Women Professing Godliness Part 2

1Timothy 2:9-10 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which become women professing godliness) with good works.

‘Broided hair’ – an ancient headdress [Greek: plegma] anything twined or plaited; a net; wreaths; chaplets. This is not the Greek word for hair. It could refer to hair here, but it could also refer to some part of the headdress, the horn, for instance. Women wore a hollow, jewel-encrusted silver or gold tube or horn 45 to 50 centimetres long on the forehead. It had strong cords suspended from it to the back which reached to the knees and had red silk tassels weighted with lead. These kept the horn from toppling in front. The whole thing was supported by a network of cords and by a strong band fastened tightly under the jaw. A veil was worn over the horn in such a manner as to leave its lower half uncovered in front. The veil could be drawn over the face at will, to cover all the face but one eye.

The hair (which may be the reference here) was worn in the back in braids – from 1 to a record of 110 braids. In each braid would be woven silk cords with gold coins at irregular distances and reaching down to the knees, glittering at every movement of the wearer. Sometimes the hair was made into temples and other fanciful figures with the aid of gum.

Sometimes they wore caps completely covered with coins or frontlets ornamented with diamonds. Eastern women were fond of excessive jewellery – not only on their heads but on other parts of the body as well. Earrings, nose jewels, chains, rings, bracelets, ankle rings, strings of real pearls and money, necklaces, and many other ornaments were worn – some even by the men (Gen. 24:47; Ex. 32:2; 35:22; Jdg. 8:24; Isa. 3:16-24; Job 42:11).

‘Costly array’ [Greek: poluteles] (Mark 14:3; 1Pet. 3:4). It is the extravagance in ornaments and costly garments that Paul rebukes. In fact, the passage is not condemning any one style, ornament, or garment, but demanding moderation in dress and behaviour in general as women professing godliness (2:10). Thus clothing that covers up the women and not revealing any one area as to advertise one’s body. When either men or women live primarily for dressing up and outward show, it is wrong.

From 1Peter 3:3 we see that outward adorning consists of hairstyles, the wearing of gold and apparel. It is not the total condemnation of these three things that Peter intends, but rather he’s stressing the importance of inner adorning over outward adorning. Many go to extremes classing as sin all wearing of rings, bracelets, and other ornaments, but this is not the purpose of the passage. It says nothing of any one of these things being sinful or unbecoming to Christians.

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