The Words of Lemuel

31 The words of King Lemuel,
a pronouncement[a](A) that his mother taught him:

What should I say, my son?
What, son of my womb?(B)
What, son of my vows?
Don’t spend your energy(C) on women
or your efforts on those who destroy kings.(D)
It is not for kings, Lemuel,
it is not for kings(E) to drink wine(F)
or for rulers to desire beer.
Otherwise, he will drink,
forget what is decreed,(G)
and pervert justice for all the oppressed.[b](H)
Give beer to one who is dying
and wine to one whose life is bitter.(I)
Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty
and remember his trouble no more.(J)
Speak up[c] for those who have no voice,[d](K)
for the justice of all who are dispossessed.[e]
Speak up, judge righteously,(L)
and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.(M)

In Praise of a Wife of Noble Character

10 Who can find a wife of noble character?[f](N)
She is far more precious than jewels.[g]
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.(O)
15 She rises while it is still night(P)
and provides food for her household
and portions[h] for her female servants.(Q)
16 She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings.[i](R)
17 She draws on her strength[j]
and reveals that her arms are strong.(S)
18 She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night.(T)
19 She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle.(U)
20 Her hands reach[k] out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.(V)
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.[l]
22 She makes her own bed coverings;(W)
her clothing is fine linen(X) and purple.(Y)
23 Her husband is known at the city gates,
where he sits among the elders of the land.(Z)
24 She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts[m] to the merchants.
25 Strength(AA) and honor are her clothing,(AB)
and she can laugh at the time to come.(AC)
26 Her mouth speaks wisdom,
and loving instruction[n] is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the activities of her household(AD)
and is never idle.[o]
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also praises her:
29 “Many women[p] have done noble deeds,
but you surpass them all!” (AE)
30 Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,(AF)
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
31 Give her the reward of her labor,[q]
and let her works praise her at the city gates.


  1. 31:1 Or of Lemuel, king of Massa, or of King Lemuel, a burden
  2. 31:5 Lit sons of affliction
  3. 31:8 Lit Open your mouth, also in v. 9
  4. 31:8 Lit who are mute
  5. 31:8 Lit all the sons of passing away
  6. 31:10 Or a wife of quality, or a capable wife
  7. 31:10 Vv. 10–31 form an acrostic.
  8. 31:15 Or tasks
  9. 31:16 Or vineyard by her own labors
  10. 31:17 Lit She wraps strength around her like a belt
  11. 31:20 Lit Her hand reaches
  12. 31:21 LXX, Vg; MT reads are dressed in scarlet
  13. 31:24 Or sashes
  14. 31:26 Or and the teaching of kindness
  15. 31:27 Lit and does not eat the bread of idleness
  16. 31:29 Lit daughters
  17. 31:31 Lit the fruit of her hands

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