on 1-timothy 2 :9
In like manner also - That is, he wills or commands what follows, as he had commanded what went before.
That women adorn themselves - Και τας γυναικας ες καταστολῃ κοσμιῳ. The apostle seems to refer here to different parts of the Grecian and Roman dress. The στολη, stola, seems to have been originally very simple. It was a long piece of cloth, doubled in the middle, and sewed up on both sides, leaving room only for the arms; at the top, a piece was cut out, or a slit made, through which the head passed. It hung down to the feet, both before and behind, and was girded with the zona round the body, just under the breasts. It was sometimes made with, sometimes without, sleeves; and, that it might sit the better, it was gathered on each shoulder with a band or buckle. Some of the Greek women wore them open on each side, from the bottom up above the knee, so as to discover a part of the thigh. These were termed φαινομηριδες, showers (discoverers) of the thigh; but it was, in general, only young girls or immodest women who wore them thus.
The καταστολη seems to have been the same as the pallium or mantle, which, being made nearly in the form of the stola, hung down to the waist, both in back and front, was gathered on the shoulder with a band or buckle, had a hole or slit at top for the head to pass through, and hung loosely over the stola, without being confined by the zona or girdle. Representations of these dresses may be seen in Lens' Costume des Peuples de l'Antiquit, fig. 11, 12, 13, and 16. A more modest and becoming dress than the Grecian was never invented; it was, in a great measure, revived in England about the year 1805, and in it, simplicity, decency, and elegance were united; but it soon gave place to another mode, in which frippery and nonsense once more prevailed. It was too rational to last long; and too much like religious simplicity to be suffered in a land of shadows, and a world of painted outsides.
With shamefacedness and sobriety - The stola, catastola, girdle, etc., though simple in themselves, were often highly ornamented both with gold and precious stones; and, both among the Grecian and Roman women, the hair was often crisped and curled in the most variegated and complex manner. To this the apostle alludes when he says: Μη εν πλεγμασιν, η χρυσῳ, η μαργαριταις, η ἱματισμῳ πολυτελει· Not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly raiment. The costly raiment might refer to the materials out of which the raiment was made, and to the workmanship; the gold and pearls, to the ornaments on the raiment.
With shame-facedness or modesty, μετα αιδους. This would lead them to avoid every thing unbecoming or meretricious in the mode or fashion of their dress.
With sobriety, μετα σωφροσυνης. Moderation would lead them to avoid all unnecessary expense. They might follow the custom or costume of the country as to the dress itself, for nothing was ever more becoming than the Grecian stola, catastola, and zona; but they must not imitate the extravagance of those who, through impurity or littleness of mind, decked themselves merely to attract the eye of admiration, or set in lying action the tongue of flattery. Woman has been invidiously defined: An animal fond of dress. How long will they permit themselves to be thus degraded?
Those beautiful lines of Homer, in which he speaks of the death of Euphorbus, who was slain by Menelaus, show how anciently the Grecians plaited and adorned their hair: -
Αντικρυ δ' απαλοιο δι' αυχενος ηλυθ' ακωκη·
Δουπησεν δε πεσων, αραβησε δε τευχε' επ' αυτῳ.
Αἱματι οἱ δευοντο κομαι, Χαριτεσσιν ὁμοιαι,
Πλοχμοι θ' οἱ χρυσῳ τε και αργυρῳ εσφηκωντο.
Il. xvii., ver. 49.
Wide through the neck appears the ghastly wound;
Prone sinks the warrior, and his arms rebound.
on 1-timothy 2 :9
In like manner also - That is, with the same propriety; with the same regard to what religion demands. The apostle had stated particularly the duty of men in public worship 1 Timothy 2:8, and he now proceeds to state the duty of women. All the directions here evidently refer to the proper manner of conducting public worship, and not to private duties; and the object here is to state the way in which he would have the different sexes appear. He had said that he would have prayers offered for all people (1 Timothy 2:1 ff), and that in offering such petitions he would have the men on whom devolved the duty of conducting public devotion, do it with holy hands, and without any intermingling of passion, and with entire freedom from the spirit of contention. In reference to the duty of females in attendance on public worship, he says that he would have them appear in apparel suitable to the place and the occasion - adorned not after the manner of the world, but with the zeal and love in the cause of the Redeemer which became Christians. He would not have a woman become a public teacher 1 Timothy 2:12, but would wish her ever to occupy the place in society for which she was designed 1 Timothy 2:11, and to which she had shown that she was adapted; 1 Timothy 2:13-14. The direction in 1 Timothy 2:9-12, therefore, is to be understood particularly of the proper deportment of females in the duties of public worship. At the same time, the principles laid down are doubtless such as were intended to apply to them in the other situations in life, for if modest apparel is appropriate in the sanctuary, it is appropriate everywhere. If what is here prohibited in dress is wrong there, it would be difficult to show that it is right elsewhere.
