John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary

Verse 9 (1 Timothy 2:9)

In like manner also ,.... Let the women pray likewise; though they are not to lead in prayer, or be the mouth of the church, which would be indecent, yet they are to join with the church in public prayer; see Acts 1:14 and in like manner as the men, with purity of heart and hand, without murmuring and impatience towards God, and without wrath and anger towards others, and in faith, without doubting and distrust: and the apostle proceeds to point out what sort of dress he would have them appear in at the time of prayer, and at any part of public worship; and thus the Ethiopic version renders it, "so let the women be clothed in prayer", namely, as follows;

that women adorn themselves in modest apparel : the word rendered "apparel" signifies a long robe, which reaches down to the feet; and the word translated "modest" signifies that which is clean, neat, and decent, yea, beautiful and ornamental; and the sense of the apostle is, that he would not have them to come to public worship in rags, and in dirty and filthy garments, but that their bodies should be covered with clean and decent raiment; so the Israelites washed their clothes that they might be ready to meet the Lord at Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:14 . The Jews always appeared in their best clothes on the sabbath day; this is one of their rules: F14 Maimon. Hilch. Subbat. c. 30. sect. 3. .

"for the honour of the sabbath, every man must be clothed, כסות נקייה , "with clean or neat apparel" and clothing on the weekday must not be as clothing on the sabbath day; and if a man can make no change, he must let down his talith (or upper garment, his cloak); so that his clothing may not be as the clothing of the weekdays, when that was girt up about him.'

The apostle adds,

with shamefacedness and sobriety : these are the two general rules by which dress is to be regulated; it is right and proper, when it is consistent with chastity, when it is not immodest and impudent, and more like the attire of an harlot than of a woman professing godliness; and when it is moderate as well as modest, and suitable to a person's age and station, and is not beyond the circumstances of life in which they are. There is no religion or irreligion in dress, provided pride and luxury are guarded against, and modesty and moderation preserved.

Not with broidered hair , or plaited, as in 1 Peter 3:3 ; see Gill on 1 Peter 3:3 . The Jews had women on purpose for this business; Mary Magdalene is thought to have her name from hence; See Gill on Matthew 27:56 . Or gold, or pearls, or costly array: not that the apostle forbids all use or wear of such things by proper persons, whose circumstances would admit of it, and upon proper occasions, and at proper times: certain it is, that earrings and bracelets of gold, and jewels set in silver and gold, and raiment, costly raiment, were sent by Abraham, and given to Rebekah, and wore by her, who was a woman professing godliness so the church in Psalm 45:9 though in figurative expressions, yet in allusion to what is literal, and honourable, and commendable, is said to be in gold of Ophir, and her clothing to be of wrought gold, and to be brought to the king in raiment of needlework: but however justifiable such a dress may be at other seasons, the apostle judged it very improper at the time of public prayer, or at the time of public worship; seeing it might swell the heart of the wearer with pride, so as to forget herself and the business she was come about, and draw the eyes of others upon her; and so cause a general inattention. It was a complaint of Chrysostom's many hundreds of years ago, that some who came to public worship, appeared in such a dress, as if they came rather to dance than to pray; such apparel should be avoided: it is said of Pythagoras F15 Justin. ex Trogo. l. 20. c. 4. , that he taught the inhabitants of Crotona, the men literature, and the women chastity and modesty; and by his disputations so far prevailed upon the latter, as to lay aside their garments of gold and other ornaments of their dignity, as instruments of luxury; all which they brought into the temple of Juno, and dedicated them to that goddess; declaring, that shamefacedness or chastity, and not garments, are the true ornaments of matrons.

- John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary