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Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter – The virtuous woman creates a home as a type of Christ, part 10.

RUTH-4-180703
length: 60:46 - taught on Jul, 3 2018
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Tuesday July 3, 2018

 

Title: Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - The virtuous woman creates a home as a type of Christ, part 10.

 

We have covered 13 couplets so far.

 

The excellent/virtuous wife is: rare, valuable, trustworthy, lover of good, prepared, lover of her work, courageous, energetic, considers others more important, not rash, industrious, strong, enjoys the fruit of her labor, skillful, gracious, unafraid, creative.

 

She is a type of Christ as a homebuilder due to her character and motivation, and so she is a type of us all.

 

PRO 31:22 She makes coverings for herself;

Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

 

Her clothing and the coverings of her house are not only for function but attractive. Necessity is fulfilled with an eye for ornamentation.

 

The first part, “She makes coverings for herself” is a misleading translation. The Hebrew word for “coverings” refers to tapestries or pillow/mattress covers. The coverings are over the things in the house and not over her, and “for herself” means that she herself prepares them.

 

“She prepares tapestries and coverings for her household.”

 

Fine linen that is scarlet or purple, a desired color derived from the shells of mollusks, is what she wears. Ornamenting oneself is virtuous if it is not done in pride or vanity.

 

Certain denominations of Christianity, as well as certain cults, adopted a rule of no ornamentation. Women were to dress from head to toe with neutral colors, no makeup, no jewelry, and no attention to hair other than a tight bun.

 

As usual, the human race hears a true principle and takes it to a humanistic place with a humanistic spin and ruins it.

 

There are two NT passages that refer to a woman’s adornment.

 

1TI 2:8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.

 

1TI 2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments;

 

“Order themselves with well arranged clothing, humbly and soberly.”

 

1TI 2:10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.

 

Paul has to address the ordering of women’s appearance because some of them are still being influenced by popular societal trends, which are only reflections of pride.

 

You will notice that he doesn’t tell them what to wear, but what not to wear. He instructs them not to publicly show pride and concern for the opinions of others. His positive instruction to them applies to the heart, which would manifest itself outwardly.

 

The excellent woman wears scarlet colored fine linen. It is tasteful and beautiful, but in no way screams, “Look at me!! Please look at me!!”

 

Rather: PRO 31:25

Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future.

 

Adorn is the Greek verb kosmeo (noun kosmos) and it means “order.” The word “proper” means modest or well arranged. “Modestly” is a word that refers to humility and “discreetly” is the word for sobriety or soundness of mind.

 

Sophrosune (“discreetly”) and egkrateia (fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5) refers to the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites.

 

Euripedes, the Greek writer, wrote that sophrosune (sobriety or modesty) was a gift from the gods. It was highly prized in Greek culture and the Bible took this word to the heavens. The fruit of the Spirit is self-control, a different Greek word, but a synonym of this word.

 

Braided hair or weaved hair would have been known by Paul’s listeners to mean the grand style of that time in which women would make their hair into a sort of palace adorned and interwoven with pearls and gold charms. History informs us that the Roman women of that day were addicted to ridiculous extravagance in the adornment of the hair. We would not in any way think that he meant that a woman could not braid her hair. The term referred to the wealthy women of the time who did their hair in such ornate fashion so as to out-do (lol) other women and glean attention from other people. This style spoke of the inner woman - all she wanted was attention and approbation.

 

Ancient coiffure (kwa-fyoor) (Flavian woman, 90AD)

 

History of Roman Hairdressing

 

I quote from those who saw it: Juvenal (Roman poet of the late first century) says, "The attendants will vote on the dressing of the hair as if a question of reputation or of life were at stake, so great is the trouble she takes in quest of beauty; with so many tiers does she load, with so many continuous stories does she build up on high her hair. She is as tall as Andromache in front, and behind she is shorter. You would think her another person." Clement of Alexandria comments on this same thing when he says that the women do not even touch their own heads for fear of disturbing their hair, and sleep comes to them with terror lest they should unawares spoil their coiffures.

 

Costly array or garments would have been another indicator of the inner soul, especially for the Christian community. They were to share with one another. Persecution existed in pockets in the Empire and in those places the Christians had to sacrifice for one another just to live. Can you imagine Priscilla telling another poor Christian that she couldn’t give him any bread or clothing because she had spent her last denarius on the hairdresser, or that she didn’t have time to assist the community of Christians because it took her two hours to get her hair just right?

 

It would have been a great waste of resources to spend a great deal of one’s income and time on adornment. This is what Paul is getting at - the inner woman.

