Summary: This is a verse by verse look at Proverbs chapter thirty one.
Pearls From Proverbs – Chapter Twenty Nine
Proverbs 31:1 (NASB) The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:
The name of King Lemuel is only found two times in the Bible and both times it is this chapter of Proverbs. Who King Lemuel was we do not know. Many believe he was Solomon.
Wesley has said, "Of Solomon, by the general consent both of Jewish and Christian writers; this name signifies one from God, or belonging to God, and such an one was Solomon eminently, being given by God to David and Bathsheba, as a pledge of his reconciliation to them after their repentance. Possibly his mother gave him this name to mind him of his great obligations to God, and of the justice of his devoting himself to God's service."
Proverbs 31:2 (NASB) What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows?
Matthew Henry has said, "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."
Proverbs 31:3 (NASB) Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings.
There are many ways in which a king can be destroyed. The mother's warning is for the son to stay away from those things. She also warns her son not to give his strength to women. By being entangled in bad relationships is not a good thing. Yet how easy it is to get entrapped by them.
Proverbs 31:4 (NASB) It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink,
Bad relationships can entrap us - but so can substance abuse. Any type of substance that can lead to bad judgment is bad. It is extremely bad when you are a leader within a nation.
Proverbs 31:5 (NASB) For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Drunkenness is inexcusable for national leaders. Alcohol clouds the mind and can lead to injustice and poor decisions. People in leadership who anesthetize themselves with alcohol will eventually compromise their principles.
Proverbs 31:6 (NASB) Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter.
To those who are dying - strong drink can ease the mind. Wine can make a weary heart glad. Both of these substances were to aid a person - as drugs are used now to help a person at the at the end of their life.
Proverbs 31:7 (NASB) Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more.
Here alcohol is used as a drug to forget a person's troubles. It is not that the troubles are gone - but they still remain. When a person becomes sober they must still deal with their problems. If you drink to forget the bills that you have - when you become sober - the bills are still there and you have less money because you have spent it on drink to forget your bills.
Proverbs 31:8 (NASB) Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate.
Speak for those who cannot speak. Stand up for the rights of all - especially for those who are less fortunate than you.
Proverbs 31:9 (NASB) Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Always judge righteously and look out for the needy.
Proverbs 31:10 (NASB) An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.
Proverbs has a lot to say about women. How fitting that the book ends with a picture of a woman of strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and great compassion. These type of women are hard to find - but when found treat her like she is a precious jewel.
Proverbs 31:11 (NASB) The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.
Trust builds for strong relationships. He has no need to worry - but his trust will produce great gain.
Proverbs 31:12 (NASB) She does him good and not evil All the days of her life.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:13 (NASB) She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight.
Some people have the mistaken idea that the ideal woman in the Bible is retiring, servile, and entirely domestic. Not so! This woman is an excellent wife and mother. She is also a manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholsterer, and merchant. Her strength and dignity do not come from her amazing achievements, however. They are a result of her reverence for God. In our society, where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned. Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character.