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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 31:22 She makes bedspreads

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, October 28, 2019

22 She makes bedspreads for herself;
  her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Thirteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet: mem. First word of this verse: marbadim “bedspreads.”

In Proverbs 7:16, we read about a woman who says, “I have spread the covers on my bed, dark Egyptian linens.” In a climate where the nights are often cold after a hot day, comfortable blankets and bedspreads are a necessity.  The heroic wife is dressed in the best fabric: ‘fine linen and purple.” Purple was a difficult color to find. A poor dye could be made from logwood, but the Phoenicians of Tyre (northwest Canaan) had an early monopoly on the industry. They used Mediterranean mollusks and developed a double-dying process that yielded a much sought-after deep red-purple shade. The word “Phoenicia” (from ϕoινός) means “purple,” and the historian Herodotus said that this was the nickname given to the people there because their hands and skin were stained purple from the dye. Purple wool was already prized in the days of Moses (1446 BC) and was used in the decorations of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:4, 26:1). The export of purple linens and wool made Tyre a fabulously wealthy city-state. Here the heroic wife is dressed in purple by a husband who knows her true worth.

Despite advice from colleagues and others, I have never been able to bring myself to focus much attention on the style or color of my clothes. I have noticed that my wife’s clothing always looks very nice. She wears things that look good on her, that are well within our budget, and she pays attention to matching colors and shades, like her socks matching her blouse, and things like that. She does it so consistently and (it seems to me) without effort, that I’ve finally begun to notice it after more than twenty years of marriage. She tried to teach me once about whether or not this or that person is what she calls a “winter” or a “spring,” and so on, but it always reminds me of the ancient belief in the four humors of the body or the four elements of nature.

Yet she is the embodiment of Peter’s words: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4; cp. 1 Timothy 2:9-10). The Apostles’ point is not that a Christian woman must be as plain as the Amish or as drab as the Quakers, but that she should not go out of her way to attract everyone’s attention on her. There is another extreme today when someone covers their body in tattoos or facial piercings. The two excesses either say: “You must look at me,” or “You must not see me at all.” God wants us to live moderate lives away from these extremes. The ideal wife will want to please her husband without attracting the attention of other men. She is not still shopping for a mate, and therefore she should not advertise herself. The purple finery of the wife in our proverb is a statement from her husband: For him, she is royalty. She is his Lady, his Countess; his Queen. His desire is that she will feel good about herself and know that she is appreciated. He should tell her, especially when they are alone, that he likes her, that he is attracted to her, that he loves everything about her, and that he gives thanks to God that she is his darling bride: The heroic wife.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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