And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
Some women are dangerous! How can you tell, if you cannot see their hearts? Look at their clothing. There are other measures, but immodest clothing on a woman is a warning. If you read all of Solomon’s description, you will see other traits of a dangerous woman.
The simple young man in this proverb does not stand a chance (Pr 7:6-9). He foolishly went looking for carnal excitement with a loose woman, and this seductress has found him. She will take him down to ruin like an ox to the slaughter (Pr 7:21-23). Be warned – a sensual woman with evil intentions is too powerful for even strong men (Pr 7:24-27).
A whorish woman dresses to attract men’s eyes. Sexual sin requires removing clothes, but the strange woman puts clothes on to get their attention first. Then with the hook in their eyes, she proceeds with flattery, kisses, and embraces (Pr 7:11-21). Here Solomon continues to warn his son about the grave dangers of the strange woman (Pr 7:1-27).
A strange woman is any woman you have not married – you do not belong in bed with her, and you have no right to her body. She is an alien or stranger to your marriage and lovemaking. She is to remain unknown to you in any intimate way. Only marriage makes sex honorable (Heb 13:4). Without marriage, you are forbidden sexual pleasure with her.
What is a harlot’s attire? It is clothing designed and worn to attract men’s eyes to her body and excite the lusts of their flesh for sexual sins. It is accessories and apparel planned to maximize her physical appearance for notice and enticement of men. It is a woman’s choices and efforts at dressing to be as sexually desirable as possible. Wise men will stay away from any such women or any place where such women congregate.
Christian woman, do you ever dress like a prostitute? You may not intend it, but if your clothes draw a man’s attention to your body, then you are guilty of this wickedness. You are an accomplice in the destruction of men’s souls, even if you do not sleep with them. How careful are you before leaving your house? Do you check your backside in a mirror? Do you know what to look for? Do you ask your father, brothers, or husband to help?
If you think prostitutes wear five-inch stiletto heels, fishnet hose, short black leather skirts, and tight, bright red sweaters, you prove your ignorance of this subject. Expensive escorts may dress in seductive business attire that is totally different than the image in your mind. Solomon here described a classy, wealthy, and religious married woman.
Take note. This whore is subtle of heart. That means she is crafty and deceptive in her ways. She does not come right out and say, “I am a whore, and I want you to sin with me.” She is not so stupid, cheap, crass, or vile to dress like a street walker. She wants to maintain an upscale image while gaining the visual attention of a higher class of men.
God made clothes to cover Adam and Eve. They covered their loin areas with aprons of fig leaves, but God covered their bodies thoroughly with coats of skins (Gen 3:7,21). Clothes are to cover and conceal, not to attract and reveal. Skin does not need to show to reveal a woman’s figure that leads men’s eyes and minds to sexual lust. The hourglass shape of a woman revealed through clingy or tight clothing is as powerful as lots of skin.
The clothing industry does not seek to hide women’s bodies, but to enhance, reveal, and uncover. Every year new features are designed to reveal more of her body in a more flattering way than before. Every Christian woman should take care to be scrupulously modest in attire. Since a woman cannot understand a man’s mind, she should listen to father, brother, or husband about lustful features of clothing, and she should avoid them.
Short skirts show too much leg, low blouses too much chest. Every chaste and modest woman should know these clothing choices are wrong. Spandex and spaghetti straps, bare midriffs and low riders, and tight jeans and tube tops are also off limits for virtuous women. Of course, a husband might like all these! Modesty does not apply to a woman with her husband (Heb 13:4). Let every married woman be a sporting woman (Gen 26:8).
But long skirts can show and tease as much or more by their slits, and straight or clingy skirts of any length reveal the hips and derriere too plainly. High blouses made of sheer material can be worse than low blouses, and a turtleneck sweater can emphasize a woman’s bosom more than most garments. Long sleeve sweaters can often be immodest.
High heels were not invented for comfort, but to alter the shape of the calves and the movement of the hips while walking. A mincing walk is a wanton walk (Is 3:16). Sleeveless dresses, sandals with straps, lace and gauze overlays, ankle bracelets, and many other items should concern the consciences of women striving for public modesty.
Of course, modern women rebel at suggestions or restrictions on their apparel choices. But the women of just a few years ago would have thought these new styles to be inappropriate for proper modesty. What has happened? The world is in moral freefall into the abyss of lascivious excess. True Christians look for the strait gate and narrow way.
The blessed God, Who created the woman and invented sex, declared that a meek and quiet spirit is precious in His sight (I Pet 3:3-4). In His sight? In His sight! A gracious and godly woman is beautiful to watch, but her soul and spirit are seen, rather than her body. A noble woman emphasizes holy conduct and a humble and gracious spirit over her hair, accessories, or an outfit. She will adorn herself first and foremost with godliness.
Scripture does not teach women to be frumpy, ugly, or neglectful in their appearance. In fact, the virtuous woman was a looker. But she did it in such a way to please and honor the Lord and her husband (Pr 31:10-12,22,30). Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Abigail, and other holy women were beautiful to see. It is the priority that counts. A woman must emphasize a godly and gracious spirit over her physical looks or clothing selection.
Christian man, since sexual sin with a strange woman begins with a look, there is safety in avoiding her presence as much as possible. You are foolishly sinful to choose places where women dress immodestly (Rom 13:14). If you cannot totally avoid her presence, then avoid looking at her. Why get your lusts even started (I Jn 2:16; Jas 1:13-16). If you stay far away and avoid looking at immodestly dressed women, the battle is nearly won.
As casual worship in contemporary churches increases, there will be more attire of harlots seen even where God is supposedly worshipped. This is a shameful disgrace and great sin, but few will speak against it due to the vehement response they would get from women that want to wear current fashions and attract male attention. Christian woman, set yourself apart as being special, virtuous, and noble by modest clothing and actions.
If you are a husband or father, make sure your wife or daughters wear modest clothing, or you are an indirect accomplice to the temptations of other men. The children of God should provide holy and modest companions and assemblies for one another, where sexual temptations by immodest attire are not part of the mix. May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised by such pure and virtuous men and women, even in an adulterous generation.