There met him a woman with the attire of a harlot, and subtil of heart. She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house (Proverbs 7:10, 11). I decided to dig into these verses to find out the opposite of what we are called to be and study the qualities of a harlot from the old commentaries to make sure none of us can be accused of any of her ways. There are many women who act as harlots today by their behavior, clothing, and willingness to defile the marriage bed by having affairs, divorcing their husbands, and remarrying another man.
The attire of a harlot is described as “showy gaudy garments, such as the Athenian whores wore, or sort ones, as the Romans; the word signifies one fitted to her body, neat and well shaped, to recommend her: so the woman, the whore of Rome, is said to be arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearlrs; signifying the outward pomp and splendor or the Romish religion, designed to captivate weak and unwary minds” (Gill’s Exposition).
From this old commentary, we are given some guidelines about what is considered immodest. Wearing showy, gaudy garments designed to show off and draw attention to ourselves is not being ‘shamefaced’ (1 Timothy 2:9) as we are called to do. The word ‘modest’ not only describes covering up but includes not spending a lot of money on our clothing and not being excessive or extreme in the amount of clothing we own, as many are prone to do today. We need to learn to deny ourselves and not live for what we want but for what God commands.
It’s shameful how packed full most of our closets are with clothing that we never wear. Our time and money shouldn’t be spent at the malls and pouring over the Internet for more clothes to buy; for godliness with contentment is great gain. Let’s not be known for how we dress but for how kind and loving we speak and act instead.
Our clothing must not be too short or too form fitting, as to show off our bodies in order to entice men. Our desire should never be to try to attract attention by the clothes we wear or cause men to stumble and lust after us but to cover up and respect the men in our lives.
“In Revelation 17:14, the harlot is ‘arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls;’ and in the present case the female is dressed in some conspicuous garments, very different from the sober clothing of the pure and modest” (Pulpit Commentary). In comparing the harlot to the pure and modest woman, this commentary uses the word ‘sober’ to describe the clothing that we are to wear which simply means being serious in our walk with the Lord and obeying what He has commanded us to do in all areas of our lives. We don’t need to be known for having the latest fashion designs, but for caring more about our good works and others; for this brings glory to the Lord.
Next, the harlot is known for being subtil of heart. “Feigning love to her husband and devotion to her lovers, yet caring for none, only to satisfy her own passions” (Ellicott’s Commentary). She is selfish, self-seeking, and doesn’t care who she hurts in the process. Sadly, many women, even Christian women, don’t care about causing harm to their husbands and children as they divorce their husbands because they aren’t happy, fulfilled, or any other adjective they use to justify their selfish behavior. They tear their homes down with their own hands by not being faithful to the husband of their youth.
She is “open to all impressions of evil, empty-headed and empty-hearted; lounging near the house of ill-repute, not as yet deliberately purposing to sin, but placing herself in the way of it at a time when the pure in heart would seek their home” (Barnes’ Notes). As you will notice in the commentaries concerning “her feet abide not in her house,” all of these men of old knew and taught that women were to be keepers at home, not out and about. (This is studied in more detail below.) Strive to be known as women who are pure in heart and seek the good of your homes. This is your God-ordained workplace, not finding amusements elsewhere.
She is loud and stubborn…
She was “clamorous, noisy, and talkative, when she has got her gallant with her; pouring out foolish and unchaste words to allure and entice him; unless it is to be understood of her bawling and scolding, when within doors, at her husband, in order to get him out, and be rid of him; to whom she is ‘stubborn’ and ‘rebellious’, breaking the covenant with him, and disobeying his commands; and departing from him, declining out of the way; speaking rebellion: all which agree with the whore of Rome, who is rebellious against Christ, whose spouse she professes to be; is perfidious to him, disobedient to his commandments; is gone out of the way of his truths and ordinances, and publishes and encourages everything that is contrary thereunto; as well as has a mouth speaking blasphemies” (Gill’s Exposition).
