She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”
As I sit to begin this study, our night time temp has dropped to 39 degrees and my feet are freezing!!! I have on my slippers but they are still cold. So as I read this verse I couldn’t help but think about the thick wool socks that I have in my knitting basket still to be completed. I am making them for Paul and realized I needed to get busy if I am going to get them done for him before we have some seriously cold weather. Then I returned my thoughts to the verse and couldn’t help but nod in agreement.
The first phrase of this verse are clear in their wording and definition – “afraid” translates as fearful and the word “snow” is just that – snow. Household refers to her family, home, barns etc – all the things and people within her family unit. I think we all have a fairly obvious picture of this concept. That being the case I want to focus a bit more on the “clothed with scarlet” phrase.
Over the years I have received MANY emails from sisters in Christ who have tried to understand why this “virtuous woman” seems to be so fancy and fixed up in her attire and yet we advocate a plain and unadorned appearance. Well, this will be the beginning of our discussion of this question. We begin with scarlet.
Strong’s H8144 – shaniy
- 1) scarlet, crimson
a) properly, the insect ‘coccus ilicis’, the dried body of the female yielding colouring matter from which is made the dye used for cloth to colour it scarlet or crimson
Allow me to add here from the Hebrew Lexicon:
Strong’s Number: 8438 towla`
- worm, scarlet stuff, crimson
- worm – the female ‘coccus ilicis’
- scarlet stuff, crimson, scarlet
- the dye made from the dried body of the female of the worm “coccus ilicis”
“the worm “coccus ilicis” ++++ When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again. The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. ”
In Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary I found some interesting facts about the use of the color Scarlet throughout scripture:
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” In Isaiah 1:18
Our sin is described using the same word as in our verse 21 reference – our sins being as scarlet. Red symbolizing blood.
In Revelation 12:3 and 17:3 we see that the color of red is mentioned pertaining to the shedding of innocent blood.
In Hebrews 9:19- 23
For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. “
In seeing these references in scripture we can see that while the verse says her household was clothed in scarlet that it is not necessarily meaning that all their clothing was red in color. Could it be that the meaning and intent here is that she gave her own life – day in and day out – every waking moment – to take care of her family and household. Is it possible that this virtuous woman actually sacrificed all her own desires in order to minister to the needs of her loved ones? Or do you think that this entire family walked around in red from head to toe. Somehow that just doesn’t seem to be the image I have in my mind. How about you?
There is much teaching today about women needing to express themselves and step out in their calling of ministry. I have seen so many – and have done so in my younger years – who felt such a determination to get out there and minister to others that they put their children in daycare in order to do so. How many churches have women’s meetings, retreats, etc and ask the ladies of the church to leave their children and husband’s at home. On the same track we see women who spend hours on the telephone or internet instead of seeing to the needs of their household – their housekeeping, their children, their husband. Our ministry as wives and mothers IS to our family. If you are not a wife or mother then you are more able to spend time in ministry separate from your home, but it needs to be in the true ministry of a Titus 2 woman.
Yes, I know this may ruffle some feathers but I will again state my favorite question – Where is the fruit? If you are a wife and/or mother and you are spending chunks of time (yes, I said chunks ) dealing with everything under the sun except for your home and household – the most important fruit of your life is going to become tainted. The evidence of your focus will become clear to everyone. If you are into every church activity or ministry that you can find and you focus on that, I can guarantee that your husband and children will become neglected. How? Because a person knows when they are valued. And I don’t mean by finding the most highly rated babysitter or making sure you only go out on football nights, so your husband won’t feel left alone.
There are so many women who reach their later years – children raised – they begin to examine their life and find results that they never expected. Their husbands are more intent on watching television or going hunting than spending time with them. They are closer to their friends than they are to their husbands. One by one they see their children becoming people that they don’t even know or understand. How many women have I heard say about their children, “I don’t know where they got that attitude?” or “I can’t understand why they never want to be at home?” or “Why have they become so cynical and worldly?” Dear sister – can’t you see why? Are we clothing our family, our household with our own life’s blood of sacrifice or do we just think we do?
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” 1 Timothy 5:14
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3 -5
Oh so much to add but I will wait -
Also, let me address those who do not have a household, per se. Perhaps you are a widow or a single woman or for whatever reason you find yourself without family – what about you? Sister, there are many who are without family in this world. If you are in this situation, then you need to begin to pray for the Lord to lead you to those who need connection as well. Perhaps you can stretch forth your hands to those in the nursing homes or the hospitals. So many there are in desperate need of someone to care about them. Contact the local school and see if there are children who need supplies or coats for the winter. As you begin to seek out those in need, the Lord will set you into a family – He promised to do so.
God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” Psalms 68:6