Proverbs 7:10-12

Proverbs 7:10-12 "And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)"
Church Western New York
Our society is saturated with revealing clothes, especially for women but certainly not reserved to the more beautiful gender of our race.  Today, women wear very tight leggings, skirts, dresses and shirts that leave no room for the imagination.  In addition to tight clothing, “skin is in!”  This style reveals the body of the person wearing it.  Men and women whose bodies are in good shape like to wear clothes that reveal their body.  Men and women who think their bodies are beautiful typically choose styles that reveal their beauty to onlookers.  Any clothes chosen to reveal the body beneath them would be considered immodest clothes.  Modesty is much less about what you wear and much more about how you dress.  Pants can be modest as well as immodest depending on size and style.  Dresses can be modest as well as immodest depending on size, length and style.  Shirts can be modest as well as immodest depending on size and style.  Wearing clothes that leave no room for the imagination reveal your body, which draws attention to your body.  This attention feeds the flesh by producing vanity and pride in the wearer as well as by tempting lust and covetousness in the watcher.

That being said, ALL clothing is revealing.

ALL clothes and ALL styles are revealing.  Tight clothes do more than reveal your body.  Tight clothes REVEAL your heart.  Dirty and wrinkled clothes do more than reveal your lack of fashion.  Dirty and wrinkled clothes REVEAL your character.  Your choice of clothing REVEALS your character.  What you put on your body REVEALS who is inside your body.  What we wear reveals who we are.
 
In the professional world, what you wear reveals who you are.  If you’re a police officer, you reveal that profession by putting on a police uniform.  If you’re a nurse, you reveal that by putting on scrubs.  If you’re a member of the armed forces, you reveal that by putting on the military uniform.  If you’re a mechanic, you reveal that by putting on the shop-provided pants and shirt.  If you’re an accountant or banker, you reveal that by putting on formal business clothes.  Being considered a white-collar person or a blue-collar person is determined by what you wear Monday through Friday.

From a fashion standpoint, what you wear reveals who you are.  If you like to change your outfit multiple times a day, you’re revealing your love for variety.  If you prefer to wear the same general thing all the time, you’re revealing your love for consistency and simplicity.  If you’re like me and you prefer to wear loose clothing, you’re revealing that you prefer comfort over fashion.  If you’re still wearing what you wore thirty years ago, then you’re revealing that you’re either cheap, stubborn or easily contented.

We choose to identify ourselves by what we wear.  We choose to reveal who we are by how we dress.  It was no different in Middle Eastern Bible times.  Kings were identified by what they wore.  When a king wanted to go undetected, he had to disguise himself by wearing the clothing of the common man.  King Saul did this when he visited the witch at Endor in 1 Samuel 28.  King Ahab did this when he went to battle with the Syrians in 1 Kings 22.  King Josiah did this when he went to battle with the Egyptians in 2 Chronicles 35.  King Jeroboam’s wife intentionally had to wear different clothes in order to disguise her identity when visiting the prophet Ahijah in 1 Kings 14.  David’s daughters who were virgins revealed their royalty and more importantly, their morality by wearing colorful robes.  When Amnon stole Tamar’s virginity, she rent her colorful robe and no longer wore it (2 Samuel 13).  Her regular robe revealed her loss of virginity.  What we wear reveals who we are.  

In Solomon’s life lesson for Rehoboam, he described a young man meeting a woman “with the attire of an harlot” (verse 10).  Evidently, she was wearing something that was unique to prostitutes, which at the very least included wearing a vail over her face.  In Genesis 38, Judah’s daughter-in-law, Tamar disguised herself as a harlot.  The Bible describes the moment this way, “and she put her widow’s garments off from her (note: a widow was revealed by what she wore), and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place” (verse 14).  She changed her clothes in order to trick Judah into prostitution and ultimately, into giving her the children he had promised her.  Genesis 38:15 records the success of her wardrobe switch – “when Judah saw her, he thought her to be an harlot; because she had covered her face.”  Just as today, prostitutes then were identified by what they wore (and by where they stood on the street).  In Proverbs 7, Solomon didn’t identify this “strange woman” as a harlot; only as wearing “the attire of an harlot.” Given the proximity to his palace, his propensity for observation and the wisdom that God gave him, Solomon probably knew this woman and he knew her to be a married woman (verse 19), not a prostitute.  

Unlike our modern world, prostitutes in ancient days wore vails to hide their true identity so as to hide the shame associated with their lifestyle.  This adulteress’ vail may have hid her true identity to her young victim but it didn’t hide her character from her wise observer.  What we wear reveals who we are.  Solomon immediately attached a character description to her clothing description in verse 10, describing her as “subtil of heart.”  He would add in verse 11 that she was “loud and stubborn.”  Today, Solomon would be accused of being judgmental.  In our one-sided tolerant culture, Solomon would be condemned for being judgmental and sexist.  Given his wisdom however, Solomon knew that a person’s clothing reveals a person’s character.  Given his extensive observation and experience in life, Solomon knew that a person’s clothing style reveals a person’s character status.

In Proverbs 7, the emphasis isn’t on immodest clothing as much as it is on revealing clothing.  This woman wasn’t wearing “the attire of an harlot” to make money.  This woman was wearing “the attire of an harlot” to destroy men.  For the young man approaching this adulteress, what she wore probably revealed her body.  For the wise king observing this adulteress, what she wore clearly revealed her character.  Solomon took the liberty to identify her based on what she was wearing.  He didn’t identify her profession but he did identify her intention.  He didn’t identity her history but he did identify her morality.  As many of us are there are in the world, people are people.  As diverse as we are, human behavior is incredibly predictable.  Solomon knew the character of the type of person who would intentionally disguise herself as a prostitute.  He wasn’t sexist nor was he judgmental from a condemnation point of view.  He was wise.  This wise father was teaching his son to look at the facts and use them to identify threats to his spiritual success.  This wise father was teaching his son to be observant and use his eyes to identity danger to his moral purity.

What you wear reveals who you are.  Men, how she dresses reveals what type of woman she is.  Ladies, what he wears reveals what kind of man he is.  Young men, if she wears tight clothes, then she likes attention from men.  If she likes attention from men, she will always like attention from men – before and after marriage.  If she wears revealing clothing, she wants people to appreciate her body because she’s either desperate for affirmation or because she’s obsessed with herself.  In either case, she cares too much about herself.  Young ladies, if he wears tight shirts, he’s impressed with his muscles.  If he’s impressed with his muscles, he’s vain and proud.  If he wears dirty or wrinkled clothes, he’s lazy.  In all of these cases, choice of clothing reveals character flaws.  There is nothing more important than character when considering a potential mate.  Clothing certainly doesn’t reveal everything but it does reveal something substantial.  

Like it or not, what you put on your body REVEALS what is going on in your soul.  Everyone is wearing REVEALING CLOTHING.  
 
What do your clothes reveal to others?

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