Proverbs 31: Week 25 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome to week twenty-five of our Proverbs 31 journey. If you'd like to return to one of our previous stops, let our "Wolfe Notes" guide you. 

  • In January we examined our value with the help of Proverbs 31 verses 10 and 29.
  • In February we learned what uplifting means by looking at Proverbs 31:11 and 23.
  • In March, we considered the virtue of respect by studying Proverbs 31:12 and 28.
  • In April, we trained to be hardworking with Proverbs 31:13 and 19 as our instructors.
  • In May, we saw what it takes to be resourceful by examining Proverbs 31:14 and 21. 
  • In June, we are developing our caring muscle by exercising Proverbs 31:15 and 22.
If you're ready to travel with us, welcome! Grab your June calendar with daily activities, the lamp for your feet (the Bible), and let's get going! We're journeying through the concluding poem of Proverbs and we're so glad you decided to walk along this road with us! Imagine that as we walk, we're talking about the daily activities. Our side of the discussion is outlined below. What would you add? How would you challenge us? (Ideas that are our thoughts alone are designated with an *.)

A loaf of bread sits on a white tabletop. Text overlay reads: "His love covers me completely."


Contents:
About Coverings From varying perspectives.
About Clothing From varying perspectives.
Other Versions Of this verse and our own.
Commentaries To consider other perspectives.
*As Christ's Bride How do we apply this verse?
*Look at Roles And apply this verse.
*Godly Wisdom What this verse reveals about God's character.

About Coverings

From varying perspectives.
  • Hebrew from Bible Hub
    • marbad: a spread, a coverlet
    • Other occurrence: Proverbs 7:16 "I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt." (*about the strange woman that flatters Proverbs 7:5 - suggests extra caution because it is easy for us to be deceived and dragged away)
  • Definition from Merriam Webster
    • Something that covers or conceals (*i.e. my sin and shame)
    • (*We try to do it ourselves and it fails. Let Jesus do it and grace will win.)
  • "Who is your covering?" from Deception in the Church
    • Hebrew variants of covering
      • sakak: to cover or hedge in, to protect, to join together - the Lord is our covering (Psalm 91:3 TLB For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague.)
      • kasah: to cover for clothing or secrecy: conceal (Proverbs 10:12 KJV: Hatred stirreth up strife: but love covereth all sins.)
      • kaphar: to make atonement - wipe out, annul (Romans 3:25 KJV Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.)
    • Christ is our true covering in all three ways.
  • Scripture from Knowing Jesus
    • Genesis 3:7 KJV: And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (*beginning of shame, need for coverings)
    • Ezekiel 16:8, 10 KJV: Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine...I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. (*God's abundant love and process of claiming us.)
    • Genesis 9:23 KJV: And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backwards, and they saw not their father's nakedness. (*An example of how we cover one another.)
    • Exodus 22:26-27 KJV: If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious. (*Importance of coverings.)
    • Isaiah 57:8 ICB: You have hidden your idols behind your doors and doorposts. You have left me, and you have uncovered yourself. You have pulled back the covers and climbed into bed. You have made an agreement with the ones whose beds you love. And you have looked at their nakedness.  (*Process of rebellion)
  • *Conclusions: Coverings hold a deep, symbolic, covenant meaning. They represent God's atoning, redemptive work for our rebellious, sinful nature. To remove the covering symbolizes rebelling against God. Furthermore, we are to safeguard the coverings of those around us.

