The Words of Lemuel1 The words of King Lemuel,
an oracle ▼
▼Or of Lemuel, king of Massa, or of King Lemuel, a burden, b that his mother taught him:
2 What should I say, my son?
What, son of my womb? c
What, son of my vows?
3 Don’t spend your energy d on women
or your efforts on those who destroy kings. e
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel,
it is not for kings f to drink wine g
or for rulers to desire beer.
5 Otherwise, they ▼
▼Lit hewill drink,
forget what is decreed i
and pervert justice for all the oppressed. ▼
▼Lit sons of affliction, k
6 Give beer to one who is dying
and wine to one whose life is bitter. l
7 Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty
and remember his trouble no more. m
8 Speak up ▼
▼Lit Open your mouthfor those who have no voice ▼
▼Lit who are mute, p
for the justice of all who are dispossessed. ▼
▼Lit all the sons of passing away
9 Speak up ▼
▼Lit Open your mouthjudge righteously s
and defend the cause of ▼
▼Lit and justice forthe oppressed and needy. u
In Praise of a Capable Wife10 Who can find a capable wife? ▼
▼Or a wife of quality, or a wife of noble character, w
She is far more precious than jewels. ▼.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will not lack anything good.
12 She rewards him with good, not evil,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from far away. y
15 She rises while it is still night z
and provides food for her household
and portions ▼
▼Or tasksfor her female servants. ab
16 She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings. ▼
▼Or vineyard by her own labors, ad
17 She draws on her strength ▼
▼Lit She wraps strength around her like a belt
and reveals that her arms are strong. af
18 She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night. ag
19 She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle. ah
20 Her hands reach ▼
▼Lit Her hand reachesout to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy. aj
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed. ▼
▼LXX, Vg; MT reads are dressed in scarlet
22 She makes her own bed coverings; al
her clothing is fine linen am and purple. an
23 Her husband is known at the city ▼
▼gate(s): The center for community discussions, political meetings, and trying of court casesgates,
where he sits among the elders of the land. ap
24 She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts ▼
▼Or sashesto the merchants.
25 Strength ar and honor are her clothing as
and she can laugh at the time to come. at
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom
and loving instruction ▼
▼Or and the teaching of kindnessis on her tongue.
27 She watches over the activities of her household av
and is never idle. ▼
▼Lit and does not eat the bread of idleness
28 Her sons rise up and call her blessed.
Her husband also praises her:
29 “Many women ▼
▼Lit daughtersare capable,
but you surpass them all!” ay
30 Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting az
but a woman who ▼
▼fear(s) God or the Lord/ the fear of the Lord: No single English word conveys every aspect of the word fear in this phrase. The meaning includes worshipful submission, reverential awe, and obedient respect to the covenant-keeping God of Israel.fears the Lord will be praised.
31 Give her the reward of her labor ▼
▼Lit the fruit of her hands
and let her works praise her at the city gates.
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