Proverbs 31 NIV

Sayings of King Lemuel

1 The sayings1 of King Lemuel--an oraclea his mother taught him:

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    • a 31:1 - Or "of Lemuel king of Massa, which"
      2 "O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows,b2

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        • b 31:2 - Or "/ the answer to my prayers"
          3 do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.3

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          4 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel-- not for kings to drink wine,4 not for rulers to crave beer,

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          5 lest they drink5 and forget what the law decrees,6 and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

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          6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine7 to those who are in anguish;

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          7 let them drink8 and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

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          8 "Speak9 up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

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          9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."10

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          Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

          10 A wife of noble character11 who can find?12 She is worth far more than rubies.

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          11 Her husband13 has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.14

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          12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
          13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.15

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          14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.
          15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.
          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.16

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          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 elders17 of the land.

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          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.18

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          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 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise19 at the city gate.

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