"She makes for herself coverlets, cushions and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure white and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and halllowed cloths of the temple are made]." Proverbs 31:22
The first phrase of this verse demonstrates, again, her skill in furnishing and decorating as well as refined taste. It stems from a mind that is clear, free from sin and guilt, and filled with thoughts of God and His Word.
Note that the verse says, "she makes for herself ..." In other words, she sees to hers and her household's needs first. She might sell some of her goods in the marketplace, as verse 24 suggests, but only after her family's needs are met.
Plus, her activity in commerce outside of her home is simply a natural extension of what she already does to properly furnish her home and family. Again, as we learned in verse 19, she is skilled in working with items of cloth, which is the highest and
best use of this woman's time and talent; it most completely fills her household's needs and thus maximizes the family's financial resources.
The word "tapestry" in this verse suggest luxury, refinement, and those items and furnishings
"fit for her station in life." 1 (see Notes) She thinks well of her home and therefore clothes it with beautiful, well-made items; not necessarily
expensive, but of the best quality possible within her budget. Her self-respect is apparent, which earns the respect of others, and so flows the continual river of good things in her family's life. Proverbs 23:7 tells us, "For as he" (a man) "thinketh
in his heart, so is he" (Kings James translation). One's inner being -- that is, one's state of mind and spirit -- shows in the physical appearance of one's personal surroundings, one's family and oneself.
The second phrase
of this verse again suggests refinement, good taste and quality. Like her home's furnishings, her clothing is fitting "for her station in life," 2 (see Notes)
as well. We can infer that she is so clothed from garments she has made herself, and in light of her unselfish, untiring nature and love for her household, she surely provides the same for her husband, her children, and possibly, her maidservants.
Thus, her family goes out into the world nicely dressed and well-tended.
Just as the Proverbs 31 woman, it's important that we as wives take care of our health and well-being, both inside and outside, for a wife is the
"reflection" of her husband's glory (see 1 Corinthians 11:7). The reason for this goes way beyond the superficial, for this "reflection" is much deeper than physical appearance, and is inherently felt by a woman's husband whether he is spiritually knowledgeable
or not. When a man sees his wife looking chronically disheveled or uncared for, it is akin to his looking in the mirror and seeing that same image reflected back at him. If he truly loves her, he feels responsible. A wife who takes care of
herself, along with peaceful and inviting surroundings that she creates through her physical efforts as well as her demeanor, elevates a husband's self-esteem by the pleasant "reflection" he sees. This helps him in turn to be the best he can be in every
area of his life: in his work, in his relationship with his family, and in his relationships with others.
A less obvious but still important point is that in caring well for household, we can assume that the Proverbs 31 woman's
whole family and household staff are healthy and fit. She makes certain they are fed well-planned, well-prepared meals and that they live a balanced schedule of work, recreation and rest. This whole chapter suggests an absolutely pure, stable home
environment. Everyone is healthy, rested and secure in the knowledge that their home is a refuge, stress-free. Their minds are clean and clear and their personalities well-adjusted. All this stems from the efforts of the woman of the house,
who is its nucleus and its balance.
Wives and mothers are so vitally important. The cornerstone, for us, is learning to walk in agape love -- God's love, as in 1 Corinthians 13 -- beginning with our families. It will
naturally extend to others, as well. Capability to care for our homes and families then comes from a "wanting to do" for our husbands and children. Some of us are naturals at functioning efficiently, and some of us may need help via books or others'
advice, but the desire must be in place first. Again, agape has nothing to do with feelings; rather, it is rooted simply as a matter of wanting to please God by being the kind of wife and mother He suggests.
bible expands the second phrase of this verse to make a remarkable suggestion. First, it says that her clothing is "pure white," which implies absolute purity of mind and heart. Second, her clothing is "of purple," which exemplifies holiness, and
herein lies a complete picture of our Proverbs 31 woman. Everything she does, everything she is, stems from these qualities in her character. Dake's reference tells us that this woman "excels in virtue." 3 (see
Notes) This brings to mind Matthew 22:12, where the wedding guest was asked why he wasn't wearing the appropriate wedding garment and, as a result, was cast out of the wedding feast.
