World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
31. Sayings of King Lemuel
1The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him.
2What, my son? and what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?
3Give not thy strength unto women,
Nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine;
Nor for princes to say, Where is strong drink?
5Lest they drink, and forget the law,
And pervert the justice due to any that is afflicted.
6Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish,
And wine unto the bitter in soul:
7Let him drink, and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.
8Open thy mouth for the dumb,
In the cause of all such as are left desolate.
9Open thy mouth, judge righteously,
And minister justice to the poor and needy.
10A worthy woman who can find?
For her price is far above rubies.
11The heart of her husband trusteth in her,
And he shall have no lack of gain.
12She doeth him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13She seeketh wool and flax,
And worketh willingly with her hands.
14She is like the merchant-ships;
She bringeth her bread from afar.
15She riseth also while it is yet night,
And giveth food to her household,
And their task to her maidens.
16She considereth a field, and buyeth it;
With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17She girdeth her loins with strength,
And maketh strong her arms.
18She perceiveth that her merchandise is profitable:
Her lamp goeth not out by night.
19She layeth her hands to the distaff,
And her hands hold the spindle.
20She stretcheth out her hand to the poor;
Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of the snow for her household;
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22She maketh for herself carpets of tapestry;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24She maketh linen garments and selleth them,
And delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing;
And she laugheth at the time to come.
26She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
And the law of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looketh well to the ways of her household,
And eateth not the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up, and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying:
29Many daughters have done worthily,
But thou excellest them all.
30Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain;
But a woman that feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands;
And let her works praise her in the gates.
1. On the title of this, the sixth part of the book, see Introduction.
prophecy—(See on Pr 30:1).
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 indulgence.
strength—mental and bodily resources for health and comfort.
thy ways—or course of life.
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).
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 Poetical Books).
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 him.
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 merchandise.
15. She diligently attends to expending as well as gathering wealth;
16. and hence has means to purchase property.
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 disdained.
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 suits cold.
22. coverings of tapestry—or, "coverlets," that is, for beds.
and purple—that is, the most costly goods.
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.
28. She is honored by those who best know her.
29. The words are those of her husband, praising her.
virtuously—(Compare Pr 31:10).
30. Favour—or, "Grace" of personal manner.
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.