The Sayings of King Lemuel
1The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message,*31:1 Or of Lemuel, king of Massa; or of King Lemuel, an oracle. which his mother taught him.
2O my son, O son of my womb,
O son of my vows,
3do not waste your strength on women,
on those who ruin kings.
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.
Rulers should not crave alcohol.
5For if they drink, they may forget the law
and not give justice to the oppressed.
6Alcohol is for the dying,
and wine for those in bitter distress.
7Let them drink to forget their poverty
and remember their troubles no more.
8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
A Wife of Noble Character
10*31:10 Verses 10-31 comprise a Hebrew acrostic poem; each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
11Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
12She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She finds wool and flax
and busily spins it.
14She is like a merchant’s ship,
bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
16She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She is energetic and strong,
a hard worker.
18She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
her lamp burns late into the night.
19Her hands are busy spinning thread,
her fingers twisting fiber.
20She extends a helping hand to the poor
and opens her arms to the needy.
21She has no fear of winter for her household,
for everyone has warm*31:21 As in Greek and Latin versions; Hebrew reads scarlet. clothes.
22She makes her own bedspreads.
She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
23Her husband is well known at the city gates,
where he sits with the other civic leaders.
24She makes belted linen garments
and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
26When she speaks, her words are wise,
and she gives instructions with kindness.
27She carefully watches everything in her household
and suffers nothing from laziness.
28Her children stand and bless her.
Her husband praises her:
29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
but you surpass them all!”
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
31Reward her for all she has done.
Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.