Proverbs 31:5

5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

Proverbs 31:5 in Other Translations

5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
5 For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed.
5 Lest, hung over, they don't know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt.
5 Otherwise, they will drink, forget what is decreed, and pervert justice for all the oppressed.

Proverbs 31:5 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 31:5

Lest they drink, and forget the law
The law of God by Moses, which the kings of Israel were obliged to write a copy of, and read over daily, to imprint it on their minds, that they might never forget it, but always govern according to it, ( Deuteronomy 17:18 Deuteronomy 17:19 ) ; or the law of their ancestors, or what was made by themselves, which through intemperance may be forgotten; for this sin stupefies the mind and hurts the memory, and makes men forgetful; and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted;
a king on the throne, or a judge on the bench, drunk, must be very unfit for his office; since he must be incapable of attending to the cause before him, of taking in the true state of the case; and, as he forgets the law, which is his rule of judgment, so he will mistake the point in debate, and put one thing for another; and "change" F7 and alter, as the word signifies, the judgment of the afflicted and injured person, and give the cause against him which should be for him; and therefore it is of great consequence that kings and judges should he sober. A certain woman, being undeservedly condemned by Philip king of Macedon, when drunk, said,

``I would appeal to Philip, but it shall be when he is sober;''
which aroused him; and, more diligently examining the cause, he gave, a more righteous sentence F8.

F7 (hnvy) "mutet", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; "demutet", Schultens.
F8 Valer. Maxim l. 6. c. 2. extern. 1.

Proverbs 31:5 In-Context

3 Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

Cross References 2

  • 1. S 1 Kings 16:9
  • 2. S Proverbs 16:12; Hosea 4:11
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