Wisdom of King Lemuel

The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

2 What, my son? and what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows?

3 Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

[From the rest of the book we know this is meaning immoral women; also, to whatever ways that can destroy kings or leaders  -  Keith Hunt]

4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink;

5 Lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted.

[The context gives the whole picture about wine and intoxicating drinks…. those who are “given to it” without control, will destroy their leadership abilities and they will fall into forgetting the good law, and will not govern with justice over those who need justice. I personally have witnessed someone who was a good individual, even professing to be a Christian, slowly get hooked on wine and strong drink; I and others tried to shown them their folly, they put it away for a while, but then went back to it; being consumed by alcohol it finally destroyed their inner organs and blood, and they died at age 45  -  Keith Hunt]  

6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who, are bitter of heart.

7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

[One of the benefits of strong drink and wine; can be used under the situation here mentioned, but not getting drunk. The Bible does not condemn the use of strong drink and wine in moderation; the Bible does condemn being an alcoholic and a drunkard….making it very plain that such will not inherit the Kingdom of God. CONCERNING the subject of WINE and ALCOHOL,  and what the Bible teaches on the subject, there is a full in-depth study on this topic on this website  -  Keith Hunt]

8 Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.

9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

[The king, the judge, the leader, is to be the promoter of what is right and good. They are to judge in righteousness; and defend the cause of the those who are truly poor and needy from no fault of their own  -  Keith Hunt]  


From  the  New  KJV  Study  Bible

31:1-9 Wise words of King Lemuel, who is unknown outside of v. 1 (see also note on 30:1-33).

31:2-7 The proverbial warning for the king to keep away from wine and women.   

31:5 Law and justice are perverted in the hands of officials given to drink.

31:6, 7 The appropriate use of strong drink and wine was for the alleviation of suffering.

31:8, 9 The purpose of the king is to promote justice and equity.


A Virtuous Wife and Mother

10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 

11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; 

12 So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil,

13 All the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. 

14 She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. 

15 She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants. 

16 She considers a field and buys it; 

17 From her profits she plants a vineyard. 

18 She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her

merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 

19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.

20 She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet.

22 She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 

24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. 

25 Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. 

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. 

27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

29 Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who 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.



From  the  New  KJV  Study  Bible

31:10-31 It is significant that the Book of Proverbs ends with a description of a virtuous wife (v. 10). Throughout the book, but especially in the first 10 chapters, wisdom is pictured as a woman, and the young man is encouraged to "marry" himself to her.

But more literally, the young man is repeatedly told that the choice of a wife will be a determining influence on his life and career. If he finds a good woman and focuses his affections on her alone, he will find security, abundance, and satisfaction. Any other course is folly.

In this section the characteristics of the wise man's choice are identified. She is trustworthy (vv. 11, 12), industrious v. 13-15), resourceful (vv. 16-19), compassionate (v. 20), prudent (vv. 21-24), and well-spoken (v. 26). All of these are an expression of her obedience to God (v. 30). 

31:14 like the merchant ships: She is effective in seeking out and bringing home, food for the family.

31:17 strengthens her arms: In contrast to the lazy son, she is not afraid of hard work (see 10:4, 5 and note). 

31:18 In her trading she barters only what is good, and always acquires sufficient supplies, such as lamp oil, for the needs of the household.

31:19 distaff…spindle: Tools for spinning thread and thus providing clothes for the family. 31:21 The snow and cold of winter are not a threat to her family because she has clothed them in scarlet, representing the high quality of their clothing. 

31:30, 31 As the book opened with a call to the wise man (1:5) to fear the Lord (1:7), it closes with this beautiful description of the wise woman who also fears the Lord (v. 30). When a man and woman together base their lives on loving obedience to God, and give their affections completely to each other, stability, harmony, and fruitfulness result, not only for themselves, but for those around them.



Keith Hunt