She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Now we get to a very interesting verse in our Virtuous Woman bible study. This is one that has caused much discussion for women who feel called to the plain community – plain meaning unadorned – as well as women who feel that they need to be dressed to the hilt as a daughter of the King! Why would this woman be considered a virtuous woman and her clothing be purple and silk? And yet, we believe that the daughters of Christ should be outwardly unadorned except with a “meek and quiet spirit”. I mean, silk and purple and tapestry – pretty fancy, right???
We begin with tapestry. “She maketh herself” -
Strong’s H6213 – `asah
1) to do, fashion, accomplish, make
1) to do, work, make, produce
a) to do
b) to work
c) to deal (with)
d) to act, act with effect, effect
The word for “maketh” in Hebrew has a long and varied definition but I am including only the first section. You are welcome to examine the remainder in your own study. I believe that this first part is clear enough for us to work from. Is there any question that the virtuous woman is expending her energy in creating something lovely for her home here. “Coverings of tapestry” is in reference to the coverings she has produced for the decoration of her home. This item was not something she wore – we see this in examining the word “tapestry”.
Strong’s H4765 – marbad
1) spread, coverlet
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines tapestry as: tap’-es-tri (marebhaddim, from rabhadh, “to spread”)
There is no complete understanding of what these tapestries looked like but it seems that they were obviously some type of rug, bedspread or wall-hanging and they would have been very substantial. In Proverbs 7:16 “I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.” It appears that they were wrought through weaving or sewing. The point is that she took time and effort to create something very nice for her home. Whether it was for warmth as in a bedcovering or for beauty as in a wall-hanging. I do believe that it is important for a woman to do her best to make her home a place of peace and beauty. As always there are extremes and indulgences in any area and when a women becomes obsessed with decorating her house, this is sin. There must be wisdom and self-control. How pleasant a clean home is and that is where all efforts need to begin.
Many plain communities do not allow any form of decoration in their homes. They do not want to encourage any sign of individual personality nor have any cause for jealousy or envy. I can respect that.
And if you are in a plain community where this is the rule then it should be obeyed without question or murmuring. But this is also one of the concepts that pertains to the deeper questions of whether or not it is part of the calling of Christ or the external effort to control the flesh. Decorations and adornment are generally for the pleasure of the senses. We need to examine and question every endeavor in that vein and pray over its use and importance to us. I have a lovely quilt on my bed – I need a heavy covering on my bed to keep us warm on cold nights, but did I have to go into debt to get that quilt? Do I value that quilt so much that I can’t let my little grandson sit on my bed and have a tickle fight with his Papaw? Is that quilt so precious to me that I put everything else aside to guard it? This is the type of question we need to ask ourselves in dealing with things in our home; whether it be furniture, wall decor, linens, etc. Where does its value lie and why? Is there anything about it that is opposite of what you, as a child of God, should exhibit? Does it bring glory to God or glory to you?
The next part of our verse is ” her clothing is silk and purple”. I can hear the music swell “Da, da, da, Daaaaaaaa”!!!! Ah ha!!! This is a fancy dressed woman! All fixed up and dressed to the nines!!!! So get rid of that ridiculous plain dress and apron and whip off that headcovering. Fix your hair and put on a little make-up ’cause here is your justification!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Years ago, a woman we went to church with told one of our daughters privately, that before the Lord would let us into Heaven, He would make us put on a little make-up and fix our hair, because He didn’t want anyone coming into Heaven looking like we did. This was about a year after we had made our changes and began dressing plain and headcovering. That daughter was 14 years old. How sad that this woman was an elder’s wife. Foolish!!!! That is no joke – it actually happened. Isn’t it incredible how much value the modern world puts on false adornment of the human body. It has truly been raised to the level of determining a person’s worthiness and right to happiness. The more beautiful you are or fixed up you are the more you are respected and revered.
I was watching some news videos the other day and realized that almost every one of the women reporters now have blond hair, usually long and flowing, wear heavy make-up and clothing that accentuates their cleavage. And without fail they are seated in such a way that the camera shows the full length of their legs which are always in very high heels and very short hemlines. When did that happen!! I remember years ago that the women reporters were more determined to NOT look all made up so that they would be taken more seriously. Incredible how it all evolves.
