Proverbs 31:25
Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Strength and honour are her clothing.—She never parts with them; they serve her, like clothing, for protection and ornament. (Comp. Psalm 104:1.)

And she shall rejoice in time to come.—Rather, smiles at the coming day; does not fear the future.

31:10-31 This is the description of a virtuous woman of those days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and nation. She is very careful to recommend herself to her husband's esteem and affection, to know his mind, and is willing that he rule over her. 1. She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good. 2. She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's business. She does what she does, with all her power, and trifles not. 3. She makes what she does turn to good account by prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for her house. She lays up for hereafter. 4. She looks well to the ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her. 5. She is intent upon giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. 6. She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world. 7. Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever. 8. She has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she was not idle or useless when young. She shall rejoice in a world to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. If the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. But she leaves it to her own works to praise her. Every one ought to desire this honour that cometh from God; and according to this standard we all ought to regulate our judgments. This description let all women daily study, who desire to be truly beloved and respected, useful and honourable. This passage is to be applied to individuals, but may it not also be applied to the church of God, which is described as a virtuous spouse? God by his grace has formed from among sinful men a church of true believers, to possess all the excellences here described.Shall rejoice in time to come - Better, rejoiceth over the time to come; i. e., looks forward to the future, not with anxious care, but with confident gladness. 25. Strength and honour—Strong and beautiful is her clothing; or, figuratively, for moral character, vigorous and honorable.

shall rejoice … come—in confidence of certain maintenance.

Strength; not strength of body, which is no ornament of that sex, save only as she preserves her health and strength by sobriety and exercise, which other men waste by intemperance and idleness; but strength of mind, magnanimity, courage, resolution, activity.

Honour; either,

1. Her prudent, and pious, and amiable behaviour, in which true honour principally consists. Or,

2. That good name and honourable esteem which she hath gained amongst all that know her by her virtuous disposition and carnage.

Her clothing; these, and not her rich garments mentioned before, are her great ornament and glory.

She shall rejoice in thee to come: the sense is either,

1. In her old age she reaps the comfort and benefit of her youthful labours, Or rather,

2. She lives in constant tranquillity of mind, and a confident and cheerful expectation of all future events, how calamitous soever, partly because she hath laid in provisions for a rainy day, and chiefly because she hath the comfortable remembrance of a well-spent life, and, which follows thereupon, a just confidence in God’s gracious providence and promises made to such persons. Strength and honour are her clothing,.... Strength, not of body, but of mind. The church is clothed with strength, as her Lord, head, and husband, is said to be, Psalm 93:1; and which she has from him; for though she is the weaker vessel, and weak in herself, yet is strong in him; and is able to bear and do all things, with a fortitude of mind to withstand every enemy, and persevere in well doing: and she is clothed with "honour"; with honourable garments, suitable to her rank and dignity; in cloth of gold, in raiment of needlework; with the garments of salvation, and the robe of righteousness;

and she shall rejoice in time to come; Aben Ezra interprets it of old age, or of the world to come; and Jarchi and Gersom of the day of death: having fulness of food and clothing, she is not afraid of want in old age, or in any time of distress that may come; and having a good name, laughs at death, and departs in peace; so these interpreters. The church of Christ fears no want at any time, nor need any of her members; they have a clothing that never waxes old, a righteousness that will answer for them in a time to come; their bread is given, and their waters are sure; they shall want no good thing; all their need is supplied from Christ; they have hope in their death, and rejoice then and sing, "O death, where is thy sting?" 1 Corinthians 15:55; they will have confidence in the day of judgment, and not be ashamed; shall come to Zion with everlasting joy; and shall rejoice with Christ, angels and saints, to all eternity.

{m} Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

(m) After he had spoken of the apparel of the body, he now declares the apparel of the spirit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. she shall rejoice in] Rather: she laugheth at, i.e. so far from regarding it with apprehension, she can look forward to it with joyful confidence. Comp. “He laugheth at the rushing of the javelin,” in the description of Leviathan, Job 41:29.Verse 25. - AYIN. Strength and honour are her clothing (ver. 17); ἰσχὺν καὶ εὐπρέπειαν, Septuagint. She is invested with a moral force and dignity which arm her against care and worry; the power of a righteous purpose and strong will reveals itself in her carriage and demeanour. And thus equipped, she shall rejoice in time to come; or, she laugheth (Job 5:22; Job 39:7) at the future (Isaiah 30:8). She is not disquieted by any fear of what may happen, knowing in whom she trusts, and having done her duty to the utmost of her ability. The Greek and Latin versions seem to take the expression as referring to the day of death; thus the Vulgate, Ridebit in die novissimo; Septuagint, "She rejoices in the last days (ἐν ἡμέραις ἐσχάταις)." But it is best interpreted as above. The true servant of God is not afraid of any evil tidings, his heart being fixed, trusting in the Lord (Psalm 112:7). 19 י She putteth her hand to the rock Spinnrocken;

       And her fingers lay hold on the spindle.

