|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 22. - MEM. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry (marbaddim); as Proverbs 7:16 (where see note). Pillows for beds or cushions are meant, though the translators are not of one mind on the meaning. St. Jerome has, stragulatam vestem; Aquila and Theodotion, περιστρώματα, Symmachus, ἀμφιτάπους, "shaggy on both sides;" Septuagint, "She makes for her husband double garments (δισσὰς χλάινας)." Her clothing is silk and purple. שֵׁשׁ (shesh) is not "silk," but "white linen" (βύσσος, byssus) of very fine texture, and costly. Purple garments were brought from the Phoenician cities, and were highly esteemed (see Song of Solomon 3:10; Jeremiah 10:9). The wife dresses herself in a way becoming her station, avoiding the extremes of sordid simplicity and ostentatious luxury. "For my own part," says St. Francois de Sales, quoted by Lesetre, "I should wish any devout man or woman always to be the best dressed person in the company, but at the same time, the least fine and affected, and adorned, as it is said, with the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. St. Louis said that every one ought to dress according to his position, so that good and sensible people should not be able to say you are overdressed, nor the younger under dressed" ('Vie Devot.,' 3:25). So the Church is clothed in fine linen, clean and white, even the righteousness which Christ bestows (Revelation 19:8), and invested in her Lord's royal robe, who hath made her children kings and priests unto God (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry,.... For the furniture and ornament of her house, or for her bed; which may signify the ordinances of the Gospel, and the decent, orderly, and beautiful administration of them, wherein the church has communion with her Lord; see Sol 1:16. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "garments of divers colours", such as was Joseph's coat, Genesis 37:3; and, in a spiritual sense, may be applied to the above mentioned garments, and agrees with what goes before and follows;
her clothing is silk and purple; the Tyrian purple, which, Strabo says (x), is the best; or purple silk, silk of a purple colour: or rather fine linen of this colour; a dress suitable to a queen, as the church is, who is represented as clothed with clothing of wrought gold, with raiment of needlework, Psalm 45:9; see Ezekiel 16:10. This is not her own natural clothing, for she has none by nature that deserves the name; nor of her own working, not works of righteousness done by her; nor of her own putting on, but what Christ has wrought out for her, and clothes her with; and which is very rich in itself, the best robe, very ornamental to her; her wedding garment, and which will last for ever; see Isaiah 61:10.
(x) Geograph. l. 16. p. 521.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. coverings of tapestry—or, "coverlets," that is, for beds.
silk—or, "linen" (compare Ex 26:1; 27:9)
and purple—that is, the most costly goods.
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