1 THE WORDS of Lemuel king of Massa, which his mother taught him:
2 What, my son? What, son of my womb? What [shall I advise you], son of my vows and dedication to God?
3 Give not your strength to [loose] women, nor your ways to those who and that which ruin and destroy kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink, [Eccl. 10:17; Hos. 4:11.]
5 Lest they drink and forget the law and what it decrees, and pervert the justice due any of the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away, and wine to him in bitter distress of heart.
7 Let him drink and forget his poverty and [seriously] remember his want and misery no more.
8 Open your mouth for the dumb [those unable to speak for themselves], for the rights of all who are left desolate and defenseless; [I Sam. 19:4; Esth. 4:16; Job 29:15, 16.]
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and administer justice for the poor and needy. [Lev. 19:15; Deut. 1:16; Job 29:12; Isa. 1:17; Jer. 22:16.]
10 A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman–who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. [Prov. 12:4; 18:22; 19:14.]
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.
12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
13 She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].
14 She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household's food from a far [country].
15 She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks. [Job 23:12.]
16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. [S. of Sol. 8:12.]
17 She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.
18 She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].
19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].
21 She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet. [Josh. 2:18, 19; Heb. 9:19-22.]
22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made]. [Isa. 61:10; I Tim. 2:9; Rev. 3:5; 19:8, 14.]
23 Her husband is known in the [city's] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. [Prov. 12:4.]
24 She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service].
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!
26 She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].
27 She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat. [I Tim. 5:14; Tit. 2:5.]
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying],
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.
30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]! [Phil. 4:8.]