Every Wednesday night we have a lite meal at 6 followed by prayer requests and bible study until 7:30. Tonight I am starting a new study and because I was pleased with some of the information my research turned up I thought I would share tonight’s handout. Hopefully you can come join us soon!
Ezer Chayil: Women in the Old Testament
Ezer a noun that appears 21 times in the Hebrew Bible. Its first occurrence is Genesis 2:18
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
A second occurrence also refers to Eve. Three times it refers to a powerful nation that gives military support to Israel or Judah. Each of the remaining 16 times the word is used for God. While ezer can be translated as “helper” it means more than assistant or servant. Ezer is the one who responds to a cry for help, a rescuer, one could even say a savior.
While the word is only used of Eve, there are many women in the Old Testament who fall acts as an ezer and in doing so shape the history of God’s people.
The Qualities of an Ezer
Proverbs 31:10 asks, “A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” The Hebrew word rendered here as “capable” is chayil. It is used in the Old Testament 242 times, usually to describe soldiers or armies. In 2 Samuel 23 David’s “mighty men” were chayil for their courage and strength. Thus a better rendering might be “valiant.” So what are the qualities of a “Valiant Helper”?
An ezer chayil is trustworthy (Prov 31:11-12)
An ezer chayil is shrewd (Prov 31:13-18)
An ezer chayil is generous (Prov 31:19-20)
An ezer chayil is diligent (Prov 31:21-25).
Seven Examples of Ezer Chayil women in the Hebrew Bible
Shiphrah and Puah (Exodus 1:8-22)
Rahab (Joshua 2)
Deborah and Jael (Judges 4-5)
Abagail (1 Samuel 25)
Huldah (2 Kings 22)
Esther (Esther 4)