The Words of King Lemuel
1The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
2What are you doing, my son?#31:2 Hebrew What, my son? What are you doing, #Isa. 49:15 son of my womb?
What are you doing, #[1 Sam. 1:27]son of my vows?
3Do #[ch. 5:9] not give your strength to women,
your ways to those #[ch. 7:26; Deut. 17:17; 1 Kgs. 11:1; Neh. 13:26]who destroy kings.
Eccles. 10:17; [1 Kgs. 16:9; 20:16] It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings #[Hos. 4:11] to drink wine,
or for rulers to take #ch. 20:1strong drink,
5lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and #[Isa. 5:22, 23]pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6Give strong drink to the one who #Job 29:13 is perishing,
and wine to #Job 3:20those in bitter distress;#31:6 Hebrew those bitter in soul
7 # [Ps. 104:15] let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
Job 29:12, 15, 16; [Isa. 1:17] Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.#31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away
9Open your mouth, #Lev. 19:15; Deut. 1:16 judge righteously,
Jer. 22:16; [Isa. 1:17] defend the rights of #ver. 20; Ps. 40:17; 86:1the poor and needy.
The Woman Who Fears the Lord
10 # 31:10 Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet #ch. 12:4; Ruth 3:11; [ch. 18:22; 19:14] An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than #Job 28:18jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She #[ver. 21, 22, 24]seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15She #[ch. 20:13] rises while it is yet night
and #Luke 12:42; [Ps. 111:5]provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17She #[ver. 25]dresses herself#31:17 Hebrew She girds her loins with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20She #[Rom. 12:13; Eph. 4:28] opens her hand to #[ver. 9]the poor
and reaches out her hands to #[ver. 9]the needy.
21She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in #2 Sam. 1:24scarlet.#31:21 Or in double thickness
22She makes #ch. 7:16 bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is #Gen. 41:42; Rev. 19:8, 14 fine linen and #Judg. 8:26purple.
23Her husband is known in #See Ruth 4:1, 2the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes #Judg. 14:12; Isa. 3:23linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 # [ver. 17] Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29“Many #Song 6:9 women have done #[ver. 10]excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 # [ch. 11:16] Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.