The Words of Lemuel
1The words of King Lemuel,
a pronouncement#31:1 Or of Lemuel, king of Massa, or of King Lemuel, a burden#Pr 30:1 that his mother taught him:
2What should I say, my son?
What, son of my womb?#Is 49:15
What, son of my vows?
3Don’t spend your energy#Pr 5:9 on women
or your efforts on those who destroy kings.#Dt 17:17; 1Kg 11:1; Neh 13:26
4It is not for kings, Lemuel,
it is not for kings#1Kg 16:9; 20:16; Ec 10:17 to drink wine#Pr 20:1
or for rulers to desire beer.
5Otherwise, he will drink,
forget what is decreed,#Hs 4:11
and pervert justice for all the oppressed.#31:5 Lit sons of affliction#Ps 72:1–2; Is 28:7
6Give beer to one who is dying
and wine to one whose life is bitter.#Jb 3:20
7Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty
and remember his trouble no more.#Ps 104:15
8Speak up#31:8 Lit Open your mouth, also in v. 9 for those who have no voice,#31:8 Lit who are mute#Jb 29:12–17
for the justice of all who are dispossessed.#31:8 Lit all the sons of passing away
9Speak up, judge righteously,#Lv 19:15; Dt 1:16
and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.#Is 1:17; Jr 22:16
In Praise of a Wife of Noble Character
10Who can find a wife of noble character?#31:10 Or a wife of quality, or a capable wife#Ru 3:11; Pr 12:4; 18:22; 19:14
She is far more precious than jewels.#31:10 Vv. 10–31 form an acrostic.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will not lack anything good.
12She rewards him with good, not evil,
all the days of her life.
13She selects wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from far away.#1Kg 10:22
15She rises while it is still night#Pr 20:13
and provides food for her household
and portions#31:15 Or tasks for her female servants.#Pr 27:27; Lk 12:42
16She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings.#31:16 Or vineyard by her own labors#Mt 21:33
17She draws on her strength#31:17 Lit She wraps strength around her like a belt
and reveals that her arms are strong.#Pr 31:25
18She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night.#Mt 25:8
19She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle.#Pr 31:13
20Her hands reach#31:20 Lit Her hand reaches out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.#Dt 15:11; Pr 22:9; 31:9; Rm 12:13; Eph 4:28
21She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.#31:21 LXX, Vg; MT reads are dressed in scarlet
22She makes her own bed coverings;#Pr 7:16
her clothing is fine linen#Gn 41:42; Rv 19:8,14 and purple.#Jdg 8:26; Lk 16:19
23Her husband is known at the city gates,
where he sits among the elders of the land.#Ru 4:1–2; Pr 24:7; 31:31
24She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts#31:24 Or sashes to the merchants.
25Strength#Pr 31:17 and honor are her clothing,#1Tm 2:9–10
and she can laugh at the time to come.#Pr 31:21
26Her mouth speaks wisdom,
and loving instruction#31:26 Or and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She watches over the activities of her household#Pr 31:15
and is never idle.#31:27 Lit and does not eat the bread of idleness
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also praises her:
29“Many women#31:29 Lit daughters have done noble deeds,
but you surpass them all!” #Pr 12:4; 31:10; Sg 6:8–9
30Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,#1Pt 3:3–4
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
31Give her the reward of her labor,#31:31 Lit the fruit of her hands
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
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