1King Lemuel’s royal words of wisdom:
These are the inspired words my mother taught me.
2Listen, my dear son, son of my womb.
You are the answer to my prayers, my son.
3So keep yourself sexually pure
from the promiscuous, wayward woman.
Don’t waste the strength of your anointing
on those who ruin kings—
you’ll live to regret it!
4For you are a king, Lemuel,
and it’s never fitting for a king to be drunk on wine
or for rulers to crave alcohol.
5For when they drink they forget justice
and ignore the rights of those in need,
those who depend on you for leadership.
6-7Strong drink is given to the terminally ill,
who are suffering at the brink of death.
Wine is for those in depression
in order to drown their sorrows.
Let them drink and forget their poverty and misery.
8But you are to be a king who speaks up on behalf
of the disenfranchised
and pleads for the legal rights of the defenseless
and those who are dying.
9Be a righteous king, judging on behalf of the poor
and interceding for those most in need.
The Radiant Bride
10Who could ever find a wife like this one—
she is a woman of strength and mighty valor!
She’s full of wealth and wisdom.
The price paid for her was greater than many jewels.
11Her husband has entrusted his heart to her,
for she brings him the rich spoils of victory.
12All throughout her life she brings him what is good and not evil.
13She searches out continually to possess
that which is pure and righteous.
She delights in the work of her hands.
14She gives out revelation-truth to feed others.
She is like a trading ship bringing divine supplies
from the merchant.
15Even in the night season she arises and sets food on the table
for hungry ones in her house and for others.
16She sets her heart upon a nation and takes it as her own,
carrying it within her.
She labors there to plant the living vines.
17She wraps herself in strength, might, and power in all her works.
18She tastes and experiences a better substance,
and her shining light will not be extinguished,
no matter how dark the night.
19She stretches out her hands to help the needy
and she lays hold of the wheels of government.
20She is known by her extravagant generosity to the poor,
for she always reaches out her hands to those in need.
21She is not afraid of tribulation,
for all her household is covered in the dual garments
of righteousness and grace.
22Her clothing is beautifully knit together—
a purple gown of exquisite linen.
23Her husband is famous and admired by all,
sitting as the venerable judge of his people.
24Even her works of righteousness
she does for the benefit of her enemies.
25Bold power and glorious majesty are wrapped around her
as she laughs with joy over the latter days.
26Her teachings are filled with wisdom and kindness
as loving instruction pours from her lips.
27She watches over the ways of her household
and meets every need they have.
28Her sons and daughters arise in one accord to extol her virtues,
and her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms.
29“There are many valiant and noble ones,
but you have ascended above them all!”
30Charm can be misleading,
and beauty is vain and so quickly fades,
but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe,
and fear of the Lord.
She will be praised throughout eternity.
31So go ahead and give her the credit that is due,
for she has become a radiant woman,
and all her loving works of righteousness deserve to be admired
at the gateways of every city!