqam = And She Rises
This is probably the one verse I never walk to talk about. The whole “She rises while its still night” isn’t my thing. I’m a night owl. And I love to be up late into the night and sleep late in the morning. If I have it my way, I could sleep until noon. Its been a constant source of guilt and shame, especially as a wife and mother.
But here we are. So lets dig in.
She Has Priorities
First, when we start breaking down this word, its important to note that this word begins with Vav, which as a prefix is a connector word. It functions as “and” to connect to the sentence before it. So we have to consider what was said before this – in talking about how she meets her husband for his meal. This is a continuation of that thought. This action she takes in this sentence directly affects the sentence before it. In the verse before we discussed how it may have been painting a picture of her making a special trip to meet her husband for lunch, bringing his favorite foods. In this verse, we see that we are talking about food again but this time for her family and maidservants.
I’m going to throw a maybe controversial (in our modern world) thought out there: She puts her husband first. When discussing food and provisions the Proverbs 31 woman clearly felt the need to discuss the husband first. This is a hard topic that I will only touch on briefly, but as wives, its all too easy to let our husbands (grown men, after all!) take the back burner. But the reality is that the Proverbs 31 woman will never stop getting food and provisions for her family and maidservants. If she wants until she is “done” with that task, then she would never take her husband lunch. So she takes the time to take him lunch.
Obviously, the next verse tells us that she doesn’t neglect her family or servants while taking care of her husband. She just understands that sometimes we have to make special time for the people we love.
She Is Consistent
As we look further at the word, the letter Qof means a cycle. The ancient Hebrew pictograph of this letter was actually the sun rising over the horizon. Now, yes, this implies that the original word probably meant “to rise with the sun” but it could also mean “to do the same thing every day at the expected time.”
This verse is a really simple, but important, lesson. I wanted to avoid too much focus on being a domestic wife in this series (because that’s the focus usually placed on this chapter) but the reality is that part of being a Proverbs 31 wife is keeping the house in order – and that requires getting up and getting things done. It requires consistency.
Now does this mean you can ONLY be a Proverbs 31 wife if you get up at 5:30am? I don’t think so. There are many reasons why getting up later may be best for you. Perhaps you work late. Perhaps your husband works late and you can’t be up at 5am doing dishes. Perhaps you have a health condition that makes that difficult. Or perhaps, like me, you simply function better in the evening hours. (Its currently 11:02pm as I write this.) When I get up early, my brain doesn’t function as well and when I try to do things it takes twice as long. I have come to understand my strengths and weaknesses and this is one of them – I am simply a better homemaker when I do the majority of my preparation later in the day.
I believe the point of this verse is that she rises early to ensure everything is in order. Or to look at the word a different way – she does the same thing at the expected times. She is consistent. She is the one that ensures the day/week/month/year is setup for success. She doesn’t leave her day to chance or hope someone else will handle things. She does it.
So maybe you set your day up the night before, so all you have to do is wake up and get going. Maybe you do it in the afternoon, during naptime. Maybe you take an entire Sunday afternoon to prep for the entire week. Or maybe you rise early as she did and use that first part of the day. Whatever it is that you need to do, the point is to be prepared and to be consistent. Like the rising of the sun.
We all know how stress affects our home. We’ve all had those days that we have woken up 10 minutes before needing to be out the house. Grabbing a protein bar for breakfast and hoping everyone has shoes. Those days will happen because we aren’t perfect, but they shouldn’t be the normal. A peaceful home is going to be set up correctly. Things like meal plans, schedules/rhythms, and a cleaning schedule all keep you ahead of the game. The goal is to be proactive, not reactive.
Just so you know, I am speaking to myself here. I am guilty of sometimes hitting snooze 100 times and waiting until the last possible second before getting up. And, when that happens, my household has always paid dearly for it. I have a chronic struggle with meal plans and cleaning schedules. I often find myself two steps behind where I need to be. I am a work in progress and I have grace for myself as I continue to push myself forward.
If I were to re-write it this verse, it would say “She has a plan in place to ensure her home runs smoothly. She sets her home up for success. She is consistent.” Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” For the Proverbs 31 woman, this looked like getting up before sunrise. And if she were here to talk to us, I think she would encourage us to do whatever it takes to show up consistently in our homes and our situation.
What is her worth?
Being a wife and mom means wearing a bunch of different hats. Its being a cook, house cleaner, nurse, snuggler, lover, confidant and many more. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. Its easy to get bogged down by everything and just give up. Have grace for yourselves. In motherhood we go through many hard seasons, the most common is when we have babies and young children – when we aren’t getting adequate sleep and the house is a mess. Unfortunately, we also live in a world of social media where everyone shows their good days and hides their bad days. We feel so inadequate to everyone else’s highlight reel.
If eating off paper plates allows you to make a home cooked meal for your family, then do that. If hiring a housekeeper is the only way your house gets clean, then do that. If you need to take the kids to Grandma’s one day a month while you meal plan, grocery shop and meal prep, then do that. Your worth is not wrapped up in having the the most decorated house or cooking the fanciest meals. Your worth (in this case) is having a peaceful home where your family is able to live and grow in a healthy environment. The Proverbs 31 woman says nothing about “Her house looked like something from a magazine.”
Lets focus on what truly matters.
Find Verse 7 here – Zayin/She Considers