The words of King Lemuel
Not what were spoken by him, but what were spoken to him; or declaring what his mother said, as what follows shows; of this king we have no account elsewhere under this name. Grotius thinks that King Hezekiah, whose mother Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah, whom he supposes to be a wise man, from whom she had learned much, instructed her son in the following manner; but gives no other reason for this conjecture but that this chapter follows the collection of proverbs made by the men of Hezekiah; but they are expressly said to be Solomon's, and the words of Agur more immediately follow them; and besides Hezekiah does not appear ever to be addicted to the vices this prince was; much more probable is the conjecture of Bishop Patrick, that he was a prince of another country, perhaps in Chaldea, since a Chaldee word is three times used in his mother's address to him, and another word in a Chaldee termination; and he supposes his mother to be a Jewish lady, that taught her son the lessons herein contained. But the general sense of Jewish and Christian writers is, that Solomon himself is meant; whose name Lemuel is either a corruption of his name Solomon, a fond pretty name his mother Bathsheba gave him when young, and he thought fit to write it just as his mother spoke it; as mothers often do give such broken names to their children in fond affection to them: or it was another name of his, as it appears he had more than one; it signifies "to God", one that was devoted to him, as he was by his parents and by himself; or one that belonged to God, was his, as Solomon was; he was beloved of God, and therefore called Jedidiah, ( 2 Samuel 12:24 2 Samuel 12:25 ) ; one to whom God was a father, and he a son to him; and he was chosen and appointed by him to succeed his father David in the kingdom, ( 2 Samuel 7:13 ) ( 1 Chronicles 28:5 ) . Hillerus F1 makes the word to signify "over against God", or "before the face of the first", or of God and was a type of the "angel of faces", or of God's presence, ( Isaiah 63:9 ) ; the prophecy that his mother taught him;
either in his youth, or when he was come to the throne; to whom she had access, and with whom she used freedom; and particularly when she saw he was inclined unto, or going into, the vices she cautions him against. Her instruction is called a "prophecy", because she delivered it on a foresight of the sins her son would be tempted with, and liable to fall into; and this foresight was either through her natural sagacity, or under a spirit of prophecy; or rather it is so called, because any wise saying, or doctrine of moment and importance, and especially if it was by divine inspiration, was so called; see ( Proverbs 30:1 ) ; as Solomon tells us what his father David taught him, so here what his mother Bathsheba instructed him in; and it would have been well if he had taken the advice she gave him, and he gave to his son; see ( Proverbs 4:3 Proverbs 4:4 ) ( 1:8 ) .
F1 Onomastic. Sacr. p. 268.