That women adorn themselves - The words "I will" are to be understood here as repeated from 1 Timothy 2:8. The apostle by the use of the word "adorn" (κοσμεῖν kosmein), shows that he is not opposed to ornament or adorning, provided it be of the right kind. The world, as God has made it, is full of beauty, and he has shown in each flower that he is not opposed to true ornament. There are multitudes of things which, so far as we can see, appear to be designed for mere ornament, or are made merely because they are beautiful. Religion does not forbid true adorning. It differs from the world only on the question what "is" true ornament, or what it becomes us, all things considered, to do in the situation in which we are placed, the character which we sustain, the duties which we have to perform, and the profession which we make. It may be that there are ornaments in heaven which would be anything but appropriate for the condition of a poor, lost, dying sinner on earth.
In modest apparel - The word here rendered "modest" (κόσμιος kosmios), properly relates to ornament, or decoration, and means that which is "well-ordered, decorous, becoming." It does not, properly, mean modest in the sense of being opposed to that which is immodest, or which tends to excite improper passions and desires, but that which is becoming or appropriate. The apostle does not positively specify what this would be, but he mentions somethings which are to be excluded from it, and which, in his view, are inconsistent with the true adorning of Christian females - "broidered hair, gold, pearls, costly array." The sense here is, that the apparel of females should be such as becomes them, or is appropriate to them. The word here used (κόσμιος kosmios), shows that there should be due attention that it may be truly neat, fit, decorous. There is no religion in a negligent mode of apparel, or in inattention to personal appearance - anymore than there is in wearing gold and pearls; and a female may as truly violate the precepts of her religion by neglecting her personal appearance as by excessive attention to it. The true idea here is, that her attention to her appearance should be such that she will be offensive to no class of persons; such as to show that her mind is supremely fixed on higher and more important things, and such as to interfere with no duty which she owes, and no good which she can do, either by spending her time needlessly in personal adorning, or by lavishing that money for dress which might do good to others, or by neglecting the proprieties of her station, and making herself offensive to others.
With shamefacedness - With modesty of appearance and manner - an eminent female virtue, whether in the sanctuary or at home.
And sobriety - The word here used means, properly, "sanity;" then sober-mindedness, moderation of the desires and passions. It is opposed to all that is frivolous, and to all undue excitement of the passions. The idea is, that in their apparel and deportment they should not entrench on the strictest decorum. Doddridge.
Not with broidered hair - Margin, "plaited." Females in the East pay much more attention to the hair than is commonly done with us. It is plaited with great care, and arranged in various forms, according to the prevailing fashion, and often ornamented with spangles or with silver wire or tissue interwoven; see the notes on Isaiah 3:24. The sense here is, that Christian females are not to imitate those of the world in their careful attention to the ornaments of the head. It cannot be supposed that the mere braiding of the hair is forbidden, but only that careful attention to the manner of doing it, and to the ornaments usually worn in it, which characterized worldly females.
Or gold, or pearls - It is not to be supposed that all use of gold or pearls as articles of dress is here forbidden; but the idea is, that the Christian female is not to seek these as the adorning which she desires, or is not to imitate the world in these personal decorations. It may be a difficult question to settle how much ornament is allowable, and when the true line is passed. But though this cannot be settled by any exact rules, since much must depend on age, and on the relative rank in life, and the means which one may possess, yet there is one general rule which is applicable to all, and which might regulate all. It is, that the true line is passed when more is thought of this external adorning, than of the ornament of the heart. Any external decoration which occupies the mind more than the virtues of the heart, and which engrosses the time and attention more, we may be certain is wrong. The apparel should be such as not to attract attention; such as becomes our situation; such as will not be particularly singular; such as shall leave the impression that the heart is not fixed on it. It is a poor ambition to decorate a dying body with gold and pearls. It should not be forgotten that the body thus adorned will soon need other habiliments, and will occupy a position where gold and pearls would be a mockery. When the heart is right; when there is true and supreme love for religion, it is usually not difficult to regulate the subject of dress.
Costly array - Expensive dress. This is forbidden - for it is foolish, and the money thus employed may be much more profitably used in doing good. "Costly array" includes that which can be ill afforded, and that which is inconsistent with the feeling that the principle ornament is that of the heart.
on 1-timothy 2 :9