She layeth her hands to the spindle,
and her hands hold the distaff.
Hi Happy Homemakers,
Sorry for the long respite from the Proverbs 31 study. We are really behind!
I love Mary Cassatt. This is a painting of hers called "Young Woman Sewing in the Garden". For some reason this painting makes me want to sew. She is so relaxed. She is not rushing through her work like I always do. She is simply enjoying a beautiful sunny day sewing outside. I am sure this young woman was very content on that day to have Ms. Cassatt painting her in this relaxed atmosphere.
Now-a-days we are bombarded with photos of woman rushing everywhere. Of course, they look amazing...because they rush rush all day to make more money so they can wear fabulous clothes, shoes, and go on expensive vacations. Did anyone see recently the commercial for a prepared food that shows a mother behind her desk happily looking at a PHOTO of her kids and a photo of a beautiful beach. The commercial says something like....you spend all your time at this desk to be able to visit that beautiful beach on the screen. It was sad to me. She is choosing a stupid vacation over the daily care and management of her children and home. That is how I see it anyway. I know that when I had to work it was because we needed the money to pay bills not to go on fancy vacations once a year.
She knew how to use her hands with skill in providing clothing for her family and perhaps others. This verse describes a very ancient method of spinning used in the days before the spinning wheel even existed. The distaff was a staff used for holding the flax, tow or wool which would be spun into thread by means of the spindle. The spindle would turn and twist the fibers into threads. [See the discussion of wool and flax under verse 13.]
The spindle was a round stick with tapered ends used to form and twist the yarn in hand spinning. The spindle and the distaff are the most ancient of all instruments used in the craft of spinning. About eight to ten inches long, spindles were used to guide the thread as it was fashioned into cloth. The weaver sometimes turned the spindle by rolling it across her thigh.
The wool or flax was wound on the distaff, which was stuck upright in the ground or held under the arm. The spindle, which had a circular rim to steady it when revolving, was attached to the thread being drawn out from the distaff. By rotating the spindle, the spinner twisted the thread. An example of hand spinning is found in the ancient book of Exodus: "And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair" (Exodus 35:25-26).
If a woman's hands are idle and if she is not engaged in worthwhile, constructive pursuits, then watch out! "Idle hands are the devil's tools" and "If the devil can catch a man (or woman) idle, he'll set him (or her) to work."
Just recently I have been able to enjoy my sewing. We moved to a larger house so I have more room to set up my sewing and I also am not working so I have the time to do this activity. It is funny how things change. Store bought clothing use to be a big deal even 50 years ago. Now if something is homemade people go GaGa. I have been making aprons and selling them. It is enjoyable work and I make a bit of money.
I have been inspired by this woman and her resourcefulness. However, I am really glad that I don't have to sew all day long to provided clothing like she did. I can't imagine making my own thread! The lesson is clear in this passage. Be busy at home, resourceful and hardworking the devil is prowling around like a lion ready to attack and the best defense is activity!
1 Peter 5:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Ummm....that's scary...I better keep busy!
kisses and hugs,