She was know for scolding her husband and being stubborn and rebellious towards him. Do the words stubborn and rebellious describe you? Do you insist on your way like a bull dog with a rag in its mouth? Do you treat him more as a child than your husband? Do you refuse to submit to his leadership and obey him in everything?
The harlot was known for “disobeying his commands” whereas we are commanded to obey our husbands as well as reverence, submit to, please, and serve them. Let this come from a heart that wants to please the Lord in everything and joyfully submitting to your husband’s commands. As we live in submission to our husbands, we are living in submission to our Lord.
She “publishes and encourages everything that is contrary thereunto; as well as has a mouth speaking blasphemies.” This reminds me of feminism and their leaders who have published books and articles encouraging women to do things that are completely opposed to what the Lord has called us to do. They have completely twisted God’s beautiful role for women and femininity and made it into something ugly and vulgar: independence from men, being away from the home, careers, pushing birth control, abortion, immodesty, and all types of evil.
“She hides her real feelings, feigning, perhaps, affection for a husband, or love for her paramour (lover), while she seeks only to satisfy her evil passions” (Pulpit Commentary). She doesn’t know how to love. She is not patient and kind. She doesn’t bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. She is a covenant breaker and her heart is hard and not transformed by the power of the Lord. She will reap the bad fruit she sows.
“She is full of talk, self-willed, disobedient to her husband, rebellious against God, and incorrigible by any admonitions of ministers or friends” (Benson Commentary). She may say she is a believer but her actions are contrary to her words; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).
Her feet abide not in her house…
She is not a “keeper at home as St. Paul would have Christian matrons to be” (Ellicott’s Commentary). God commands older women to teach the younger women to be keepers at home. Apparently, younger women don’t naturally want to be keepers at home just as they don’t want to obey their husbands, dress modestly, be sober, good, chaste, and discreet, therefore, they must be taught all of these qualities by godly, older women who have hopefully acquired them.
“She minds not her business, which lies in her own house, but give herself wholly up to idleness and pleasure, which she seeks in gadding abroad, and in changing her place and company” (Benson Commentary). Our business is in our homes, women. This is where we are called to work hard by being help meets to our husband, mothers to our children, cooking, cleaning, washing, and all the other work in the home.
If any of this is neglected due to time on the Internet, watching television, shopping, ministries outside of the home, and entertainments, please seriously consider changing your life around to focus your time and energies upon what the Lord has called you to do: be in your home as keepers at home. Never be accused of “gadding abroad”; seeking pleasures outside of your home when things at home are unfinished or falling apart.
“She minds not her business, which lies at home, but gives up herself wholly to idleness and pleasure, which she seeks abroad with other men” (Matthew Poole’s Commentary). There are few women who were trained to keep clean and tidy homes. Our culture is an entertainment and pleasure-seeking one. Most children weren’t raised to work hard or have much responsibility in the home but this doesn’t mean that you must stay this way. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, including learning to work hard at home and serving your husband and children.
She fails “to attend the business of it; but site is gadding abroad to seek her lovers, and bring them in; it is the character of good women that they are keepers at home, but it is the sign of a harlot to gad abroad” (Gill’s Exposition). Did you notice that he wrote that the character of women is to be keepers at home? Yes, this is our calling and when we are “gadding abroad” we are blaspheming the Word of God since He is the One who calls us to be keepers at home.
“She is the opposite of the careful, modest housewife, who stays at home and manages her family affairs – always restless” (Pulpit Commentary). A perfect description for a godly woman is one who is careful, a modest housewife (not forward or boastful but virtuous), staying at home and managing family affairs. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. The majority of her time and energy are in her work at home.
I often hear of women saying they are bored at home. Well, you know what? Women who work at jobs outside of the home get bored, too. Being bored isn’t wrong or bad but complaining about it is so decide to not say you’re bored anymore and find things to keep yourself busy, even if this means fixing meals for mothers who just had a baby, writing encouraging letters to others, calling your parents, visiting the elderly, and any number of ways to minister to others but make sure you are never neglecting your duties at home and with your family; for this is God’s high calling upon your life.