Proverbs 31:22

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

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A well-dressed woman with a well-decorated home is a precious blessing. Her husband and children are envied by others, who must settle for the shame of a poorly-attired woman and a cluttered or dirty house. She glorifies God her Creator and honors her family by presenting herself and their home as appealingly as modesty and budget allow.

A virtuous woman is preeminently diligent, exceedingly selfless, and ultimately practical (Pr 31:10-31), but she also appreciates beauty and cares about appearance. There is no virtue for a woman to be dowdy or frumpy. It is shameful for a woman to be less than her feminine best. Can a woman do all this? She must, to be the virtuous woman.

A great woman will prioritize her goals and use time well to achieve them all. She knows both her home’s appearance and her own appearance are high honors to her husband and children, so she makes sure they are included in her daily routine. To ignore or neglect either one of these womanly duties is defrauding, slothful, irreverent, or malicious.

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry. This creative woman has elegant decorating ideas and uses them to uniquely beautify her home. She covers walls, furniture, or beds with those decorative and ornamentally embroidered, painted, or woven fabrics called tapestries. She makes sure the bedroom remains an inviting and sensual place (Pr 7:16), where she honors her husband by emphasizing its enduring importance to her.

Her clothing is silk and purple. She chooses fine material for her garments and selects glorious colors. Consider Bible descriptions of features of excellent clothing (Esth 8:15; Ezek 16:10-13; Luke 16:19; Rev 18:12). The virtuous woman knows how to look and cook. Here is an inspired rebuke to the dull, drab, and plain look of false modesty used by women too lazy or self-righteous to fulfill their God-given charge and role as women.

Virtuous women consider appearance as well as function. They know that functional practicality is not enough to maximize a marriage or a family. They develop, rather than stifle, the attribute of their sex to make things, places, events, and themselves attractive to the eye and senses. They remember they were created for their husbands (I Cor 11:9), so they maintain their own attractiveness and create it for him in their home as well.

The woman is the glory of the man (I Cor 11:7), and she should be glorious for him. She should not say, “I do not have the time or desire or ability,” about something so important to her family. What ugly places houses can become without the beautifying touch of a devoted woman! What disgraceful creatures women can become that lose sight of attractiveness! Money is not the greatest hindrance, but rather a lack of desire or effort.

The virtuous woman decorates her home and bedroom to keep an elegant and inviting atmosphere. She makes, and takes, the time for exercise, hair, nails, and other bodily improvements. She wisely selects a few fine garments that enhance her appearance, and she makes sober choices of accessories and makeup to finish the picture. Her husband and children rejoice to be seen with her in public (Pr 31:28; Gen 12:11; Esther 1:10-11).

It is not a lack of money that hinders most women from being the queens of a palace they could be, but rather a misguided lack of conviction, creativity, devotion, or priority. While cost is often an excuse of the selfish or slothful, a little creativity and desire will find the means to enhance her own appearance and that of her home. God gave women the ability to decorate, and they sin against their Creator and family when they neglect it.

Wise women can stretch their budget when convicted to do so. Every city has discount stores. Elegant clothes for pennies on the dollar are in resale shops where the rich sell their garments they have barely worn. Costume jewelry has a greater visual effect to a poor husband than the most costly accessories to a president. Used furniture bought wisely is known only by the admired hostess. Frequent and thorough bathing and cleaning can enhance any woman or home, and a simple rearrangement of interchangeable garments or furniture with a new scarf or pillow can please the sight.

Modesty in dress and manner is a law for Christian women (I Tim 2:9-10; I Pet 3:3-4). But modest does not mean drab. There is no contradiction with this proverb. A harlot dresses and conducts herself to arouse male sexual lusts (Pr 7:9-21); her clothing reveals, rather than conceals; it is similar to lingerie in effect. Classy garments and noble conduct by a virtuous woman do not do this. A proud or worldly woman puts all the emphasis on appearance and perception, neglecting spirit and character (Is 3:16-24). But the virtuous woman’s graciousness and godliness shine brighter than any hair, cloth, color, or decor.

Condemning dressing well in an effort to be modest is the same as condemning alcohol to avoid drunkenness, condemning bread to avoid gluttony, and rejecting electricity, like the Amish, to avoid worldliness! Such “touch not, taste not, handle not” rules are a Pharisee extreme corrected by Jesus and Paul (Matt 12:7; Col 3:20-23). Men by nature rush to extremes, too much emphasis on appearance or not enough, but this proverb was given by God to describe the precious balance kept by the woman who fears the Lord (Pr 31:30).

Virtuous women blessed with beauty were beautiful to look upon (Gen 12:11,14; 24:16; 26:7; 29:17). They did not hide under lampshades or baggy sweat suits. Neither did they neglect their appearance. Virtuous women are attractive to see, but by modest apparel and noble and pure conduct, they discourage ungodly thoughts. They do not overtly provoke sexual lusts in men, for their clothing is not designed to do so. Rather than wear the cheap and revealing clothes of a whore, they want the sober class of a noble first lady.

Appearance is not the virtuous woman’s first priority, for that is the fear of God with the glorious ornament of a meek and quiet spirit (Pr 31:30; I Tim 2:9-10; I Pet 3:3-4). But modesty in appearance and an emphasis on spiritual things never intended a homely appearance, when the means are available to honor her husband and glorify her Creator. It is possible for a woman to pay too little, as well as too much, attention to appearance; a virtuous woman finds the place of holy moderation, separate from both extremes.

Christian woman, you took measures to attract your husband in the first place, and it is deceit and defrauding to do less now. The blessed Creator gave you features and abilities that can easily please him. He is the object of your earthly existence, and you should honor and reward him by keeping an attractive home, bedroom, and personal appearance.

If your marriage has lost its excitement, pleasure, and romance, try a tapestry and some silk and purple, before another woman does (Pr 7:15-18). The results might surprise and please you. May God bless your marriage to be all He intended and desires it to be. May He bless you to secure the praise of God, your husband, and your children (Pr 31:28).

The Lord Jesus Christ bought the church for His own pleasure, and He desires a beautiful bride, so He cleansed her from every spot and wrinkle and will present her to Himself in regal splendor fit for a king (Ps 45:9-14; Is 61:10; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 19:8; 21:2). Glory!