Amplified Bible

Proverbs 31

The Words of Lemuel

1The words of [a]King Lemuel, the oracle, which his mother taught him:


What, O my [b]son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what [shall I advise you], O son of my vows?

Do not give your [generative] strength to women [neither foreign wives in marriages of alliances, nor [c]concubines],
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

Otherwise they drink and forget the law and its decrees,
And pervert the rights and justice of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.

Let him drink and forget his poverty
And no longer remember his trouble.

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all who are unfortunate and defenseless;

Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And administer justice for the afflicted and needy.

Description of a Worthy Woman

10 
[d]An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her?
Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.
11 
The heart of her husband trusts in her [with secure confidence],
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 
She comforts, encourages, and does him only good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 
She looks for wool and flax
And works with willing hands in delight.
14 
She is like the merchant ships [abounding with treasure];
She brings her [household’s] food from far away.
15 
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And assigns tasks to her maids.
16 
She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently];
With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
17 
She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task]
And makes her arms strong.
18 
She sees that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead].
19 
She stretches out her hands to the [e]distaff,
And her hands hold the spindle [as she spins wool into thread for clothing].
20 
She opens and extends her hand to the poor,
And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy.
21 
She does not fear the snow for her household,
For all in her household are clothed in [expensive] scarlet [wool].
22 
She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry.
Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple [wool].
23 
Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 
She makes [fine] linen garments and sells them;
And supplies sashes to the merchants.
25 
Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure;
And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared].
26 
She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction].
27 
She looks well to how things go in her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 
Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired);
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying,
29 
“Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness],
[f]But you excel them all.”
30 
Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.
31 
Give her of the product of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 31:1 The identity of King Lemuel is uncertain; however, ancient Jewish tradition connects Lemuel with Solomon.
  2. Proverbs 31:2 This chapter consists of two poetic sections. The first (vv 2-9) details the qualities needed to be a wise ruler, and the second (vv 10-31) the qualities describing an excellent wife.
  3. Proverbs 31:3 See note Gen 22:24.
  4. Proverbs 31:10 The following verses are written as an acrostic poem (each of the twenty-two verses begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Aside from the artistry, the acrostic structure also aided memorization.
  5. Proverbs 31:19 I.e. the staff that holds the textile fibers for spinning.
  6. Proverbs 31:29 The source of this remarkable woman’s success and competence is revealed in v 30, and it is a source available to everyone. She is wise because she understands and puts into practice the message contained in 9:10.

New International Reader's Version

Proverbs 31

The Sayings of King Lemuel

1These are the sayings of King Lemuel. His mother taught them to him. These sayings came from God.

Listen, my son! Listen, my very own son!
    Listen, you who are the answer to my prayers!
Don’t waste your strength on women.
    Don’t waste it on those who destroy kings.

Lemuel, it isn’t good for kings to drink wine.
    It isn’t good for rulers to long for beer.
If they do, they might drink and forget what has been commanded.
    They might take away the rights of all those who are treated badly.
Let beer be for those who are dying.
    Let wine be for those who are sad and troubled.
Let them drink and forget how poor they are.
    Let them forget their suffering.

Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.
    Speak up for the rights of all those who are poor.
Speak up and judge fairly.
    Speak up for the rights of those who are poor and needy.

The Excellent Woman

10 Who can find an excellent woman?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband trusts her completely.
    She gives him all the important things he needs.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She chooses wool and flax.
    She loves to work with her hands.
14 She is like the ships of traders.
    She brings her food from far away.
15 She gets up while it is still night.
    She provides food for her family.
    She also gives some to her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it.
    She uses some of the money she earns to plant a vineyard.
17 She gets ready to work hard.
    Her arms are strong.
18 She sees that her trading earns a lot of money.
    Her lamp doesn’t go out at night.
19 With one hand she holds the wool.
    With the other she spins the thread.
20 She opens her arms to those who are poor.
    She reaches out her hands to those who are needy.
21 When it snows, she’s not afraid for her family.
    All of them are dressed in the finest clothes.
22 She makes her own bed coverings.
    She is dressed in fine linen and purple clothes.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate.
    There he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen clothes and sells them.
    She supplies belts to the traders.
25 She puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes.
    She can laugh at the days that are coming.
26 She speaks wisely.
    She teaches faithfully.
27 She watches over family matters.
    She is busy all the time.
28 Her children stand up and call her blessed.
    Her husband also rises up, and he praises her.
29 He says, “Many women do excellent things.
    But you are better than all the others.”
30 Charm can fool you. Beauty fades.
    But a woman who has respect for the Lord should be praised.
31 Give her honor for all that her hands have done.
    Let everything she has done bring praise to her at the city gate.