She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And worketh willingly with her hands.—Literally, with the pleasure or willingness of her hands; they, as it were, catch her willing spirit.Proverbs 31:13-14. She seeketh wool and flax — That she may find employment for her servants, and not suffer them to spend their time unprofitably. And worketh willingly with her hands — She encourages them to work by her example; which was a common practice among princesses in those first ages. Not that it is the duty of kings and queens to use manual operations, but it is the duty of all persons, the greatest not excepted, to improve all their talents, and particularly their time, which is one of the noblest of them, to the service of that God to whom they must give an account, and to the good of that community to which they are related. She bringeth her food from afar — By the sale of her home-spun commodities she purchases the choicest goods which come from far countries.She seeketh wool and flax, that she may find employment for her servants, and not suffer them to spend all their time unprofitably in ease and idleness.
Worketh willingly with her hands; she encourageth them to work by her example; which was a common practice among princesses in those first and purest ages of the world. Not that it is the duty of kings and queens to use manual or mechanical operations, but that it is the duty of all persons, the greatest not excepted, to improve all their talents, and particularly their time, which is one of the noblest of them, one way or other to the service of that God to whom they must give an account, and to the good of that community to which they are related and obliged.
"It is enough to worship and serve God in my mind; what need have I to go to church, and visibly mingle with Christians? Such a man would have a linen, without a woollen garment, this woman knew not; she does not commend such works.''
She sought all opportunities of doing good works externally, as believers do; and sought after the kingdom of God, inward godliness, which lies in peace, righteousness, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Not that such garments are to be joined with Christs robe of righteousness, to make up a justifying one; a garment mingled with linen and woollen, in this sense, is not to come upon the saints, Leviticus 19:19;
and worketh willingly with her hands; or, "with the pleasure of her hands" (o); as if her hands took delight in working, as the church and all true believers do; who are made willing in the day of the Lord's power upon them, to serve him, as well as to be saved by him; in whose hearts he works, both to will and to do; and these do what they do cheerfully: these do the work of the Lord, not by the force of the law, nor through fear of punishment, but in love; not by constraint, but willingly, having no other constraint but the love of God and Christ; and not with mercenary selfish views, but with a view to his glory; and they find a pleasure and delight in all they do; Christ's ways are ways of pleasantness; his commandments are not grievous, his yoke is easy.
(z) Vid. Homer. Iliad 3. v. 125. & 6. v. 490, 491. & 22. v. 440. Odyss. l. v. 357. & 5. v. 62. (a) "Cujus, ante torumn calathi, lanaque mollis erat", Ovid. Fasti, l. 2. prope finem. (b) Valerius Maximus, l. 10. p. 348. (c) Apud Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 48. (d) Plin. ibid. (e) Pomponius Subinus in Virgil. Cyrin, p. 1939. (f) "Pallade placata, lanam mollire puellae discant, et plenas exonerare colos", Ovid. Fast. l. 3. prope finem. (g) Metamorph. l. 4. Fab. 1. v. 34, 35. (h) Georgic. l. 4. (i) Curt. Hist. l. 5. c. 2.((k) Sueton. in Vit. August. c. 64. (l) lbid. c. 73. (m) Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Rabbin. col. 1742. (n) Varro apud Chartar. de Imag. Deorum, p. 88. (o) "cum voluptate altro neis manibus", so some in Vatablus, Tigurine version; so Cocceius, Michaelis, Piscator, Gejerus, Schultens.She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. seeketh] Some would render, applies herself to, busies herself about. The LXX. have draws out; μηρυομένη.Verse 13. - DALETH. She seeketh wool, and flax. She pays attention to these things, as materials for clothing and domestic uses. Wool has been used for clothing from the earliest times (see Leviticus 13:47; Job 31:20, etc.), and flax was largely cultivated for the manufacture of linen, the processes of drying, peeling, hackling, and spinning being well understood (see Joshua 2:6; Isaiah 19:9; Jeremiah 13:1, etc.). The prohibition about mixing wool and flax in a garment (Deuteronomy 22:11) was probably based on the idea that all mixtures made by the art of man are polluted, and that what is pure and simple, such as it is in its natural state, is alone proper for the use of the people of God. And worketh willingly with her hands; or, she worketh with her hands' pleasure; i.e. with willing hands. The rendering of the Revised Version margin, after Hitzig, "She worketh at the business of her hands," is feeble, and does not say much. What is meant is that she not only labours diligently herself, but finds pleasure in doing so, and this, not because she has none to help her, and is forced to do her own work (on the contrary, she is represented as rich, and at the head of a large household), but because she considers that labour is a duty for all, and that idleness is a transgression of a universal law. Septuagint, "Weaving (μηρυομένη) wool and flax; she makes it useful with her hands."
And wine to those whose soul is in bitter woe;
7 Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And let him think of his misery no more.
The preparation of a potion for malefactors who were condemned to death was, on the ground of these words of the proverb, cared for by noble women in Jerusalem (נשׁים יקרות שׁבירושׁלים), Sanhedrin 43a; Jesus rejected it, because He wished, without becoming insensible to His sorrow, to pass away from the earthly life freely and in full consciousness, Mark 15:23. The transition from the plur. to the sing. of the subject is in Proverbs 31:7 less violent than in Proverbs 31:5, since in Proverbs 31:6 singular and plur. already interchange. We write תּנוּ־שׁכר with the counter-tone Metheg and Mercha. אובד designates, as at Job 29:13; Job 31:19, one who goes to meet destruction: it combines the present signification interiens, the fut. signif. interiturus, and the perf. perditus (hopelessly lost). מרי נפשׁ (those whose minds are filled with sorrow) is also supported from the Book of Job; Job 3:20, cf. Proverbs 21:25, the language and thought and mode of writing of which notably rests on the Proverbs of Agur and Lemuel (vid., Mhlau, pp. 64-66). The Venet. τοῖς πικροῖς (not ψυξροῖς) τὴν ψυχήν. רישׁ (poverty) is not, however, found there, but only in the Book of Proverbs, in which this word-stem is more at home than elsewhere. Wine rejoices the heart of man, Psalm 104:15, and at the same time raises it for the time above oppression and want, and out of anxious sorrow, wherefore it is soonest granted to them, and in sympathizing love ought to be presented to them by whom this its beneficent influence is to be wished for. The ruined man forgets his poverty, the deeply perplexed his burden of sorrow; the king, on the contrary, is in danger from this cause of forgetting what the law required at his hands, viz., in relation to those who need help, to whom especially his duty as a ruler refers.
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