2 "O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows,2
3 do not spend
your strength on women,
your vigor on those who ruin kings.
4 "It is not for
kings, O Lemuel—
not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink
and forget what the law decrees,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Give beer to
those who are perishing,
wine to those who are in anguish;
7 let them drink
and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge
defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character3
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband
has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him
good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager
14 She is like the merchant ship bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while
it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she
holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her
arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes
coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is
respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen
garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed
with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over
the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children
arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her the reward
she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
1 verse 1 Or of Lemuel king of Massa, which
2 verse 2 Or / the answer to my prayers
3 verses 10-31 are an acrostic, each verse beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet