Strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at the future.  Proverb 31:25 (NASB)

Clothing – Paul might have instructed all of us to put on the new man like a new suit of clothes, but Lemuel’s mother knew how to dress a woman.  The best dressed woman in God’s creation is clothed with strength and dignity.  In fact, with but a little reflection, we might imagine that Havvah was clothed in nothing else.  All she needed was ‘oz and hadar to be perfectly outfitted for the Master’s calling.

It’s worth noting that she is able to smile at the future, an idiom that expresses complete confidence when backing[1] into the unknown, because these two garments provide her with every resource needed to handle whatever might come.  Better than Gucci, better than Channel, these Hebrew threads are the glory of every woman who wears them, the hallowing of the God who gives them and the prosperity of the husband who benefits from them.

The first is the familiar word ‘oz.  Strength, power and capability combine with protection, refuge and defense.  As we discovered, there are two sides to this coin.  In God, the ‘ezer of Israel, we find benevolence coupled with wrath.  God is jealous over His children and angry toward His enemies.  Should we expect to find anything less in the ‘ezer kenegdo?  Perhaps those signs of jealousy are just reflections of the intensity of love that blossoms from ‘oz vehadar.  This seems all the more to be the case when we take a longer look at hadar.  In 1 Chronicles 16:27 hadar describes the splendor of God Himself.  In Psalm 29:4 it is used of God’s thunderous voice.  Isaiah uses it describing sinners fleeing from the majesty of the Lord (Isaiah 2:10).  And Psalm 8:5 uses hadar to recount the magnificence of the creation of human beings when compared to all of God’s other work.  A woman clothed with hadar is a woman in majesty, splendor and magnificence.  Perhaps it is a picture of the woman as she was presented to the man so many centuries ago when he proclaimed, “This is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.”

Strength and splendor-majesty-glory are her levush (Lamed-Bet-Vav-Shin).  You can think of the idea of clothing as a sign of status and function within the community.  Today clothes are more or less ornamental, although some kinds of clothing are still associated with various professions.  But in ancient society, clothes indicated  much more about a person.  Clothes were an outward representation of the kind of work, status or rank and even the character of a person.  You can recognize this fact of life in many of the parables.   But God looks for the same clothing she wore when He created her.   And any man with any sense at all will realize that God’s best dressed woman is the only one for him.

Topical Index:  clothing, levush, strength, ‘oz, dignity, hadar, Proverbs 31:25

If you haven’t read Guardian Angel, your missing a powerful and transforming look at the role of women.

[1] While our perspective is usually “facing” the future, the Hebrew view is far more manageable.  Look here.

  • Amanda Youngblood January 29, 2011 at 6:21 am

    “It’s worth noting that she is able to smile at the future, an idiom that expresses complete confidence when backing[1] into the unknown, because these two garments provide her with every resource needed to handle whatever might come.”

    I know, being called to “remember,” that it makes sense that she’s walking backwards, but boy that can be scary! On the other hand, God is often so unexpected, trying to see ahead is rather fruitless. I also found the explanation of ‘oz (Strength, power and capability combine with protection, refuge and defense) interesting. These are qualities I pray that I will have more greatly as fear has often been the cloak I’ve worn.

    I’ve been reading Guardian Angel (rather slowly because it’s hard to find reading time with two small children), and I’m really enjoying it! So far it’s been fascinating, though sometimes I have to reread a portion to really wrap my mind around it. Great job, Skip!

    Thanks as always! 🙂

  • Jan Carver January 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

    How beautiful is that… ♥

  • Gayle Johnson January 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

    I recently read a statement about the second Hebrew letter, ‘bet.’ It said that the ‘bet’ is closed on the side that faces everything that came before it, and open on the side of everything that came after it. I immediately thought of Skip’s “Back to the Future” post a couple of years ago. These ideas seem to line up very well together.

    It made me wonder about the ‘bet.’ If it was not closed, would we know the future? 🙂 Nothing new under the sun, we are circling back to the Beginning.

  • carl roberts January 29, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Let’s “kick this up a notch..” We (you and I), the followers of the Way, are today the body and the bride of Christ (the Annointed ONE). We are destined for a wedding celebration and a heavenly honeymoon that is to last for eternity. (Do you like to party?- lol!!).
    G-d is purposeful in all He does. Amein. No wasted words, no wasted motion- perfect in all He does..- Amein? So- what is He doing?
    “Build-A-Bride.” We (you and I), are Ruth. He (Yeshua HaMashiach) is our heavenly Boaz, our Kinsman-Redeemer. It may be difficult for us male carbon units to view ourselves as a bride, but that is who we are. It is our identity “in Christ.” He is the bridegroom and we (us) are the bride. It is G-d who is at work in us- both to will and to do of His good pleasure- and it is His good pleasure to to present us to Himself (one day soon!), a bride (without spot and blemish). Now we can see why “He will sit as a refiner’s fire!” – and the purpose of our chastening, daily cleansing- and refining!- We (you and I and all who are followers of the Way) are being “conformed” ( a word of heat and pressure) into the image of the Son- “cleansed and made holy- humble and lowly, “right” (righteous) in the sight of G-d.” Hallelujah! – Bring on the heat! Amen!
    May we say with David- It is good for me that I have been afflicted?- (what?) Yes!- we may! Why?- Because dear friend- Elohim knows what He is doing! The LORD (our ADONAI) is G-d, and G-d, dear friend is good, all the time- and to everyone!
    Is G-d out to “crush us?” No. Is it the desire of YHWH to bruise us? No. Would our Boaz want to harm us? No. G-d loves us. How much? Enough to die the death of a common criminal on Calvary’s cross. Yeshua “paid it all.” He took our crushing. He took our bruising upon Himself. He took upon Himself the full wrath of the Father toward all sin for all mankind, including my own. “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all- How shall He not with Him- also freely give us all things? (Romans 8.32) Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7.11)
    Today, we (who are His) are blessed. Blessed beyond our knowing. May G-d give us the needed perception and vision to see our blessings. May G-d wipe away the tears from our eyes to see clearly the path of our Master-Teacher, that we also may daily live it and walk in it, pleasing unto the living Elohim, our ABBA Father. Amein.

    • Michael January 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      “It may be difficult for us male carbon units to view ourselves as a bride, but that is who we are. It is our identity “in Christ.””

      Hi Carl,

      When I left my place this morning after reading this post.

      The first thought that entered my mind.

      Was the point you make above.

  • Michael January 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    “All she needed was ‘oz and hadar to be perfectly outfitted for the Master’s calling”

    Hi Skip,

    When I read this post end to end last night, it made me smile hard inside if not laugh out loud.

    And I found it to be particularly well written even by your high standards, as Wizard of Oz.

    Then when I read Proverb 31, I was really amazed; an acrostic poem on the perfect wife 🙂

    Aleph A perfect wife–who can find her?
    She is far beyond the price of pearls 31:10

    And I like Lemual’s mother a lot:

    31:3 Do not spend all your energy on women,
    nor your loins on these destoyers of Kings.

    31:4 Not for King’s, O Lemual,
    not for King’s thye drinking of wine.

    I imagine Herman Mellville liked Lemual too; he was from an Ishmaelite tribe from northern Arabia.

    And the opening line in Moby Dick.

    Is “Call me Ishamael.”

  • LaVaye-Ed Billings January 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    SKIP__ I guess your proof reader will get the correct reference in the “tags”— Proverbs 31:25, and NOT ” Psalm” 31:25.
    Skip and all the rest of the Cyber Community:
    When I was in Bible Classes for girls– ( 12 -14 year olds) which was at least 65 years ago, we had to memorize the Epilogue: ” The Wife of Noble Character” passage. Prov.31:10-31period of time studying it, and then were to be able to recite it.—– Of course, through all these years, with the same husband that I married in 1952, a large enough family– four blood children, and many “children that fell through the cracks, to help care for, teaching school, and more, these verses were studied again and again in new light! I became a great lover of beautiful fabrics, actual clothing, designing and stitching for my own three daughters, myself, and others — for the love of doing it for various people as the Lord showed me. This past week even repaired my granddaughter’s horse’s hood, and got in the mail to her! ( I have made show clothes for my granddaughter to ride in, but stated that I would not sew for horses! lol: I did sew for a horse this week.)
    — Each one of these verses has been valuable to me in one area or another at various times. However; now with an octogenarian husband, and me not far behind, this particular verse”: 25, took on a new meaning. ” SHE IS CLOTHED WITH STRENGTH &———
    —– My husband and I spent most of last Thursday with an eye surgeon for him; the location is about an hour from our home. He is considered legally blind in his left eye, and has been most of his life. The date for first surgery is Feb. 07. If all goes well, another date will be set in March, and then if all that goes well , a far more complicated one will be set later. —
    —- I feel that the Lord has given me good health, and that as long as I am able to do the driving and caring for Ed, that I should do that. I actually do know when to ask for help, but do not think I need to at this time.
    When I read this today, I was already weighing the need to ask for prayer, and this verse prompted me to ask from anyone that will do so, to pray that I will be able to have the STRENGTH– & (THE DIGNITY) TO DRIVE OUR PICK-UP TRUCK TWICE ON MONDAY, AND AGAIN TWICE TUES. and more times later as the check-ups grow more apart. WE WILL NEED TO LEAVE both these days VERY EARLY ( still dark) AND the deer are rampant in this area, We do not have cell phones.
    —- If you will pray, thank you so much, but please do not comment back about it. I may not be back on line for a few days, as I have several projects to care for, before this starts. Thanks in advance, and I will write after things settle down, hopefully in about three weeks or more. LaVaye/ Ed

    • Skip Moen January 31, 2011 at 5:33 am

      Thanks. It has been corrected.

  • Gayle Johnson January 31, 2011 at 8:38 am


    I had to laugh at your statement about sewing for horses. Sounds like something I would do. Never say never! 🙂

    I have prayed that the Father will be your Helper, to give you strength and dignity to be a helper and a blessing to Ed; that the Drs. will find this correction and healing to be simpler than anticipated; and that the weather and necessary travelling will be clear and easy for you.

    God bless you both.

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