The Oracle of King Lemuel
1The words of Lemuel, the king—an oracle
that his mother taught him:
2What, my son? And what, my son in my womb?
And what, son of my vows?
3Do not give your strength to the women,
and your ways to destroy kings.
4It is not for the kings, O Lemuel;
drinking wine is not for the kings,
nor is strong drink for rulers.
5Or else he will drink and forget what has been decreed,
and he will pervert the rights#Hebrew “right” of all the afflicted.#Literally “sons of affliction”
6Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress.#Literally “to bitterness of soul”
7He will drink and forget his poverty,
and his misery he will not remember any more.
8Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights#Hebrew “right” of all the needy.#Literally “the sons of the needy”
9Open your mouth, judge righteousness,
and defend the poor and needy.
An Excellent Woman#Prov 31:10–31 is an acrostic poem
10A woman#Or “wife” of excellence,#Or “strength,” or “valor,” or “ability,” or “efficiency” who will find?
For her worth is far more than precious jewels.
11The heart of her husband#Or “lord” trusts in her,
and gain he will not lack.
12She does him good, but not harm
all the days of her life.
13She seeks wool and flax,
and she works with the diligence of her hands.#Literally “her palms”
14She is like the ships of a merchant;
from far off she brings her food;#Or “bread”
15And she arises while it is still night,
and gives food to her household,
and tasks to her servant girls.
16She considers a field and buys it,
from the fruit of her hand#Literally “her palm” she plants a vineyard.
17She girds her waist in strength,
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is good;
her lamp does not go out in the night.
19Her hands she puts onto the distaff,#A stick or spindle onto which wool or flax is wound in preparation for spinning
and her palms hold a spindle.
20Her palm she opens to the poor,
and her hand she reaches out to the needy.
21She does not fear for her house when it snows,
for her entire household#Literally “all her house, household” is clothed in crimson.
22She makes for herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband#Or “lord” is known at the gates,
in his seat among the elders of the land.
24Linen garments she makes and sells,
and she supplies sashes for the merchants.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the future.#Literally “to the day/time coming after”
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and instruction of kindness is upon her tongue.
27She looks after the ways of her household,
and the bread of idleness she will not eat.
28Her children rise and consider her happy,
her husband#Or “lord” also, and he praises her;
29“Many daughters have done excellence,#Or “strength,” or “valor,” or “ability,” or “efficiency”
but you surpass#Literally “you ascend over” all of them.”
30Charm#Hebrew “The charm” is deceit and beauty#Hebrew “the beauty” is vain;#Or “vapor,” or “emptiness,” or “breath”
but a woman who fears Yahweh shall be praised.
31Give to her from the fruit of her hand,
and may they praise her works in the city gates.