Lesson 9 – THE HARLOT’S WARDROBE
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart (Pro. 7:10).
According to the reading, this woman had the attire of a harlot, which was gaudy and flaunting to set off her beauty so that she might trap the unwary, void of understanding (Prov. 7:7). Perhaps she was painted like Jezebel or she may even have gone with her shoulders and bosom bare—showing “just the right amount of cleavage” for appeal. She does not seem to be a common harlot; because she was, according to her own testimony, a married woman, and kept house (Pro. 7:19). Whether her claims were true or false, they were calculated to prevent any suspicion that her lovers were cohabiting with a common harlot. Either way we see she was subtle of heart. In stark contrast, purity of heart will show itself in modesty which becomes women professing godliness; however, this woman had no semblance of purity (1 Tim. 2:10).
Common harlots were seen sitting in some open place with a covering over the faces, or having a veil of a peculiar kind on the face and head—probably to conceal their identities. The veil appears to be accepted evidence of such women (Gen. 38:14-19). No doubt, in Solomon’s time, they had other distinctions. In all other countries, and in all times, the apparel they wore testified against them. Like the Sodomites, they declared their sin and did not hide it.
Even today, we know that merchants use display to sell. If we pass by a public showcase, we know exactly what is being sold, because the salesmen wants to attract the attention of every passer-by. Cars will be parked in advantageous positions for optimal sales. Fruit will be placed on stands for beauty and appeal. Even so we see such demonstrations when we meet a woman on the street who has given special care to every detail of dress—accenting what appeals to fleshly desires. Every hindrance will be removed for the viewer to be entrapped. One newspaper columnist has fittingly referred to these women as “the sausage girls.” You do not have to be told what they are selling. You do not have to ask to know they have one goal in mind.
Christian women should have a different attitude, different attire and a different attraction:
“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet. 3:3-4).
Unlike the woman of the street, a good woman will desire to advertise godly merchandise. Her display will be godliness and sobriety, not lustful enticements.
- What kind of person does Solomon’s harlot seek ( 7:7)?
- Where does she refuse to stay ( 7:11)?
- What does she provide to attract her prey ( 7:16-17)?
- How does she assure her ‘guest’ that he will not pay for his pleasure ( 7:19-20)?
- Though she tries to appear to be someone honorable, what clothes does she wear ( 7:10)?
- What kind of person does the harlot seek ( 7:21)?
- What lies in wait for him though he does not know it ( 7:22-23)?
- Though her house may be beautiful, where does she in fact live ( 7:27)?
- What should be the attraction a woman has toward others (1 Pet. 3:3-4)?
- What other things should a woman have to attract others (1 Tim. 2:10)?
- RESEARCH QUESTION: During the period when Israel made alliances with other nations and worshipped other gods, what comparison was often made between her actions and those of a harlot? You will need to read several scriptures to get a full picture of this comparison. -Beth Johnson