The garments of purity and holiness are what God expects of all His people as members of the body of Christ.
In his book, These Are The Garments, C.W. Slemming does
an interesting study of the robes of the Aaronic High Priest. The color purple, in exemplifying holiness, relates directly to Christ and His holiness. Specifically, the color purple is made from a mixture of scarlet and blue. Scarlet signifies
Christ's humanity, in His blood and its shedding as the sacrificial Lamb; blue signifies His divinity as King. Purple, as a mixture of these, signifies His mediatorship between the throne of heaven and God's people on earth. The curtain which was
hung before the most holy place within the tabernacle in God's temple, separating Him from His people, was made of blue, scarlet and purple threads, finely twisted and entwined together (see Exodus 26: 31-34). Before the coming of the Messiah, only the
High Priest was allowed to enter this most holy place, and only at a certain time of the year; however, the very moment that Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross, the curtain was torn in two (see Matthew 27:50,51).
Amplified Bible has a number of verses referenced for additional study at the end of Proverbs 31:22. The first is Isaiah 61:10, which says:
"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels."
Here again we see the cause for rejoicing and exultation
in being clothed with the choice things of God, His righteousness and salvation.
The second verse reference for study is 1 Timothy 2:9.10 (Paul is speaking):
"Also [I desire]
that women should adorn themselves modestly and appropriately and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with [elaborate] hair arrangement or gold or pearls or expensive clothing, But by doing good deeds -- that is, deeds in themselves good, and for the good
and advantage of those contacted by them -- as befits women who profess reverential fear for and devotion to God."
Note here again that our character, our godly way of being and doing, is what we are to be "clothed" in first and foremost. What
should attract others to us is our spirit and demeanor, rather than outward appearance. We are to be "adorned," or beautifully "clothed," by our good deeds and a righteous way of living, all part of our sanctification here on earth.
The next verse referenced for study is Revelation 3:4,5:
"Yet you still have a few [persons'] names in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes, and they shall walk with Me in white, because
they are worthy and deserving. Thus shall he who conquers (is victorious) be clad in white garments, and I will not erase or blot out his name from the Book of Life; I will acknowledge him [as Mine], and I will confess his name openly before my Father
and before His angels."
Here Jesus is speaking of His delight in and reward for those who have not "soiled their clothes" in unrighteous living. This verse also appears to be directly related to Matthew 22:12 in reference to appropriate "clothing"
of purity and holiness, which is the proper wedding garment in which to enter the wedding feast, or the kingdom of God.
Next is Revelation 19:8:
"She has been permitted to dress
in fine (radiant) linen -- dazzling and white, for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness -- the upright, just and godly living [deeds, conduct] and right standing with God -- of the saints. (God's holy people)."
Here the apostle
John, writer of the book of Revelation, is referring to the marriage of the Lamb, Jesus, to His bride, the Church. "She" refers to the Church, which is made up of all of us who are saved as its members. She must strive to be deserving of the honor
and permission to dress in the fine, white linen of God's righteousness. We as wives are individual representatives, or examples, of the Church's relationship with Christ as His Bride. "...for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come and His
bride has prepared herself." (Revelation 19:7b)
Lastly, we reference Revelation 19:14
"And the troops of heaven, clothed in fine linen, dazzling and clean, followed Him
on white horses."
The Proverbs 31 woman's clothing of "linen, pure white and fine,", or "dazzling and clean," are results of sanctification by the Holy Spirit and preparedness for God's coming, all rooted in her love for and faith in God. What
is significant in Proverbs 31:22 is that this woman is living each day in this manner, here on earth, in the face of daily trials. God expects each of us to strive for this way of being, this steadfastness; not as a test or requirement from a harsh God,
but rather because He loves us, for He knows our rewards will be rich here on earth for doing so, and even more rich in heaven.