31 2 He exhorteth to chastity and justice, 10 and showeth the conditions of a wise and worthy woman.

THE WORDS OF KING [a]LEMUEL: The [b]prophecy which his mother taught him.

What my son! and what the son of [c]my womb! and what, O son of my desires!

Give not thy strength unto women, [d]nor thy ways which is to destroy kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes [e]strong drink,

Lest he drink and forget the decree, and change the judgment of all the children of affliction.

Give ye strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto them that have grief of heart.

Let him drink, that he may forget [f]his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

Open thy mouth for the [g]dumb in the cause of all the children of destruction.

Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and judge the afflicted, and the poor.

10 ¶ Who shall find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above the pearls.

11 The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of [h]spoil.

12 She will do him good, and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool and flax, and laboreth cheerfully with her hands.

14 She is like the ships of merchants: she bringeth her food from afar.

15 And she ariseth, while it is yet night: and giveth [i]the portion to her household, and the [j]ordinary to her maids.

16 She considereth a field, and [k]getteth it: and with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She feeleth that her merchandise is good: her candle is not put out by night.

19 She putteth her hands to the wheel, and her hands handle the spindle.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, and putteth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She feareth not the snow for her family: for all her family is clothed with [l]scarlet.

22 She maketh herself carpets: fine linen and purple is her garment.

23 Her husband is known in the [m]gates, when he sitteth with the Elders of the land.

24 She maketh [n]sheets, and selleth them, and giveth girdles unto the merchant.

25 [o]Strength and honor is her clothing, and in the latter day she shall rejoice.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and the [p]law of grace is in her tongue.

27 She overseeth the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up, and [q]call her blessed: her husband also shall praise her, saying,

29 Many daughters have done virtuously: but thou surmountest them all.

30 Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vanity: but a woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praised.

31 Give [r]her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the [s]gates.


  1. Proverbs 31:1 That is, of Solomon, who was called Lemuel, that is, of God, because God had ordained him to be king over Israel.
  2. Proverbs 31:1 The doctrine which his mother Bathsheba taught him.
  3. Proverbs 31:2 By this often repetition of one thing, she declareth her motherly affection.
  4. Proverbs 31:3 Meaning, that women are the destruction of kings, if they haunt them.
  5. Proverbs 31:4 That is, the King must not give himself to wantonness, and neglect of his office, which is to execute judgment.
  6. Proverbs 31:7 For wine doth comfort the heart, as Ps. 104:15.
  7. Proverbs 31:8 Defend their cause that are not able to help themselves.
  8. Proverbs 31:11 He shall not need to use any unlawful means to gain his living.
  9. Proverbs 31:15 Or, meat, as Ps. 111:5
  10. Proverbs 31:15 She prepareth their meat betime.
  11. Proverbs 31:16 She purchaseth it with the gains of her travail.
  12. Proverbs 31:21 Or, with double.
  13. Proverbs 31:23 In the assemblies and places of judgment.
  14. Proverbs 31:24 Or, linen cloth.
  15. Proverbs 31:25 After that he had spoken of the apparel of the body, he now declareth the apparel of the spirit.
  16. Proverbs 31:26 Her tongue is as a book whereby one might learn many good things: for she delighteth to talk of the word of God.
  17. Proverbs 31:28 That is, do her reverence.
  18. Proverbs 31:31 Confess her diligent labors, and commend her therefore.
  19. Proverbs 31:31 Forasmuch as the most honorable are clad in the apparel that she made.

Sayings of King Lemuel

31 The sayings(A) of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!(B)
Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.(C)

It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,(D)
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink(E) and forget what has been decreed,(F)
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine(G) for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink(H) and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.

Speak(I) up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.(J)

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character(K) who can find?(L)
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband(M) has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.(N)
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.(O)
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.(P)
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders(Q) of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.(R)
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise(S) at the city gate.


  1. Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
  2. Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.