She applies herself to the work of spinning, and performs it with skill. The phrase שׁלּח יד בּ (שׁלח, Job 28:9) signifies to take up an object of work, and תּמך, with obj. accus. (cf. Amos 1:5), the handling of the instrument of work necessary thereto. כּפּים denotes the hands when the subject is skilful, successful work; we accordingly say יגיע כפים, not יגיע ידים; cf. Proverbs 31:13 and Proverbs 31:16, Psalm 78:72. What פּלך means is shown by the Arab. falakat, which, as distinguished from mighzal, i.e., fuseau (Lat. fusus), is explained by bout arrondi et conique au bas du fuseau, thus: the whorl, i.e., the ring or knob fastened on the spindle below, which gives it its necessary weight and regulates its movement, Lat. verticellus, post-bibl. פּיקה (which Bartenora glosses by the Ital. fusajuolo) or צנּורה, e.g., Kelim ix. 6, כושׁ שׁבלע את הצנורה, a spindle which holds the whorl hidden (vid., Aruch under כש, iii.). But the word then also signifies per synecdochen partis pro toto, the spindle, i.e., the cylindrical wood on which the thread winds itself when spinning (cf. 2 Samuel 3:29, where it means the staff on which the infirm leans); Homer gives to Helen and the goddesses golden spindles (χρυσηλάκατοι). Accordingly it is not probable that כּישׁור also denotes the whorl, as Kimchi explains the word: "כישור is that which one calls by the name verteil, viz., that which one fixes on the spindle (פלך) above to regulate the spinning (מטוה)," according to which the Venet. renders כישׁור by σφόνδυλος, whorl, and פלך by ἄτρακτος, spindle. The old interpreters have not recognised that כישׁור denotes a thing belonging to the spinning apparatus; the lxx, Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Syr., and Jerome see therein an ethical idea (from כּשׁר, to be capable, able); but Luther, not misled thereby, translates with unusual excellence:

She stretches her hand to the rock,

And her fingers grasp the spindle.

He has in this no predecessors, except only the Targumists, whose כוּנשׁרא (vid., Levy) appears also to denote the spinning-rock. The Syriac and Talmudic כּוּשׁ, which is compared by Gesenius-Dietrich, is another word, and denotes, not the rock, but the spindle. Immanuel also, who explains פלך as the מעזל, i.e., the spindle, understands (as perhaps also Parchon) by כישׁור the rock. And why should not the rock (wocken equals distaff), i.e., the stock to which the tuft of flax, hemp, or wool is fixed for the purpose of being spun, Lat. colus, not be named כּישׁור, from כשׁר, to be upright as a stick, upright in height, or perhaps more correctly as מכשׁיר, i.e., as that which prepares or makes fit the flax for spinning? Also in צינק, Jeremiah 29:26, there are united the meanings of the close and the confining dungeon, and שׁלה equals שׁילון signifies

(Note: Otherwise, but improbably, Schultens: colus a כשׁר equals katr kathr, necti in orbem, circumnecti in globum. In פּלך, whence פּלך, he rightly finds the primary meaning of circumvolutio sive gyratio.)

the place which yields rest. The spinning-wheel is a German invention of the 16th century, but the rock standing on the ground, or held also in the hands, the spindle and the whorl, are more ancient.

(Note: A view of the ancient art of spinning is afforded by the figures of the 12th Dynasty (according to Lepsius, 2380-2167 b.c.) in the burial chamber of Beni Hassan (270 kilometres above Bulak, on the right bank of the Nile). M. J. Henry, in his work L'Egypte Pharaonique (Paris 1846), Bd. 2, p. 431, mentions that there are figures there which represent "toutes les oprations de la fabrication des tissus depuis le filage jusqu au tissage." Then he continues: Lex fuseaux dont se servent les fileuses sont excatement semblables aux ntres, et on voit mme ces fileuses imprimer le mouvement de rotation ces fuseaux, en en froissant le bout inferieur entre leur main et leur cuisse.)

With the spindle תמך stands in fit relation, for it is twirled between the fingers, as Catullus says of Fate:

Libratum tereti versabat pollice fusum.

(Note: In the "marriage of Peleus and Thetis," Catullus describes the work of the Fates: "Their hands are ceaselessly active at their never-ending work; while the left holds the rock, surrounded with a soft fleece, the right assiduously draws the thread and forms it with raised fingers; then it swiftly turns the spindle, with the thumb stretched down, and swings it away in whirling circles." Then follows the refrain of the song of the Fates: Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi. - (After Hertzberg's Translation.))

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