Wise Words of King Lemuel
31 These are the words of King Lemuel [C an otherwise unknown wise man], the message his mother taught him:
2 “·My son, I gave birth to you.
You are the son I prayed for
[L What, my son?
What, son of my womb?
What, son of my vow?].
3 Don’t waste your strength on women
or your ·time [ways] on those who ·ruin [wipe out; destroy] kings.
4 “Kings should not drink wine, Lemuel,
and rulers should not ·desire [crave] ·beer [T strong drink; C alcoholic beverage made from grain; 20:1; 23:19–21, 29–35].
5 If they drink, they might forget the ·law [decrees]
and ·keep the needy from getting their rights [violate the rights of the needy].
6 Give ·beer [T strong drink; v. 4] to people who are ·dying [perishing]
and wine to those ·who are sad [who have bitter hearts].
7 Let them drink and forget their ·need [poverty]
and remember their ·misery [or hard work] no more [Eccl. 2:24–26; 3:12–14, 22; 5:18–20; 8:15; 9:7–10].
8 “·Speak up [L Open your mouth] for those who cannot speak for themselves;
defend the rights of ·all those who have nothing [vulnerable/fragile people].
9 ·Speak up [L Open your mouth] and judge ·fairly [with righteousness],
and defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
The Good Wife
10 ·It is hard to [L Who can…?] find a ·good [noble; virtuous] wife [Ruth 3:11],
because she is worth more than ·rubies [or pearls].
11 Her husband ·trusts her completely [entrusts his heart to her].
With her, he ·has everything he needs [L lacks no plunder; C a military image].
12 She ·does [brings] him good and not ·harm [trouble; evil]
·for as long as she lives [L all the days of her life].
13 She ·looks for [goes out to find] wool and flax
and likes to work with her hands.
14 She is like a ·trader’s [merchant] ship,
bringing food from far away.
15 She gets up while it is still ·dark [night]
and ·prepares food for [L gives prey to] her family
and ·feeds [L a portion to] her servant girls.
16 She ·inspects [surveys] a field and ·buys it [takes it over].
With ·money she earned [L the fruits of her hands], she plants a vineyard.
17 ·She does her work with energy [L Her loins are girded with strength],
and her arms are strong.
18 She knows that ·what she makes is good [or her trading is successful].
Her lamp ·burns late into the [L she does not extinguish at] night.
19 She ·makes thread with her hands [L sends her hands to the distaff]
and ·weaves her own cloth [L her palms hold the spindle tightly].
20 She ·welcomes [L stretches her palm to] the poor
and ·helps [L sends her hands to] the needy.
21 She ·does not worry about [is not afraid for] her family when it snows,
because they all have fine clothes to keep them warm.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothes are made of linen [C from Egypt] and ·other expensive material [L purple].
23 Her husband is known at the city ·meetings [L gates; C the place where city leaders meet],
where he ·makes decisions as one of [L sits with] the ·leaders [L elders] of the land.
24 She makes ·linen clothes [garments] and sells them
and ·provides [supplies] ·belts [sashes] to the merchants.
25 ·She is strong and is respected by the people [L Strength and dignity/honor are her clothing].
She ·looks forward to the future with joy [L laughs at the future; C she is not anxious].
26 She ·speaks wise words [L opens her mouth with wisdom]
and ·teaches others to be kind [L loving instruction is on her tongue].
27 She ·watches over her family [L is a lookout point for the doings of her household]
and ·never wastes her time [L does not eat the bread/food of laziness].
28 Her children ·speak well of [L rise up and bless] her.
Her husband also praises her,
29 saying, “·There are many fine women [L Many daughters act nobly],
but you ·are better than [surpass] all of them.”
30 Charm ·can fool you [is deceptive], and beauty ·can trick you [is meaningless; or fleeting],
but a woman who ·respects [fears] the Lord [1:7] should be praised.
31 Give her the ·reward she has earned [L fruit of her hands];
she should be praised in ·public [the gates; 31:23] for what she has done.