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Every month I participate in an online study on Proverbs 31 over at The Homeschool Lounge. Here are my thoughts for this month’s verse – v.19
She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle.
Regardless of what translation you look at this verse pretty much says the same – it is a very simple verse. Simply: she spins her own thread and weaves her own cloth. Now is that a challenge to us today? How do we follow this verse in the Bible?
To start we need to remember that King Lemuel’s mother was painting a picture and when you take the whole passage into account I believe she was describing a type of woman that would be worthy of being the kings wife, that there were character issue that drove this woman to be like this picture. The last few verses are like the last brush strokes for this picture – and they are all about her heart and her fruit. There are heart lessons we need to learn, even as we read a simple verse about spinning and weaving.
What character trait drove this lady, who was a busy woman and a wealthy woman to sit at the spindle – a task surely below her station in life? This lady was humble, productive and involved.
No task was too small for this lady, every task deserved her best. Including spinning and weaving. Society has built up woman to say that this task is worthy of your abilities but this task is not. Do we drink from that attitude? The act of spinning and weaving was the first step in providing for her family – there is no disgrace in that.
I can imagine this regal woman sitting at her spindle – not disdaining it, sighing, being bored, only driven by duty – no, that is not consistent with the other aspects of her character we see in the other verses. I believe she saw the purpose behind her task – to cover her children (and no doubt those in need as we will find out as we read on). I believe she sees value in all that she is doing – not value for herself to be built up, but value for her husband, her family, and value for the kingdom of God.
The character trait of productivity comes through in many verses in Proverbs 31. The words ‘stretches’ and ‘grasp’ are active words – this task requires hard work, she maybe sitting but her hands are active. As I reflected on this verse the word “Idleness” came to mind. Idleness brings a picture of not doing bad, not doing good – that is, doing nothing! How do we use our time? Do we have moments where we aren’t doing anything bad, neither are we doing anything good? As we consider our habits we can be reminded of the woman in Proverbs 31 – she sat and kept her hands busy, she had purpose even in her moments of sitting still.
As I considered the task of spinning and weaving and producing the fabric in order to clothe her family I had to wonder if that was what I should be doing today. I don’t believe so – I don’t believe it is wrong to do so, but neither do I believe it is an imperative in scripture. What is the equivalent in today’s world – what does this verse have to say to me, living in the 21st century?
I believe that Proverbs is full of truths and principles that will change our lives if we live them out. These truths reflect God’s character and His desires for us. I also believe that there are spiritual lessons we can learn from the principles that govern our physical world. As I considered how this woman was involved in her children’s lives I started to see a spiritual parallel.
This woman was involved in providing for her children’s physical needs – as mums in the 21st century we need to be involved in providing for our children’s physical needs too – but as always, God is looking at the heart. We need to be involved in our children’s spiritual needs too. We cannot leave this to another to spin and weave.
Do we see the task of providing for our children’s spiritual needs a task worthy of our efforts?
Do we protect the need to be involved in our children’s spiritual well-being?
Do we take every opportunity to sit speak into our children’s hearts?