Sayings of King Lemuel1The sayings of King Lemuel – an inspired utterance his mother taught him. 2Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3Do not spend your strength ▼
▼Or wealthon women,
your vigour on those who ruin kings.
4It is not for kings, Lemuel –
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for those who are in anguish!
7Let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
8Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Epilogue: the wife of noble character▼
▼Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.10A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29‘Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.’
30Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31Honour her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
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