My daughters and I were recently in the pharmacy area of a Wal-Mart and suddenly noticed a woman on one of the aisles – she was dressed in a mini-dress of gold sequined spangles (reminded me of the flappers of the 1920′s), she had on stiletto heels that were gold and a heavy necklace and bangle bracelets. It was about 10:00 in the morning and I must admit I was taken aback. My heart immediately grieved for this woman. Sad! Moments later I saw a man come up beside her and ask was she ready to go. When I looked at his face I recognized him immediately. I went to high school with him and he now has a huge church in our area – you know the kind – rock band worship music, coffee shop in the lobby, bookstore to shop in between services. This woman was HIS WIFE!!! Talk about sorrow!
Now why am I relating all this in our Bible Study? I am sure you have seen similar things as well. The reason is because I want to emphasis how things have progressed (or should I say regressed) and in every case have gone more and more to the flesh. It is nature of humans to follow the path of least resistance just as the flow of water – to that sin nature. Ever devolving – down, down, down. Unless something comes along to stop the decent!
Back to our verse “her clothing is silk and purple” – why is it that we automatically picture shine and shimmer and sparkle and spangle? That is NOT what this is talking about.
Strong’s H8336 – shesh
1) something bleached white, byssus, linen, fine linen
2) alabaster, similar stone, marble
Biblical Hebrew – “byssus” b?ts or butz ??? meaning “a fibre or fabric distinguished for its whiteness”
This translation of silk really was referring to quality linen that was produced in Egypt and other areas of the Mideast. Linen cloth comes from flax which is a plant. It is spun and woven to produce a strong, durable cloth. It was not sheer or clingy in any way. It was substantial. Also it was pure to the greatest extent it could be. Notice too that it was not dyed into striking bright colors. This type of cloth was white or natural.
Strong’s H713 – ‘argaman
1) purple, red-purple
Okay, so now it seems that a virtuous woman needs to be wearing white or purple, right?! Hmmmmm – I don’t think so. I began to search the scriptures for the mentions of purple. In Exodus chapters 25 through 39 it talks a great deal about the use of gold, blue, purple and scarlet in the decorations and cloths of the Temple and in the clothing of the Priests. In Ezekiel it speaks of the port city of Tyrus and all its markets and merchants who sell cloth of purple and how they would be condemned and destroyed eventually because it set itself against Israel and Jerusalem. In Esther, Mordecai was honored and wore purple as a reward from the King. So I can see that there are good and evil connotations to the wearing of purple. Let’s examine the New Testament on this – the Greek word for purple is:
Strong’s G4209 – porphyra
1) the purple fish, a species of shell fish or mussel
2) a fabric coloured with purple dye, a garment made from purple cloth
and the times this was referred to in the New Testament are:
Mark 15:17 “And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,”
Mark 15:20 “And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.”
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Rev 17:4-5 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
And in Revelations 18, purple is listed amongst all the things called, “the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.”
Purple is also used symbolically for royalty. Now you can read through all of this and pray over it and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Father’s Will to you in this. My endeavor in this Bible Study is not to make you obey what I see in this scripture but to share my study. I have a deep purple dress which I wear with a black apron. It is not shiny or shimmery. It does not cling. My clothing is all made of varying thicknesses of cotton or linen or cotton/polyester blend fabric. I chose these based very much on this scripture. This is my effort to be as obedient as possible to the heart of God’s Word and therefore His Will. I do not think a person who wears polyester is going to go to Hell. Nor do I think that someone who wears a leather jacket is condemned to eternal damnation. But I do think there is enough evidence here to show us that we need to examine these things and allow our Spirit to determine our course and NOT our flesh.
One final scripture I want to share in this section:
” Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:” 1 Peter 1:5
Sisters, all I can ask is that you truly pray over this and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart concerning this matter. Are you willing to make a change or are you convinced that what you wear truly has no affect on you or those who look at you? Seek the face of God on this issue.