1. On the title of this, the sixth part of the
book, see Introduction.
prophecy—(See on Pr
2. What, my son?—that is, What shall I
say? Repetitions denote earnestness.
son of my womb—as our phrase, "my own
son," a term of special affection.
son of my vows—as one dedicated to
God; so the word "Lemuel" may mean.
3-9. Succinct but solemn warnings against
vices to which kings are peculiarly tempted, as carnal pleasures and
oppressive and unrighteous government are used to sustain sensual
strength—mental and bodily resources
for health and comfort.
thy ways—or course of life.
to that … kings—literally, "to
the destroying of kings," avoid destructive pleasures (compare Pr
5:9; 7:22, 27; Ho 4:11).
4, 5. Stimulants enfeeble reason, pervert the
heart, and do not suit rulers, who need clear and steady minds, and
well-governed affections (compare Pr 20:1; 22:29).
pervert … afflicted—They give
unrighteous decisions against the poor.
6, 7. The proper use of such drinks is to
restore tone to feeble bodies and depressed minds (compare Ps 104:15).
8, 9. Open … cause—Plead for those
who cannot plead for themselves, as the orphan, stranger, &c.
(compare Ps 72:12; Isa 1:17).
appointed to destruction—who are
otherwise ruined by their oppressors (compare Pr 29:14, 16).
10-31. This exquisite picture of a truly
lovely wife is conceived and drawn in accordance with the customs of
Eastern nations, but its moral teachings suit all climes. In
Hebrew the verses begin with the letters of the Hebrew
alphabet in order (compare Introduction to
Who … woman—The question implies
that such are rare, though not entirely wanting (compare Pr 18:22;
virtuous—literally, "of strength,"
that is, moral courage (compare Pr 12:4; Ru 3:11).
her price, &c.—(compare Pr 3:15).
11. heart … trust in her—He relies
on her prudence and skill.
no need of spoil—does not lack profit
or gain, especially, that obtained by the risk of war.
12. do … good—contribute good to
13, 14. Ancient women of rank thus wrought
with their hands; and such, indeed, were the customs of Western women a
few centuries since. In the East also, the fabrics were articles of
15. She diligently attends to expending as
well as gathering wealth;
16. and hence has means to purchase
17, 18. To energy she adds a watchfulness in
bargains, and a protracted and painful industry. The last clause may
figuratively denote that her prosperity (compare Pr 24:20) is not short lived.
19. No work, however mean, if honest, is
20. Industry enables her to be charitable.
21. scarlet—or, "purple," by reason of
the dyes used, the best fabrics; as a matter of taste also; the color
22. coverings of tapestry—or,
"coverlets," that is, for beds.
silk—or, "linen" (compare Ex 26:1; 27:9)
and purple—that is, the most costly
23. in the gates—(compare Pr 22:22). His domestic comfort promotes his
advancement in public dignity.
24. fine linen—or, "linen shirts," or
the material for them.
girdles—were often costly and highly
valued (2Sa 18:11).
delivereth—or, "giveth as a present"
or "to sell."
25. Strength and honour—Strong
and beautiful is her clothing; or, figuratively, for moral
character, vigorous and honorable.
shall rejoice … come—in
confidence of certain maintenance.
26. Her conversation is wise and gentle.
27. (Compare 1Ti 5:14; Tit 2:5). She adds to her example a wise
management of those under her control.
28. She is honored by those who best know
29. The words are those of her husband,
virtuously—(Compare Pr 31:10).
30. Favour—or, "Grace" of personal
beauty—of face, or form (compare Pr 11:22). True piety alone commands
permanent respect and affection (1Pe 3:3).
31. The result of her labor is her best
eulogy. Nothing can add to the simple beauty of this admirable
portrait. On the measure of its realization in the daughters of our own
day rest untold results, in the domestic, and, therefore, the civil and
religious, welfare of the people.