The Mystery in Chayil: The Hebrew Word for Valor

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What does it mean when the Bible uses the phrase "a mighty man of valor"? Does this apply to women as well? Can anyone become a mighty man of valor? Is there anything in the letters of the Hebrew word for valor that would give us more understanding? Will anything here point to Messiah? Let’s find out. 

In the book of Joshua, which is the first book following the Torah in our Ancient Prophetic text, there are four separate accounts detailing the exploits of mighty men of valor. The first time this phrase appears in Joshua is in Chapter 1 verse 14:

Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side of the Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them. 

Our dictionary today states that valor is great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle. The conventional Hebrew means more of a force, especially of an army, but can also mean a force of might, power, riches, or virtue. Here the mighty men of valor are the armed men of the army of Israel. What can the letters in the Hebrew word Chayil tell us about these men?

Chayil is spelled Chet, Yood, Lamed. 


Chet is the picture of the fence and indicates a place of protection, a sanctuary, or a place of security. 


Yood is the picture of the hand or arm and points to a mighty deed. 


Lamed is the picture of the shepherd’s staff and demonstrates the voice of authority or control.

So the first mystery we find in the letters of Chayil is that these warriors of the army of Israel were Lamed, (under strong leadership) Yood, (performing a mighty work), and Chet, (providing a place of protection, a sanctuary for their people, especially for their wives and little ones). What man wouldn’t want to be included in this group? Is this how you view yourself? 

Does Yahweh view us as men of Chayil? Let’s pick up the account of an Israelite named Gideon in Chapter 6 of the book of Judges and see. Beginning in the middle of verse 11 we read:

Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites, and the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 

Gideon is hiding from his enemies in a winepress threshing wheat when Yahweh appears to him and Yahweh calls him a mighty man of valor. Gideon certainly doesn’t see himself that way for he replies in verse 15: 

And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel?  Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.

And in the reply of Yahweh in verse 16 we see how He views us even when we are hiding from our enemies and feeling completely unworthy:  

And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. 

In Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Torah, Chayil is used in a different way. In Chapter 8 verse 18 Moses writes:

But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 

The word translated wealth here is Chayil. The picture again is that the force of might, power, or riches, the Chayil comes from Yahweh to serve His purposes and we are to remember that.

But is there such a thing as a woman of valor, a woman of Chayil?

In the writings of the Ancient Prophetic Text, we call Proverbs, there is an intriguing verse about such a woman. Solomon writes in Chapter 31 verse 10:

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.

You guessed it, the virtuous woman is Chayil, the woman of valor, the force for virtue. And what does Solomon say about her?  She is invaluable. Is it because of her prowess in battle? Not even close. Solomon gives a long list of her accomplishments and her character, but concludes in verse 29 and 30: 

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favour is deceitful, and beauty vain, but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  

The word virtuously is Chayil, so we find the outstanding woman of valor begins with the fear of the LORD. That fear is reverence, not terror. She follows His voice of authority and does a mighty work to provide a sanctuary for her family. 

Is there a connection to Messiah in Chayil? The numbers represented by the letters will show that connection. 

The letter Chet is also the number 8 which is a new beginning. The letter Yood is the number 10 and stands for something ordained in Heaven. The letter Lamed is also the number 30 and points to the blood of Christ and His blood sacrifice. The numbers tell us that Elohim has ordained in Heaven that the blood sacrifice of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach will give us a new beginning. We will have freedom from sin through that blood sacrifice and the promise of a new beginning with Him. 

There is one final twist to the mystery in the word Chayil. In the final verse of the prophet Habakkuk in Chapter 3 verse 19 we find this truth: 

The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.  

The word strength is again Chayil or valor. The LORD God, or Yahweh Adonai, is our ultimate man of valor. He is the voice of authority who by the mighty work of His blood sacrifice provided an eternal place of sanctuary for us with Him in Heaven.  If you have placed your trust in Him, He sees you as He saw Joshua’s fighting men; Gideon hiding in the winepress, and the woman in Proverbs 31: Chayil, mighty men and women of valor.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. emeline wright says:

    I have bought volume 1,2,3 for myself and another set for my sunday school teacher. Wonderful, bringing Glory to our God.
    Thank you.

  2. C.d. Brown says:

    Tremendous discovery. Empowering and healing at the same time. Chayil Woman of God! Makes me walk as the true warrior of God I am!
    I have a hunger to study and learn more about the Chayil Woman.

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