Proverbs 31:5

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

Read Proverbs 31:5 Using Other Translations

Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
For if they drink, they may forget the law and not give justice to the oppressed.

What does Proverbs 31:5 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
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.
FOOTNOTES:

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