"But with thee (Noah) will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee."
King James Version
"The Woman Behind the Man"
"There is nothing more lovely in life than the union of two people whose love for one another has grown through the years from the small acorn of passion to a great rooted tree. Surviving all vicissitudes, and rich with its manifold branches, every leaf holding its own significance."
What would I consider to be some of the most important characteristics a woman can bring to any relationship?
"A woman of valor, who can find? Her worth is far beyond that of rubies."
Proverbs 31: 10
I will never forget several years ago when my mother-in-law passed away after a lengthy battle with lung cancer and dementia. My husband and his sister Irma, chose to read Proverbs 31: 10-31 at her funeral, a tribute to their Godly mother. These words, which outline King Solomon's portrayal of a woman, have been, by historians, suggested as a tribute to his mother, Bathsheba. While we don't know exactly who may have inspired these words, I think we can all agree, this beautiful passage of Scripture is one of the most eloquent ever penned about women.
Jewish historians down through the ages, have found these texts to provide great fodder for Biblical study and interpretation. In fact, we find that a Yemenite collection of "mid rashim" called the Midrash ha-Gadol, identifies 23 different Jewish women from the Old Testament that are "assigned" to each phrase of the passage in Proverbs about women.
As a background the word "midrah" means in Hebrew, "to seek or inquire." A midrash was part of rabbinical commentary on a text – especially if there was something in the text that was a "disturbance" such as a misspelling, or odd grammar – anything a commentator would be drawn to as worthy of notice.
What we find with the text in Proverbs is that Rabbis identified women in Old Testament history who they chose to link with the passages in Proverbs.
By this time you may be saying, "Dorothy, I come to Transformation Garden for inspiration not a history lesson from the Torah." However, what I found is not only enlightening but exciting for without ever seeing or hearing about the names of the women listed in the "Midrah ha-Gadol," I had made a list from the Bible of named, as well as unnamed women, I wanted to be certain we studied. Just imagine my surprise to find that our lists were nearly identical. Beginning, no less, with the first woman mentioned in the Midrash ha Gadol – Noah's wife!
Here's how the description of the lady we will meet today reads:
"A woman of valor, who can find? This is the wife of Noah. As God
said, 'For you alone have I found righteous before Me in this generation.'
Her worth is far beyond that of rubies. Her deeds and those of her
daughters-in-law were far beyond the deeds of the generation of the flood."
From the description of the condition of the world at the time of Mr. and Mrs. Noah, things weren't just bad, they were awful. Genesis 6: 5 (K.J.V.) says: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." This is pathetic. Evil every second of the day. 24 hours a day; 365 days a year. Out of this evil, God identified Mr. and Mrs. Noah and their three sons and three daughters-in-law and He said, "Here are eight people who have chosen light instead of darkness."
No wonder the Rabbis identified Mrs. Noah as a woman of valor. But there's more! Whenever God needed a great work to be done, in the Old Testament, we find Him calling forward "mighty men of valor." In Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, and Nehemiah, God asked for help from "men of valor" because they were "rich in internal" resources and strength. They were united as an unbeatable army. Well guess what, daughters of God, the exact same word used in Hebrew to describe men of "valor" is the same word used to describe women of "virtue." Somewhere along the line women got the idea that a "virtuous" woman, as described by Solomon, related only to one thing—purity. No doubt this is part of the meaning, but don't limit yourself to believing this is all that the word "virtuous" means for if you do, you will miss understanding fully, the depth, width and breadth of the dimensions God has for His girls' lives.
This is why it is so critical we take a closer look at Mrs. Noah. In Proverbs, Solomon asks the question: "Who can find a virtuous woman?" This isn't asked in a way to point out there are none. It's asked in this way: "Have you searched out what a virtuous woman is? Do you know what qualities a woman of valor has?" I ask you, "Why is it so important we know what qualities are essential in the life of a woman of valor? I'll tell you why? When I identify the qualities essential in a woman of valor this important knowledge sets me on the road to becoming a woman of valor in my own life.
Tomorrow we will look at how "Mrs. Noah" lived her life as God's woman of valor in one of the most trying times in earth's history. All I can say after studying about Mrs. Noah for the last few weeks is, "I have a new heroine," and trust me, you will too.
You understand me,
You know my every thought,
my brain is not a mystery to You.
Enter into my mind, Lord,
guide and direct my thoughts.
Be before me when I speak,
be beside me when I act,
be within me when I listen,
that I might possess
the wisdom born of love,
for You are love,
the love which understands
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus