Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wool and Flax

In my continuing quest to do an in-depth study of Proverbs 31, I came across my next verse - Proverbs 31:13...

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."

This verse is plopped right after two verses describing her husband's love and confidence in her, and her ability to gain his trust. I have to admit it seemed a bit oddly placed considering the verses following talk of merchant ships and fields - much more exciting.

I believe every word in Scripture is there for a purpose and this verse is no exception. It speaks clearly of the selection of materials and the production that follows. But, in looking a bit closer, it intrigued me that wool and flax were the items listed. I'm sure Mrs. Virtuous worked eagerly at a lot of tasks and spent a lot of time selecting appropriate items needed to take care of her home and family. So, why did the passage mention wool and flax?

Flax is a well-known plant with yellowish stems and bright blue flowers. The main use of flax (once dried and its oil expressed) is for the manufacturing of linen, obviously to make clothing. Interestingly, the expressed flax oil was used to feed cattle. Selecting the best flax not only created the loveliest of linens, but also became food for the family's cattle herd. It is noted that only women of noble birth were found spinning flax. And, we now see the noble connection to flax.

Wool is a bit more obvious in its origin - sheep. But in Old Testament times, the first wool shearing of a family's best sheep was required for sacrificing to the priest. Choosing the best wool, like flax, would make the warmest of clothes, but selecting of the best was symbolic of the sacrifice made to the priests. Mrs. Virtuous took her shopping seriously.

I'm not spinning wool and flax to clothe my family but it reminds me that as I care for others, I should choose wisely and work eagerly for God's glory. That is such a small price to pay for the ultimate sacrifice God made for me in sending His Son to be my Sheep sacrifice for my sins. I'm forever grateful that God chose the Supreme Sacrifice for me.


Anonymous said...

On a somewhat related note, at a conference I attended recently, it was presented that perhaps the Proverbs 31 woman is not one woman, but a prototype of sorts...the best qualities of all of us combined into one. Basically, this was equivalent to telling us that none of us can be that perfect and industious, but we all have talents and skills and qualities that the Lord gave us for His specific purposes, and we absolutely have to hone those and use them for His glory...but not to berate ourselves when we fall short of "Mrs. Virtuous." :O) Just some food for thought...

Anyway, I do love Proverbs inspiring and challenging...and yet it simultaneously serves as Biblical proof that God has a sense of humor! Where else in the Bible can you find so many little jokes and word-plays just waiting to be written?!?!?! :o)

(Wool and flax (linen)...expensive and luxurious, but one is itchy, the other wrinkledy, and both are hard to clean...He just couldn't throw a little cotton/lycra blend in there...????? :o) (Relax, people!!! He knows I'm kidding!!!!)

Love you, Rose Petal!

Jules said...

It wasn't supposed to call me "anonymous"!!!! Whatever...

RosieBoo said...

I think most scholars will say that Proverbs 31 is a culmination of many woman and not just one, thank goodness. :) Much like striving to be like Christ, we know we can't be perfect, but we still press on!

Press on...get it...a pun about cotten. ;)