About Clothing

From varying perspectives.
  • Hebrew from Bible Hub
    • lebush: a garment, clothing, raiment
    • Other occurrences: 
      • Psalm 45:13 KJV: The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
      • Proverbs 31:25 KJV: Strength and honor are her clothing; and she will rejoice in time to come.
    • Other meanings: apparel, garment, robe
  • Definition from Merriam Webster
    • items (as of cloth) designed to be worn to cover the body (*body = sinful nature, flesh)
  • "The Rebellion of Nudity and the Meaning of Clothing" by John Piper at Desiring God
    • In Genesis 3:7 Adam and Eve knew they were naked - clothed themselves with loin cloths (The first consequence was self-consciousness; before, there was no shame)
    • Why shame? The foundation of covenant keeping love collapsed because they disobeyed or cheated. As a result, the sweet, all-trusting security of marriage forever disappeared. The covenant was God leading and Adam and Eve enjoying his security.
    • Results of breaking the covenant:
      • They lost trust in one another "The one viewing my nakedness is no longer trustworthy, so I am afraid I will be shamed."
        • They were self-conscious and felt vulnerable. Eve was selfish (independent from God and put herself central in place of God, so only made decisions for herself). She was no longer a servant or safe. "I feel vulnerable around her because she will put me down to lift herself up."
        • Adam is also rebellious, selfish, and unsafe and projects as defiled, guilty, and unworthy. "What is" and "what ought to be" are different. "My own sense of guilt and unworthiness make me feel vulnerable."
      • They felt guilty. "I am no longer at peace with God. I feel guilty, defiled, and unworthy, therefore I deserve to be shamed."
    • How to fix the shame, vulnerability, guilt, self-consciousness, etc.:
      • They first tried to fix it on their own. They made a sinful effort to cover their shame and tried to hide. They tried to close the gap between "what they were" and "what they should be" by covering "what is." But it didn't work.
      • God came and exposed the truth. Then, a negative and positive meaning of clothes emerged.
        • Negative: The hard truth. "You are not 'what you were' nor 'what you ought to be.'" Clothing confesses (acknowledges) your understanding of this gap. Public nudity is not a return to innocence but a rebellion against moral reality God ordains clothes to witness to the glory we have lost. It is added rebellion to throw them off. God prefers simple clothing (I Timothy 2:9-10 and I Peter 3:4-5) over clothes that display power and prestige. "Clothes are not meant to make people think about what is under them. Clothes are meant to direct attention to what is not under them: hands that serve others in the name of Christ, beautiful feet that carry the gospel where it is needed, and the brightness of a face that has beheld the glory of Jesus."
        • Positive: Clothing serves as a testimony that God will make us what we should be. God rejected clothing of self, then He did it Himself. God's mercy points to the day when He will solve the problem of our shame when the blood of Jesus (blood of animals killed to make clothes) clothes us in righteousness and reveals His radiant glory (Philippians 3:21 KJV Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.)
    • Conclusion: Clothes witness our past and present failure AND point to our future glory. They testify the chasm between "who we are" and "what we should be" and God's bridging of that chasm through Jesus. (*Reminds me of "Dare you to Move" by Switchfoot)
  • Scripture from Daily Verses
    • I Peter 3:3-4 ICB: It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you - the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. This beauty will never disappear, and it is worth very much to God.
    • I Timothy 2:9-10 ICB: I also want women to wear clothes that are right for them. They should dress with respect and right thinking. They should not use fancy braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes to make themselves beautiful. But they should make themselves beautiful by doing good deeds. Women who say they worship God should make themselves beautiful in that way.
    • Colossians 3:12 NIV: Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
    • Matthew 6:25 ERV: "So I tell you, don't worry about the things you need to live - what you will eat, drink, or wear. Life is more important than food, and the body is more important than what you put on it." 
    • Galatians 3:27 KJV: For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    • Isaiah 61:10 KJV: I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my should shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.
  • Conclusions: Practically, It's not about my finery, fashion sense, or status but about confession of God's mercy. Spiritually, focus on what is exposed: hands to serve, feet to spread the gospel, and a face to shine God's glory. Trust God to cover the rest!

