The Sayings for King Lemuel
1 These are the words of King Lemuel—the burden that his mother taught him:
What, O son of my womb?
What, O son of my vows?
3 Do not spend your strength on women
or your vigor on those who ruin kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to crave strong drink,
5 lest they drink and forget what is decreed,
depriving all the oppressed of justice.
6 Give strong drink to one who is perishing,
and wine to the bitter in soul.
7 Let him drink and forget his poverty,
and remember his misery no more.
8 Open your mouth for those with no voice,
for the cause of all the dispossessed.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
and defend the cause of the poor and needy.
The Virtues of a Noble Woman
She is far more precious than rubies.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good and not harm
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is still night
to provide food for her household
and portions for her maidservants.
16 She appraises a field and buys it;
from her earnings she plants a vineyard.
and shows that her arms are strong.
18 She sees that her gain is good,
and her lamp is not extinguished at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household,
for they are all clothed in scarlet. d
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known at the city gate,
where he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband praises her as well:
29 “Many daughters have done 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 Give her the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her at the gates.
2 a Or What or What are you doing
10 b Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
17 c Hebrew She girds her loins
21 d Or doubly clothed