The Hebrew word chayil is used 150 times in the Old Testament. Look at these other words it is often translated by: army, band of men, band of soldiers, company, forces, great forces, host, might, power, strength, substance, valor, war, able, strong, and valiant. When you have a minute today, look up these passages where the word is translated by one of those: Judg 21:10; 1 Chron 5:18; 2 Kgs 2:16; 2 Chron 33:14; 1 Sam 9:1; 14:48. Of the 150 available, I think that is a good representation. Can you find the word in those verses? If you see one that has anything to do with brave, strong men, that’s it,”worthy.”
We tend to think of strength and courage as specifically masculine traits, and yes, men may have the monopoly on brute strength, but look through Proverbs 31. Not only does this woman have the strength to survive long, busy days, one after the other with no end in sight, but she has the inner strength to survive life! “Hothouse flowers” who “have the vapors” are not who God had in mind when he created woman.
A woman should have the strength to stand by a man through thick and thin, “in sickness and in health,” and all the other things she promised all those years ago, to manage her household (1 Tim 5:14), to teach her children, to help the needy, to serve the saints, and to stand against the wiles of the Devil, and to quench all the fiery darts of the Evil One, Eph 6:11,16.
By using this word in Proverbs 31, both at the beginning of the passage, v 10 and at the end, v 29, God is surely telling us that he expects his women to be strong, inside and out.
Ladies, God says there is strength and courage in femininity—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
A worthy [strong, valiant] woman, who can find? Her price is far above rubies; she girds her loins with strength, and makes her arms strong. Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come. Many daughters have done valiantly but you excel them all. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:10,17,25,29,31.