- The words of Lemuel, king of Massa. The advice which his mother gave him:
- What, my son, my first-born! what, O son of my womb; what, O son of my vows!
- Give not your vigor to women, nor your strength to those who ruin kings.
- It is not for kings, O Lemuel, not for kings to drink wine; strong drink is not for princes!
- Lest in drinking they forget what the law decrees, and violate the rights of all who are in need.
- Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to the sorely depressed;
- When they drink, they will forget their misery, and think no more of their burdens.
- Open your mouth in behalf of the dumb, and for the rights of the destitute;
- Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor!
- When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.
- Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.
- 1 She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
- She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.
- 2 Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar.
- She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.
- She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
- She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms.
- 3 She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed.
- She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.
- She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.
- She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed.
- She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing.
- Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land.
- She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts.
- 4 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
- She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.
- She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness.
- Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her:
- "Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all."
- 5 Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
- Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.
Table of Contents Previous Chapter The Book of Ecclesiastes
Footnotes1 Good, and not evil: i.e., prosperity, not adversity.
2 Merchant: literally, "Canaanite" (cf Prov 31:24), probably because the merchant class had been composed chiefly of Canaanites.
3 Her lamp is undimmed: indicates abundance of productive work and its accompanying prosperity; cf Prov 20:20; Job 18:6.
4 Laughs at the days to come: anticipates the future with gladness free from anxiety.
5 The true charm of the ideal wife is her religious spirit, for she fears the LORD; cf note on Prov 1:7.
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