The Proverbial Woman: Lovingkindness

Proverbs 31:12  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.

This verse is represented by the letter gimel (geeh-mel).  The gimel is represented in pictorial form by the camel.  The camel represents a moving from one place to another and being transported rather than walking under one's own power.  The letter itself is said to represent the freedom of choice to run after the Torah and practice the art of lovingkindness.

Gimel is the first letter of  the first word "Gamal", a verb, found in this verse and translated in English as "she does".  Gamal's meaning is 'to deal bountifully with, to wean, to ripen , recompense".

The verse says "she does him good and not evil all the days of her life..."  The definitions of the word gamal say a great deal to me about what she does.   In her desire to minister to her husband's needs she does so 'bountifully', meaning that she holds nothing back.  Her pursuit of goodness is such that she withholds nothing of her affections and love and gentleness from her husband.  This wife will never treat a stranger more kindly than she does her husband!  The Proverbial Woman has learned well and shows her husband just how much she values him.

The second meaning may be used with a child, 'to wean,' but I think it also means that she has grown from a child into an adult, as has her husband. 

Another meaning of gamal is 'to ripen'.  It is related to the almond in the interpretation but I think we can also relate it to maturing.  The mature almond is the result of proper growth.  At the end of that maturing process we have a nut which may be eaten to provide nourishment or planted to produce another almond tree. In both instances the ripe end product is put to a valuable use just as the lessons we learn in growing and maturing would be put to good use in building character.

And last, the word may be interpreted to mean 'recompense'.  Recompense means to make amends to, to compensate for loss or for harm done.

The verse does say "she does him good and not evilwhich seems  to suggest he is vulnerable in some way.  You cannot do evil to a man who is on guard.  And in this we hail back to the verse before this one "he has full confidence in her".  But it also means something in a spiritual sense. Spiritually, to offer recompense, is to make atonement for sin.  We cannot know what sin the Proverbial woman might have committed.  Sin is generally something that is private, between ourselves and God.  Has she sinned against her husband in thought?  In fact?  In action? 

I have to recall a time in my own life when I lacked trust in anyone.  I measured out my love in direct relation to how loved I felt at the time and that isn't saying anything much!  I had so little sense of my own value that I could not believe my husband truly loved me.  Eventually, I realized I was miserable.  In another time, I might have given up on my marriage but I was not the same woman I'd been.  Instead, I determined that I could only be happy if I fully expressed my love in every way I knew how.  I learned a great deal during that time.  That love is not merely physcial.  It is not merely serving.  Love is not merely submission.  It is giving respect and honor to a person even when you may not feel loved or honored or respected. It is going above and beyond when you least feel like it.  It is giving when it hurts and giving when it goes unnoticed or is taken for granted.  Love, you see, is an action verb.  It's something we must do.   I think that's where this verse comes from with "and not evil".   Other translations say that she 'does him good, not harm'. 

Recompense also seems to denote a form of paying back.   I've often felt that because John is such a good man, I owe it to him to be as good a wife as I can possibly be.  He inspires me to goodness, and perhaps this Proverbial Wife feels that she is the woman of character/valor/honor that she is because her husband is the man he is as well.

"She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life."  And that pretty much says it all doesn't it?  All the days of her life she does good for her husband's sake, throughout their lives together, without failure. 


Kathy said...

Love this! Thank you!

Debby in KS said...


Debbie said...

What a wonderful post! I too was very untrusting of men in particular when I met my husband but could tell immediately that he was a man of good character. He helped me tear down walls that I had put up over the years and I finally allowed myself to be vulnerable. I learned that I don't always have to be the strong one and also had to learn to step back so that my husband could lead our family. I feel a great sense of relief now knowing that my husband is my protector and I try to do everything I can to make sure that he feels just how loved and appreciated that he truly is by myself, our kids and grandkids.

Be blessed!

Lana said...

Absolutely and thank you! The place where respect started for me was stopping the disrespectful conversation in my head. It was very difficult to do and I have to guard against it always.

This is something that I wish I could communicate to so many. One family that sits near us every Sunday in particular. She is soooo angry and since they are in front of us I see her give him hateful looks every few minutes. This is not something that the children do not see and my heart is broken for all of them. From the world's view many would think they have it made since he is an attorney and they live in a beautiful house on a lake. Not so when there is so much strife!

I pray that we all can strive for this all the days of our lives and do our husbands good all of our lives. Somehow it seems that many feel it expires at some point and we are no longer accountable. I do not want to live at war with my best friend at any point!

Living on Less Money Blog said...

A great post! I wondered where you found the information about the letter gimel?

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