Other Versions

 Of this verse and our own.
  • KJV: She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 
  • CEV: She does her own sewing, and everything she wears is beautiful.
  • GNV: She maketh herself carpets: fine linen and purple is her garment.
  • ICB: She makes coverings for her bed. Her clothes are made of linen and other expensive material.
  • TLB: She also upholsters with finest tapestry; her own clothing is beautifully made - a purple gown of pure linen.
  • NET: because she had made coverings for herself and because her clothing was fine linen and purple (her husband is known at the gates.)
  • *Question: Why would she make her own coverings but possibly not her own clothes? *What I'm currently thinking: The coverings are for her household - the different parts of one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31) - while the clothes are given to Wisdom by God and mark His high rank.
  • *Wolfe Stew Versions: 
    • She = Wisdom: Wisdom, by her own hand, produces elaborate coverings that hedge in, protect, join together, conceal, and atone her household. Her high station is marked by the clothing she wears.
    • (As a Godly wife) By her own labor, she painstakingly covers (hedges in, protects, joins together, conceals) her household and clothes herself in garments of God's provision (figuratively) that display His love and mercy.
    • Practically: Focus your efforts on covering (hedging in, protecting, joining together, concealing) your household. Draw strength from the clothes He chose for you which reflect the way He sees you.
    • Relationally: Cover one another by wrapping yourselves in God's identity of you.
    • Spiritually: God covers you in clothes suited for His kingdom. 
    • Intellectually: Keep your thoughts on "what should be" instead of "what is".
  • *Random thought: I am intricately woven (Psalm 139:13-14) and covered by God (Genesis 3:21).

Commentaries

To consider other perspectives.

  • Jamieson - coverings of tapestry for beds - coverlets. Purple represents costly goods.
  • Gill - coverings for furniture and decoration or bed represent ordinances of the Gospel and administration of them wherein the Church has communion with Jesus (Song of Solomon 1:16 LSB: "Behold, you are handsome, my beloved, Indeed, so pleasant! Indeed, our couch is luxuriant."); VULGATE "garments of divers colors" i.e. Joseph's coat (Genesis 37:3); Tyrian purple, the best; silk or fine linen - suitable for a queen (i.e. the church who is clothed with clothing wrought of gold (Psalm 45:9), with raiment of needlework (Ezekiel 16:10); Not of her own works, but what Christ has clothed her in - her wedding garment (Isaiah 61:10
  • Cambridge - compared to rich man parable (Luke 16:19) his fault was not in wearing the clothes but in refusing to stretch out his hand to the needy.
  • Pulpit - Proverbs 7:16 - pillow or cushions - dressed according to position - So we (the church) are dressed in fine linen, clean & white (Rev 19:8) because of Christ's righteousness making her children Kings & Priests under God. Rev. 1:6 and Rev 5:10.
  • Keil & Delitzsch - comfy bed
*Conclusions: She knows her value and displays it with pride - as we the church should.

*As Christ's Bride

How do we apply this verse?

 As Christ's bride we:
  • Submit to Him by accepting the intricately crafted coverings (hedging in, protecting, joining together, concealing, and atoning) gracefully.
  • Respect Him by acknowledging what His works accomplish for us.
Because Christ...
  • Leads us by willingly donning the clothes of His high station and accepting the responsibility that comes with it.
  • Loves us by carefully crafting coverings uniquely suited to our needs.


*Look at Roles

And apply this verse.

A Helper...
  • Submits to her husband by accepting the coverings (protection, concealment, & connections) extended by him.
  • Respects her husband by acknowledging the efforts he takes to cover (protect, conceal, & connect with) her.
Because a Keeper...
  • Leads his wife by willingly accepting the role assigned to him and all the responsibilities involved therein.
  • Loves his wife by finding ways to protect and connect with his wife in ways suited uniquely to her.

*Godly Wisdom

What this verse reveals about God's character.

  • God elaborately cares for our needs, especially eternal ones.
  • He determines our station.
  • He set a benevolent high king to rule over us, His own son.

Final Thoughts

When I first read this verse, I pictured myself clothed in silk and purple. Now I know it's not me, it's the ultimate in royalty: Jesus. The High King who accepts His station and serves us, His bride, by crafting intricate, uniquely formed coverings. Coverings that protect, conceal, atone. What a Savior!

My struggle is in learning to grasp who He sees me to be. To accept that He chose to cover me in His carefully crafted finery. I may never understand the depth of the richness and care He bestows upon me or be able to accept the person He sees me to be, but I can pray to rest ever more deeply in His love. 

Live life knowing you are covered in His love - a love that covers completely. You're sealed for His kingdom. Walk confidently in your sovereignty.

Growing with You,

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