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which a prudent wife will enrich the house of her husband. "¿w spolium, venuste designat lucra undique conquisita, ac convecta; quæ sint tanquam prædæ opimæ, quibus domus, cui talis mulier præest, ditatur."-Schultens.

13. She seeketh wool and flax]—“ It was usual in ancient times for great personages to do such works as are mentioned in these words, both among the Greeks and Romans. Lucretia with her maids was found spinning, when her husband, Collatinus, paid a visit to her from the camp. Tanaquilis, or Caia Cæcilia, the wife of king Tarquin, was an excellent spinner of wool.—(Val. Max. l. x. p. 348.) Her wool, with a distaff and spindle, long remained in the Temple of Sangus; and a garment made by her, worn by Servius Tullius, was reserved in the Temple of Fortune. Hence it became a custom for maidens to accompany new-married women with a distaff and spindle, with wool upon them, signifying what they were principally to attend to.-(Pliny, Nat. Hist. 1. viii. c. 48.) Maidens are advised to follow the example of Minerva, said to be the first who made a web; and, if they desired to have her favour, learn to use the distaff, and to card and spin.-(Ovid, Fast. l. iii.) So did the daughters of Minyas (Ovid, Met. l. iv. f. 1, v. 34) and the nymphs. —(Virgil, Geor. 1. iv.) Augustus Cæsar usually wore no garments but such as were made at home, by his wife, sister, or daughter. (Sueton. in Vit. August. c. 73.)”—Burder's Oriental Customs. See also Goguet's Origin of Laws, par. 1, I. ii. c. 2; Harmer's Observations, vol. iv. p. 218, and ch. vii. 16, note; Fleury's Manners of the Israelites, ch. x. ed. Clarke.

14. She is like ships, &c.]-This verse describes her domestic economy. As ships take home-manufactures to foreign markets, and bring back, in return, the produce of distant lands; so a virtuous wife exchanges the things which

her hands have wrought for the produce of foreign countries, and for such articles as are necessary for domestic purposes, seeking the best market, and studious of proper economy.

15. She riseth, &c.]—Xenophon, in his Œconomics, cap. 7, § 35, 36, says, that it is necessary for a prudent and virtuous wife to remain at home, to send forth the servants who have to work in the fields, and to superintend those who are occupied in domestic labours. She is to distribute to them. what they are allowed to consume, to exercise great foresight and economy, &c. Throughout the description which Ischomachus, according to Xenophon, gives of a virtuous wife, a great resemblance may be traced to the character delineated in this part of the Proverbs. See Clemens Alex. Pædag. lib. iii. c. 11.

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meat or food, Ps. cxi. 5; Mal. Bowμara, LXX. So Syriac

And a portion]—That is, the portion of work they are to do, their day's labour; ɛpya, LXX. So Syriac and Targum. pn, being joined with meat, must here mean a portion of work, an appointed task, pensum, as in Exod. v. 14; but it sometimes denotes a portion of food, ch. xxx. 8; Gen. xlvii. 22; Ezek. xvi. 27.-(See Simonis, Lex. Heb. pp.) "Nota hic eam toti familiæ cibum parare, sed ancillis modo, non maribus, opera præscribere."-Cartwright.

16. She considereth a field, &c.]-In this description of a virtuous wife we must take into consideration the manner of life, and the habits in a remote age, so different from our Women of the highest rank were employed in occupations which would appear mean and degrading in these latter ages of delicacy and refinement. They not only laboured at the loom and distaff, but likewise performed many


