Proverbs 31

1 These are the words of King Lemuel, the mes- sage his mother taught him:
2 "My son, I gave birth to you. You are the son I prayed for.
3 Don't waste your strength on women or your time on those who ruin kings.
4 "Kings should not drink wine, Lemuel, and rulers should not desire beer.
5 If they drink, they might forget the law and keep the needy from getting their rights.
6 Give beer to people who are dying and wine to those who are sad.
7 Let them drink and forget their need and remember their misery no more.
8 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; defend the rights of all those who have nothing.
9 Speak up and judge fairly, and defend the rights of the poor and needy."
10 It is hard to find a good wife, because she is worth more than rubies.
11 Her husband trusts her completely. With her, he has everything he needs.
12 She does him good and not harm for as long as she lives.
13 She looks for wool and flax and likes to work with her hands.
14 She is like a trader's ship, bringing food from far away.
15 She gets up while it is still dark and prepares food for her family and feeds her servant girls.
16 She inspects a field and buys it. With money she earned, she plants a vineyard.
17 She does her work with energy, and her arms are strong.
18 She knows that what she makes is good. Her lamp burns late into the night.
19 She makes thread with her hands and weaves her own cloth.
20 She welcomes the poor and helps the needy.
21 She does not worry about her family when it snows, because they all have fine clothes to keep them warm.
22 She makes coverings for herself; her clothes are made of linen and other expensive material.
23 Her husband is known at the city meetings, where he makes decisions as one of the leaders of the land.
24 She makes linen clothes and sells them and provides belts to the merchants.
25 She is strong and is respected by the people. She looks forward to the future with joy.
26 She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind.
27 She watches over her family and never wastes her time.
28 Her children speak well of her. Her husband also praises her,
29 saying, "There are many fine women, but you are better than all of them."
30 Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned; she should be praised in public for what she has done.
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