Proverbs 31

What King Lemuel’s Mother Taught Him

1 These are the sayings
that King Lemuel of Massa
    was taught by his mother.
2 My son Lemuel, you were born
    in answer to my prayers,
        so listen carefully.
3 Don’t waste your life
    chasing after women!
        This has ruined many kings.

4 Kings and leaders
    should not get drunk
        or even want to drink.
5 Drinking makes you forget
    your responsibilities,
        and you mistreat the poor.
6 Beer and wine are only
    for the dying or for those
        who have lost all hope.
7 Let them drink and forget
    how poor and miserable
        they feel.
8 But you must defend
    those who are helpless
        and have no hope.
9 Be fair and give justice
        to the poor and homeless.

In Praise of a Good Wife

10 A truly good wife
     is the most precious treasure
        a man can find!
11 Her husband depends on her,
     and she never
        lets him down.
12 She is good to him
        every day of her life,
13 and with her own hands
        she gladly makes clothes.

14 She is like a sailing ship
     that brings food
        from across the sea.
15 She gets up before daylight
     to prepare food for her family
        and for her servants.
16 She knows how to buy land
     and how to plant a vineyard,
17    and she always works hard.
18 She knows when to buy or sell,
     and she stays busy
        until late at night.
19 She spins her own cloth,
20 and she helps the poor
        and the needy.
21 Her family has warm clothing,
     and so she doesn’t worry
        when it snows.
22 She does her own sewing,
     and everything she wears
        is beautiful.

23 Her husband is a well-known
     and respected leader
        in the city.
24 She makes clothes to sell
        to the shop owners.
25 She is strong and graceful,
     as well as cheerful
        about the future.
26 Her words are sensible,
     and her advice
        is thoughtful.
27 She takes good care
     of her family
        and is never lazy.
28 Her children praise her,
     and with great pride
        her husband says,
29 “There are many good women,
        but you are the best!”

30 Charm can be deceiving,
        and beauty fades away,
     but a woman
     who honors the Lord
        deserves to be praised.
31 Show her respect—
     praise her in public
        for what she has done.    

The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary