The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth 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 maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth 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.
Many words have been written about The Proverbs 31 Woman—so many things she does! Is she a model for proper homemaking, or tacit permission for womankind to be involved in a vast spectrum of life?
Whatever her talents and opportunities, she should take hold of them with God’s blessing, and be a success—no matter her age, her race, status, or nationality.
“It is good that you grasp the one and do not let the other slip from your hand”
“because you don’t know which will succeed, or if both of them will be equally good” (Ecclesiastes7:18a; 11:6, HCSB).
The early verses in this chapter have seen far less attention:
“Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more” (vs. 6, 7).
Our next inner-city ministry? No—the context paints a totally different picture:
“It is not for kings to drink wine… or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted” (vs. 4, 5).
Let it be for other people—those who need medicine—but you need to be able to think.
Today, all who value their “kingly power of reason” would do well to leave alcohol alone.
Virginia Davidson, Artist—designing and building stained glass windows
Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washington State, USA