 

Each believer must decide for himself or herself what is proper. But please notice that almost everything mentioned in this passage is about the inner person, the heart. If your heart is filled with God’s love towards others then you will not give to yourself at the expense of others.

 

Yet, the excellent woman dresses in fine linen of a scarlet color. She adorns herself respectfully and without pride. She could dress like a bum and give a bit more to the poor or she could really deck herself out and have a different grand outfit for every day of the week and give nothing to the poor. The balance is clear. We are not ascetics who wear rags for the sake of looking humble. There, the motivation is the same as the women with sky-high hair adorned with costly pearls - gaining attention.

 

1TI 2:9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments;

 

1TI 2:10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness [being well-devoted to Christ].

 

I want women to order themselves with modest clothing, humility, and self-control, not with … (ornamentation motivated by arrogance and unbridled desire).  

 

Paul only gets around to the actual material things in reference to the condition of the heart that is prideful, arrogant, lustful, and uncontrolled. The humble woman is told what to avoid and not what to wear or how to do her hair. To her, the instructions are all aimed at the condition of her heart. Having that condition, she will “order” (better than “adorn”) herself properly.

 

One can see how certain denominations of Christianity have missed the proper interpretation of this passage when they should have known better.

 

I believe it is their own fear of freedom that motivates a community or church to turn this beautiful passage into a prison for women. The same was done by the rabbis when they decided to make up more laws in order to protect people from breaking the Mosaic Law. They decided to put a fence around the Tora, restricting the freedom of the people.

 

“Balancing the above, we might say, that the Christian is a free moral agent, not a machine, and is expected by God to exercise self-control by a free act of his will, doing this however in the energy which the Holy Spirit supplies to the yielded Christian. It is a happy combination and inter-working of the free will of the believer and the grace of God.” [Wuest]

 

The next, and similar passage is written by Peter.

 

1PE 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,

 

1TI 2:10

but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness [being well-devoted to Christ].

 

1PE 3:2 as they observe your chaste [Greek hagnos: pure from every fault] and respectful [Greek phobos: fear or reverence] behavior.

 

A wife cannot make a claim to godliness while simultaneously lacking submission to her husband, being pure and reverent before God.

 

She may give many reasons as a right to not submit to her husband’s authority, and many may agree and condone her reasons, but she cannot claim godliness.

 

No Christian, man or woman, can claim godliness and not be pure in spirit and reverent in obedience. Again, he or she may give many reasons that a human court (any group of people) may agree with, but he cannot claim godliness.

 

1PE 3:3 And let not your adornment [ordering] be merely external —  braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;

 

1PE 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

 

As in Php 2, “merely” is added by the translators. We can see why, but the word of God does not need our help. “Let not your ordering (again kosmos) be external.” Peter is clearly stating that your ordering needs to be internal, which he then states, “the hidden person of the heart.”

 

Peter, like Paul, is not telling godly women what to wear. He is telling them what not to wear - ornament that seeks attention and approbation, which again is labeled as braiding the hair, which was a common method among the wealthy women to glean attention from everybody.

 

1PE 3:5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands.

 

1PE 3:6 Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

 

Fear of loss, fear of being taken advantage of, fear of being ridiculed by other “liberal” women, are all unwarranted when the Lord of glory has commanded it as well as promised that He will reward.

 

There is an application of this principle to the Lord Jesus.

 

Jesus was God in the flesh. Think of how ornately He could have shown Himself or conducted Himself. Born in a manger in Bethlehem. Looked like an ordinary Galilean. Rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross like a common criminal.

 

ISA 52:13 Behold, My servant will prosper,

He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted.

 

ISA 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people,

So His appearance was marred more than any man,

And His form more than the sons of men.

 

ISA 52:15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations,

Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him;

For what had not been told them they will see,

And what they had not heard they will understand.

 

ISA 53:1 Who has believed our message?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

 

ISA 53:2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,

And like a root out of parched ground;

He has no stately form or majesty

That we should look upon Him,

Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

 

PRO 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.

 

She advances the respect of her husband. She does not shame him.

 

PRO 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

But she who shames him is as rottenness in his bones.

 

Her care of the home frees him to focus on his own public duty. In this case he is an elder and so he has judicial and social duties. A woman unlike this one would hinder his obligations as he would have to be concerned about the care of the home, the farm, the children, and their finances. But he knows fully that she is trustworthy.

 

PRO 31:11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,

And he will have no lack of gain.

 

She frees him to care for his own responsibilities because she takes care of her own so thoroughly.

 

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