She layeth her hands to the spindle
As Penelope and her maidens did F20. Or spinning wheel, more properly, the wheel itself, which is laid hold on by the right hand, and turned round; and her hands hold the distaff;
the rock, stick, or staff, about which the wool is wrapped, which is spun, and is held in the left hand; for though hands are mentioned in both clauses, yet it is only with one hand the wheel is turned, and the distaff held with the other. Not only wool and flax were sought by her, ( Proverbs 31:13 ) ; but she spins them, and works them up into garments her web is not like the spider's, spun out of its own bowels, on which it hangs; to which the hope and trust of a hypocrite are compared, and whose webs do not become garments to cover them, ( Job 8:14 ) ( Isaiah 59:5 Isaiah 59:6 ) ; but the church's web is both for ornament, to the adorning of her profession, and for defence and protection from the calumnies of the world; for by these are meant good works, as Ambrose interprets them.
F20 Homer, Odyss. 1. v. 357. & 21. v. 351.