The Clothing of a Virtuous Woman
September 14, 2011
“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)
This testimony notes a vital aspect of the character of the virtuous woman eulogized in the final 22 verses of Proverbs 31. The writer composed it as an acrostic, with each of its verses beginning with the appropriate letter of the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet, probably suggesting thereby that one needs all the resources of human language in describing a truly ideal woman.
She is industrious in providing clothing for her family (“all her household are clothed with scarlet” and her own “clothing is silk and purple,” because she “layeth her hands to the spindle”–Proverbs 31:21-22, 19). But more importantly, her spiritual clothing is strength and honor, more lovely even than beautiful garments.
Two great apostles of the New Testament give similar testimonies. Peter exhorted Christian wives not to emphasize outward appearance. “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” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
Likewise the apostle Paul urged “that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).
Thus the exhortation of Scripture is for Christian women to be primarily concerned with their spiritual clothing–strength of character, honor, quietness of spirit, and good works. “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). HMM