God Rebukes the Women of Israel
“Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts. In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails. And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.” (Isaiah 3:16-24)
In this passage God reproved the women of Isaiah’s day, not only for how they dressed but also for how they carried themselves. We have seen in the New Testament that true modesty is first a matter of the heart, and that is evident in this Old Testament passage, as well.
1. These women were haughty (Isa. 3:16).
This is the very opposite of “shamefacedness” (1 Tim. 2:9). The modern fashion industry appeals to the pride of life and encourages women to cast off their natural feminine timidity, to be brazen and hard and proud.
2. They had “wanton eyes” (Isa. 3:16)
Wanton eyes describes the woman who walks after the lust of the eyes, who is sensual, who seeks to entrap men by her physical beauty. The Hebrew word translated “wanton” is used only in this verse, and it means “to ogle, i.e. blink coquettishly” (Strong). It refers to “making the eyes to glance about” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown). “Their eyes are wanton, deceiving (so the word is); with their amorous glances they draw men into their snares” (Matthew Henry).
“Wanton eyes” is the opposite of “shamefacedness and sobriety” (1 Tim. 2:9), the opposite of “discreet, chaste” (Titus 2:4, 5), the opposite of “a meek and quiet spirit” (1 Peter. 3:4).
3. They walked in a mincing manner (Isa. 3:16).
They walked so as to draw attention to themselves and to cause men to notice them. They walked in an enticing manner. They walked like Hollywood movie stars and fashion models.
4. They made a tinkling with their feet (Isa. 3:16).
It appears that they wore little bells or chains or ankle bracelets that would make a sound as they walked so as to more assuredly draw attention to themselves. They wore “tinkling ornaments about their feet” (Isa. 3:18). Modern fashion, too, uses many devices to draw attention to the wearer. This is done by the brazen cut of the clothes, by plunging necklines and short skirts and bare midriffs, or by teasing slits, or by taps on the shoes, or by very loud or clashing colors, or by high heels, or by tight calf-high boots, or by rips in the clothing, etc. It is also done by the immodest use of jewelry, cosmetics, and perfume.
5. They were devoted to every sort of fashion (Isa. 3:18-23).
The list of attire and ornaments described here is simply amazing. They had ornaments for their feet, their arms, their hands, their legs, their necks, their heads, their hair, their ears, their noses, you name it! Their hearts were obviously devoted to fashion of every sort, and they spent a large percentage of their time thinking about women’s fashion and shopping for fashion and adorning themselves in fashion, and showing themselves off.
This is the opposite of the exhortation of 1 Timothy 2:9-10, which says women are to adorn themselves modestly, “not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array,” and that of 1 Peter 3:3, which says the godly woman’s adorning should not be “that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.”