Proverbs - 31:1-31

A Virtuous Woman

      1 The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him. 2 "Oh, my son! Oh, son of my womb! Oh, son of my vows! 3 Don't give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings. 4 It is not for kings, Lemuel; it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes to say, 'Where is strong drink?' 5 lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the justice due to anyone who is afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is ready to perish; and wine to the bitter in soul: 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. 8 Open your mouth for the mute, in the cause of all who are left desolate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and serve justice to the poor and needy." 10 Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her. He shall have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works eagerly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships. She brings her bread from afar. 15 She rises also while it is yet night, gives food to her household, and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field, and buys it. With the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard. 17 She arms her waist with strength, and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp doesn't go out by night. 19 She lays her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. 20 She opens her arms to the poor; yes, she extends her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes for herself carpets of tapestry. Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and delivers sashes to the merchant. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing. She laughs at the time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn't eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you excel them all." 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands! Let her works praise her in the gates!

Chapter In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Proverbs 31.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

See the introduction to Proverbs.

The words and prophecy of King Lemuel, and what his mother taught him, Proverbs 31:1, Proverbs 31:2. Debauchery and much wine to be avoided, Proverbs 31:3-7. How kings should administer justice, Proverbs 31:8, Proverbs 31:9. The praise of a virtuous woman and good housewife, in her economy, prudence, watchfulness, and assiduity in labor, vv. 10-29. Frailty of beauty, Proverbs 31:30, Proverbs 31:31.

This chapter contains the last part of the book of Proverbs; which some reckon the fifth, others the sixth. It contains the instructions of the mother of a prince, whose name was Lemuel, which she gave unto him; and which are so valuable, as to be annexed to the proverbs of Solomon. The preface or introduction to them is in Proverbs 31:1; the address to her son, Proverbs 31:2. The vices she cautions him against are uncleanness and intemperance; which she dissuades from, because of the pernicious consequences of both to kings and to their subjects, Proverbs 31:3. Advises rather to give wine and strong drink to poor people, such as are in distress; as being more useful to them, at least less prejudicial, Proverbs 31:6; and exhorts her son to the duties of his office; by pleading the cause of the poor and injured, and administering justice to them, Proverbs 31:8. And then at large describes a virtuous woman; perhaps designed as an instruction to her son in the choice of a wife, Proverbs 31:10; though more than that may be intended by it.

(Proverbs 31:1-9) An exhortation to king Lemuel to take heed of sin, and to do duties.
(v. 10-31) The description of a virtuous woman.

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