offices which, according to our European ideas, are more suitable to men. They fetched water from the well, as we find Rebecca did, (Gen. xxiv. 15,) and as is still practised, at the present day, in the East.-(Burder's Oriental Customs, No. 32.) It was their business to grind corn, (Exod. xi. 5; Matt. xxiv. 41,) and, in some cases, to tend the flocks and herds. Thus, Rachel kept her father's sheep; (Gen. xxix. 9;) and the seven daughters of Jethro, a prince and priest of Midian, kept their father's flocks, and used to draw water for them. (Exod. ii. 16.) Every thing, indeed, relating to agriculture and pasturage was accounted of great importance, and highly honourable among the Israelites. Hence the virtuous wife is here represented as attending to her husband's interests in these respects. "She considereth a field," she maturely weighs its value," and buyeth it," if it be an advantageous purchase; "with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard," with the price of her manufactures (verse 24) she causeth a vineyard to be planted. This is similar to what is still practised in Abyssinia." Most of the laborious occupations, both abroad and at home, devolve upon the women; such as grinding the corn, bringing in wood and water, cultivating the ground, and picking herbs for the consumption of the day."-(Salt's Narrative in Lord Valentia's Travels, vol. ii. ch. 11, 8vo. edit.) A passage quoted by Schultens from Columella forms a good comment upon this place: "Apud Græcos, et mox apud Romanos, usque in Patrum nostrorum memoriam, fere domesticus labor matronalis fuit, &c. Erat enim summa reverentia, cum concordia et diligentia mista, flagrabatque mulier pulcherrima æmulatione, studens negotia viri cura sua majora et meliora reddere," &c.-Præf. l. 12, de Re Rustica.

17. She girdeth her loins with strength]—The loins are sometimes put, metaphorically, for strength, Ps. Ixix. 24;

Isa. xlv. 1: (see Glassii Phil. Sac. p. 1157:) hence "to gird the loins" is a phrase denoting to prepare and nerve the body for any strenuous labour or exercise.-(1 Kings, xviii. 46; 2 Kings, iv. 29; Job, xxxviii. 3; Jer. i. 17. Compare Ps. xviii. 39.) The expression is drawn from the loose, flowing garments of the ancients, which required to be girded close, before beginning any active or laborious office. The sense then is, She uses every means to acquire strength and activity of body, which she assiduously exercises in her various works.

18. She perceiveth, &c.]-She perceives that the traffic in the produce of her labours is advantageous.

- Her lamp, &c.]-This is well illustrated by Parkhurst, by a passage which he quotes from Monsieur de Guys' Sentimental Journey through Greece: "Embroidery is the constant employment of the Greek women. Those who follow it for a living are employed in it from morning to night, as are also their daughters and slaves. This is a picture of the industrious wife, painted after nature, by Virgil. I have a living portrait of the same kind constantly before my eyes. The lamp of a pretty neighbour of mine, who follows that trade, is always lighted before day; and her young assistants are all at work betimes in the morning." The lines of Virgil alluded to are in Æn. viii. 1. 407.

"Prima quies medio jam noctis abacta

Curriculo expulerat somnum: cum fœmina primum
Cui tolerare colo vitam, tenuique Minerva,
Impositum cinerem et sopitos suscitat ignes,
Noctem addens operi, famulasque ad lumina longo
Exercet penso."-


19. to the spindle]-The words and nowhere else in this sense, though they are, no doubt, names of instruments used by the ancient Hebrews in the spinning

of wool; "but what cannot be precisely ascertained,” as Parkhurst observes, "without knowing the structure of the ancient spinning instruments."

20. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, &c.]-Though she is industrious and attentive, she is not of a sordid disposition, but is withal charitable and bountiful to the poor.

21. double garments]-The garments here mentioned are such as are a defence from the cold: the authorized version, then," are clothed with scarlet," is evidently improper, as a scarlet colour is no more protection against cold than any other. It is, therefore, better to render w "double garments," with LXX, Vulgate, E. T. Marg. Tig. J. Trem. Geier, Gatak, Pisc. Tayl. Houb. Le Clerc, Michal. Dur. Hodgs. Dathe, though the word has nowhere else this signification. See Gataker, Adver. ch. lx.

22. coverings of tapestry]-See 7 explained ch. vii. 16, note.

linen]—Our translators have rendered ww by "silk;”, but this elegant article of luxury was, probably, unknown to the Jews of the age of Solomou. The silkworm was unknown beyond the territories of China, of which it is a native, till the reign of Justinian; (Gibbon's Roman Empire, ch. 40;). and, though silk had been introduced into Persia some centuries before, the opinion of the Rabbins, that the silk manufactures were known in the age of Moses, and even of Abraham, is not grounded upon any evidence of Scripture. Some think it means a material, like silk, of a bright yellow, which we see sometimes adhering, like a tuft, to a large kind of shellfish called pinnæ marinæ.-(Acad. des Scienc. ann. 1712, M. p. 204.) Others suppose that it signifies a kind of fine flax, which grew in Egypt or Judæa.-(Bochart, Phaleg. lib. iii. cap. 4.) Others again take it to mean cotton.

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