1King Lemuel’s # 31:1 Jewish legend is that King Lemuel was a pseudonym for Solomon, which would make his mother mentioned here to be Bathsheba. There is no other mention of Lemuel in the Scriptures. The Hebrew word translated “inspired words” is massa, which some have surmised was a place, meaning “Lemuel, King of Massa.” royal words of wisdom:
These are the inspired words my mother taught me. # 31:1 The Septuagint is “These are words spoken by God, and through a king came an answer divine.”
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! # 31:3 As translated from the Septuagint.
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 them 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. # 31:9 See James 1:27.
The Radiant Bride
10Who could ever find a wife like this one # 31:10 Starting with verse 10 through the end of the book, we have a Hebrew acrostic poem. It is alphabetical in structure, with each of the twenty-two verses beginning with a consecutive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The implication is that the perfections of this woman would exhaust the entire language. The subject is the perfect bride, the virtuous woman. This woman is both a picture of a virtuous wife and an incredible allegory of the end-time victorious bride of Jesus Christ, full of virtue and grace. —
she is a woman of strength and mighty valor! # 31:10 The Hebrew word used to describe this virtuous wife is khayil. The meaning of this word cannot be contained by one English equivalent word. It is often used in connection with military prowess. This is a warring wife. Khayil can be translated “mighty;” “wealthy;” “excellent;” “morally righteous;” “full of substance, integrity, abilities, and strength;” “mighty like an army.” The wife is a metaphor for the last-days church, the virtuous, overcoming bride of Jesus Christ. The word khayil is most often used to describe valiant men. See Ex. 18:21, where it is used for the mighty ones Moses was to commission as elders and leaders among the people. Because many of the cultural terms and metaphors used in this passage are not understood or even used in today’s English-speaking world, this translation makes them explicit.
She’s full of wealth and wisdom.
The price paid for her was greater # 31:10 Or “her worth.” The price paid for her was the sacred blood of the Lamb of God, her Bridegroom. than many jewels.
11Her husband has entrusted his heart to her, # 31:11 Or “has great confidence in her.”
for she brings him the rich spoils of victory.
12All throughout her life she brings him what is good and not evil. # 31:12 The virtuous bride will not bring disgrace to his name. Jesus will not be ashamed to display her to the world.
13She searches out continually to possess
that which is pure and righteous. # 31:13 Or “wool and linen [flax].” Wool is a metaphor often used as a symbol of what is pure. See Isa. 1:18; Dan. 7:9; Rev. 1:14. Linen was made from flax and always speaks of righteousness. The priests of the Old Testament wore linen garments as they went before God’s presence to offer sacrifices. The curtains of the tabernacle were likewise made of linen, signifying God’s righteousness. See Ex. 28:39–43 and Rev. 19:8. The virtuous bride of Christ in the last days will be seeking for only what is pure and righteous in the eyes of her Bridegroom.
She delights in the work of her hands. # 31:13 Or “eagerly works with her hands.” The hands, with their five fingers, speak of the five ministries of the present work of Christ on the earth: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These are often referred to as the five-fold ministries. Her delight is to equip others and help those in need.
14She gives out revelation-truth # 31:14 Or “bread.” This is a consistent emblem of spiritual food. to feed others.
She is like a trading ship bringing divine supplies # 31:14 Or “supplies from far away.” The implication is that the supplies come from another realm. She is bringing heavenly manna for those she feeds.
from the merchant. # 31:14 Or “like merchant ships bringing goods.” Like a ship loaded with cargo, the bride of Christ brings heavenly treasures to others. The use of the term merchant points to Jesus Christ. He is described as a merchant in Matt. 13:45 in the parable of the extraordinary pearl. The “pearl” is the church or the believer, which cost all that Jesus had (his blood) to purchase us.
15Even in the night season # 31:15 She is interceding in the night, laboring in a night season to help others. she arises # 31:15 The Hebrew word translated “arise” can also mean “to rise up in power.” We are told to “rise up in splendor and be radiant, for your light has dawned” in Isa. 60:1, which uses the same Hebrew word for “arise.” The bride of Christ will arise with anointing to feed and bless the people of God. and sets food on the table
for hungry ones in her house and for others. # 31:15 Or “female servants.” The servants are a metaphor for other churches and ministries.
