Courtesy of David and Ellen Epstein/Photo by Richard Nowitz

The virtues of the woman of valor are outlined in acrostic form in Proverbs 31:10–31, depicted in calligraphy by Israeli artist Avraham Yakin. The Hebrew alphabet, highlighted in gold, runs down the right edge of the text (compare with the chart, upper left, which shows the Hebrew characters, their names and their English equivalents).

One translation that preserves this passage’s acrostic form begins “A man who has found a vigorous wife has found a rare treasure, brought from distant shores. Bound to her in loving confidence, he will have no need of spoil…”

In the accompanying article, Harvey Minkoff explores the challenges of translating biblical acrostics and examines the effect of the acrostic form on the meaning of biblical passages. He suggests that Proverbs 31 emphasizes the woman of valor’s capability and completeness by covering the subject from aleph to taw.