Replace a Trash Bag with a Suitcase for a Foster Kid

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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Proverbs 31 Commentary

Chapter 31

An exhortation to king Lemuel to take heed of sin, and to do duties. (1-9) The description of a virtuous woman. (10-31)

Verses 1-9 When children are under the mother's eye, she has an opportunity of fashioning their minds aright. Those who are grown up, should often call to mind the good teaching they received when children. The many awful instances of promising characters who have been ruined by vile women, and love of wine, should warn every one to avoid these evils. Wine is to be used for want or medicine. Every creature of God is good, and wine, though abused, has its use. By the same rule, due praise and consolation should be used as cordials to the dejected and tempted, not administered to the confident and self-sufficient. All in authority should be more carefully temperate even than other men; and should be protectors of those who are unable or afraid to plead their own cause. Our blessed Lord did not decline the bitterest dregs of the cup of sorrow put into his hands; but he puts the cup of consolation into the hands of his people, and causes those to rejoice who are in the deepest distress.

Verses 10-31 This is the description of a virtuous woman of those days, but the general outlines equally suit every age and nation. She is very careful to recommend herself to her husband's esteem and affection, to know his mind, and is willing that he rule over her. 1. She can be trusted, and he will leave such a wife to manage for him. He is happy in her. And she makes it her constant business to do him good. 2. She is one that takes pains in her duties, and takes pleasure in them. She is careful to fill up time, that none be lost. She rises early. She applies herself to the business proper for her, to women's business. She does what she does, with all her power, and trifles not. 3. She makes what she does turn to good account by prudent management. Many undo themselves by buying, without considering whether they can afford it. She provides well for her house. She lays up for hereafter. 4. She looks well to the ways of her household, that she may oblige all to do their duty to God and one another, as well as to her. 5. She is intent upon giving as upon getting, and does it freely and cheerfully. 6. She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world. 7. Above all, she fears the Lord. Beauty recommends none to God, nor is it any proof of wisdom and goodness, but it has deceived many a man who made his choice of a wife by it. But the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever. 8. She has firmness to bear up under crosses and disappointments. She shall reflect with comfort when she comes to be old, that she was not idle or useless when young. She shall rejoice in a world to come. She is a great blessing to her relations. If the fruit be good, the tree must have our good word. But she leaves it to her own works to praise her. Every one ought to desire this honour that cometh from God; and according to this standard we all ought to regulate our judgments. This description let all women daily study, who desire to be truly beloved and respected, useful and honourable. This passage is to be applied to individuals, but may it not also be applied to the church of God, which is described as a virtuous spouse? God by his grace has formed from among sinful men a church of true believers, to possess all the excellences here described.

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains the last part of the book of Proverbs; which some reckon the fifth, others the sixth. It contains the instructions of the mother of a prince, whose name was Lemuel, which she gave unto him; and which are so valuable, as to be annexed to the proverbs of Solomon. The preface or introduction to them is in Pr 31:1; the address to her son, Pr 31:2. The vices she cautions him against are uncleanness and intemperance; which she dissuades from, because of the pernicious consequences of both to kings and to their subjects, Pr 31:3-5. Advises rather to give wine and strong drink to poor people, such as are in distress; as being more useful to them, at least less prejudicial, Pr 31:6,7; and exhorts her son to the duties of his office; by pleading the cause of the poor and injured, and administering justice to them, Pr 31:8,9. And then at large describes a virtuous woman; perhaps designed as an instruction to her son in the choice of a wife, Pr 31:10-31; though more than that may be intended by it.

Proverbs 31 Commentaries