16She sets her heart upon a field # 31:16 Or “a land” or “a country.” and takes it as her own.
She labors there to plant the living vines. # 31:16 Or “By the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” (The Septuagint is “possession.”) For “hands,” see the second footnote for v. 13. This vineyard becomes a metaphor for the local church. We are the branches of the Vine (Christ). See John 15:1–8. She is passionate about bringing forth fruit. She becomes a missionary to the nations, planting churches and bringing new life.
17She wraps herself in strength, # 31:17 Or “She girds her loins with strength and makes her shoulders strong.” This is a figure of speech for being anointed with power to do the works of Jesus. See John 14:12. might, and power in all her works.
18She tastes and experiences a better substance, # 31:18 Or “good merchandise.”
and her shining light will not be extinguished,
no matter how dark the night. # 31:18 Her prayer life (“light”) overcomes her circumstances, even in a culture where darkness prevails.
19She stretches out her hands to help the needy # 31:19 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew uses a term for “distaff” (a weaver’s staff), which is taken from a root word for “prosperity.” The poetic nuance of this phrase is that she uses her prosperity to bless the needy.
and she lays hold of the wheels of government. # 31:19 Or “Her hands grasp the spindle.” The word translated as “spindle” can also mean “governmental circuits” or “wheels.” There is a hint here of the wheels mentioned in Ezek. 1. The throne of God’s government sits on flaming wheels. See Dan. 7:9.
20She is known by her extravagant generosity to the poor,
for she always reaches out her hands # 31:20 Notice the mention of her hands. See the second footnote for v. 13. to those in need.
21She is not afraid of tribulation, # 31:21 Or “snow.” This is a figure of speech for the fear of a cold winter season.
for all her household is covered in the dual garments # 31:21 As translated from the Septuagint. The Hebrew is “everyone is covered in scarlet [blood].” Grace has brought righteousness to those in her house (under her ministry).
of righteousness and grace.
22Her clothing is beautifully knit together # 31:22 This clothing speaks of the ministries of the body of Christ, woven and knit together by the Holy Spirit. See Eph. 4:15–16 and Col. 2:2. —
a purple gown of exquisite linen.
23Her husband is famous and admired by all,
sitting as the venerable judge of his people. # 31:23 Or “sitting at the city gates among the elders of the land.” Judgment was rendered at the gates of a city in that day. It was their courtroom. Our heavenly King is also the Judge. So famous, so glorious, yet he is our Bridegroom.
24Even her works of righteousness # 31:24 Or “linen.” See the second footnote for v. 13 regarding linen as a symbol for righteousness.
she does # 31:24 Or “sells them.” The root word for “sell” can also mean “surrender.” for the benefit of her enemies. # 31:24 Or “aprons or belts for the Canaanites.” The Canaanites were the traditional enemies of the Hebrews.
25Bold power and glorious majesty # 31:25 Or “Beauty, honor, and excellence.” are wrapped around her
as she laughs with joy over the latter days. # 31:25 The virtuous and victorious bride has no fear for the days to come. She contemplates eternity and her forever union with the Bridegroom.
26Her teachings are filled with wisdom and kindness
as loving instruction pours from her lips. # 31:26 The Septuagint is “she opens her mouth carefully and lawfully.”
27She watches over the ways of her household # 31:27 Or “She is a watchman over her house [family].”
and meets every need they have.
28Her sons and daughters arise # 31:28 The Hebrew word translated “arise” can also mean “to rise up with power.” The Septuagint is “She raises her children so they will grow rich.” in one accord to extol her virtues, # 31:28 Or “Hooray, hooray for our mother!”
and her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms. # 31:28 For more of how the heavenly Bridegroom loves his bride, read the Song of Songs.
29“There are many valiant and noble ones, # 31:29 Or “Many daughters have obtained wealth because of her.” These valiant and noble ones (daughters) represent the church of previous generations who remained faithful in their pursuit of Jesus. But this final generation will be the bridal company of the lovers of God who do mighty exploits and miracles on the earth.
but you have ascended above them all!” # 31:29 Or “you are first in his eyes.” See Song. 6:8–9.
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! # 31:31 The Septuagint could be translated “her husband is praised at the city gates.”