(Original Hebrew) זָמְמָ֣ה דֶה וַתִּקָּחֵ֑הוּ מִפְּרִ֥י כַ֝פֶּ֗יהָ [נְטַע כ] (נָ֣טְעָה ק) כָּֽרֶם׃
(Hebrew Transliterated) zā-mə-māh ḏeh wat-tiq-qā-ḥê-hū; mip-pə-rî ḵap-pe-hā, [nə-ṭa‘ ḵ] (nā-ṭə-‘āh q) kā-rem.
(King James Version) “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”
(Berean Study Bible) “She appraises a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard.”
Breakdown of the word for “She considers” / zā-mə-māh / זָמְמָ֣ה
- Zayin: Movement/Struggle/Harmony/Harvest
- Mem: Water/Wisdom/Coming to completion
- Mem: Water/Wisdom/Coming to completion
- Hey: At the end of a word, hey makes it feminine/fruitful/productive.
Zamemah = She Considers
The imagery behind the letter zayin gives some real weight to this word. Zayin has the image of a struggle, of opposites, of harmony. The ancient Hebrew letter was used for food. How was food made back then? With lots and lots of hard work. When we add the letter zayin to the double mem. It paints a picture of quite a bit of mental effort going into this purchase. This was not simply deciding to a different bag of chips at the store, this was a big decision.
The biggest question for me is why did the author of this section feel the need to discuss the wife making the decision to purchase the field?
I think its because it shows the importance of a woman of wisdom. Too many people think that women should never speak and never make decisions (and leave it to the husband) but what we see here is that her husband has trusted her with weighty matters of money and purchases. This woman definitely knows her numbers and most likely was literate too. This shows us that the kings mother (the author of Prov 31) felt a woman of value was more than simply a woman who cooks and cleans. She has her hand in all household matters.
A Side Hustle
The verse also notes that she buys the field “from her profits” (another translation says “from the fruit of her hands.”) Now I’m not one to advocate separate finances from a spouse but in a time before bank accounts, actual coins were used, and she probably put funds from the sale of flax, wool, woven garments, etc into a separate chest in order to purchase more supplies for that.
Essentially those things would have been considered their own “side business” and separate from the normal household funds where her husband’s income would go (and she probably took a portion of her profits to put into the household fund also.) So what we see here is that she had some money set aside, most likely specifically used to invest in her side businesses, and she made the decision to use those profits to invest in a field. It may have meant she couldn’t spend as much for her other ventures but that she felt this was a wise investment.
I think an important thing to note here is that vineyards take a long time to grow and even longer to produce a profit. It takes about a minimum of 3 years for new grape vines to produce grapes of any value and even longer than that for them to heavily produce enough to produce a profit. And aside from the actual plot of land, she would have needed to purchase seedlings to plant an entire vineyard.
She may have had enough funds to plant the whole vineyard at once or she may have had to build as she went along. Either way, this was a LONG TERM investment. The equivalent to this today would be to invest in a long term stock investment or some other long term plan. It was risky, even then, because the land may not have yielded much or weather conditions could have delayed her hopes.
What is her worth?
The worth of a wife who can do it all is immeasurable. She cooks, she cleans, she raises children, she supports her husband AND she helps bring in some income. So much of history is degrading to women. So many women were not taught to read or do math because men didn’t feel it was necessary for the one task they felt women were good at – reproduction.
Women have been taught to never speak, never have opinions – and now we have the opposite of women breaking out of that and, sometimes, going too far the other way in an attempt to create balance. The reality is that the Creator always meant for women to be a valuable part of the family – and not just for bearing children. If the man is out working all day, or at war, why would he not want his wife at home taking care of things? Why would he not want her to use her time, if she has it, to bring extra income into the home? Why would he not want her to contribute to society?
This chapter, elected to be included in the Bible, is just one proof of the Biblical worth of women. The value that the Creator put on women. Yes, they are home with the family and not out working 8-5 (at least in Biblical times) but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t/shouldn’t contribute to society in a way that uses her talents and fulfills her soul.
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