Proverbs 31:1-9

Sayings of King Lemuel

1 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength[a] 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.
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1-9 Meaning and Commentary


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.

Cross References 10

  • 1. S Proverbs 22:17
  • 2. S Judges 11:30; Isaiah 49:15
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 17:17; S 1 Kings 11:3; Nehemiah 13:26; Proverbs 5:1-14
  • 4. S Proverbs 20:1; Ecclesiastes 10:16-17; Isaiah 5:22
  • 5. S 1 Kings 16:9
  • 6. S Proverbs 16:12; Hosea 4:11
  • 7. S Genesis 14:18
  • 8. S Esther 1:10
  • 9. S 1 Samuel 19:4; Job 29:12-17
  • 10. Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:16; S Proverbs 24:23; Proverbs 29:7; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:16

Footnotes 1

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