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.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [b]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.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
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.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
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 noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Here at the end, we find one of the most famous Proverbs, our third author, and an incredible introduction:
“The sayings of King Lemuel — an inspired utterance his mother taught him.”
(Editor’s note: This is the ultimate move by a mom. Drop wisdom so profound on your son that it ends up in Holy Scripture.)
It seems essential that the Proverb explicitly dealing with the finding of a wife comes at the end of the book. It is as if God knew already that we would need to learn to lead ourselves with wisdom long before we should ever take a chance on leading someone else. Our natural state, our selves without God, may be able to seemingly hold things together for a time. But the real sacrifice needed for true leadership will eventually call more out of us than we can give apart from His power and His provision in our lives.
Reflect on the opening of this book, at the fundamental truth we started off acknowledging:
There is, within every man, a deep desire to do what is right, a longing to navigate all of life’s adventures with a clear understanding of what is at stake and the best path forward towards victory.
Arriving at Proverbs 31, we have spent the last month together reading the handbook that God has provided for us to do just that. Now a final instruction comes to us, and with it, a long list of attributes that we should search for in a partner with whom to follow it:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the poor and needy.”
Christian, this is your charge. Obey it earnestly. Let the wisdom of the past 30 Proverbs guide you as you seek to honor it with all of your heart. As you do, look around you for one who is doing the same. The final twenty-three verses of Proverbs 31 extoll the virtues of a woman who will already be following that very same wisdom in her own long arc of obedience. If God has called you to marriage, He will lead you to such a woman. If He has not, continue to live a life in full pursuit of the wisdom He has freely poured into your life through the Proverbs. The end goal for each of us is this, that we would be men after God’s own heart, and all else would be found in the following.
God, thank You for Your wisdom. I praise You that You are the Source of truth, and You always will be. You are the source of all knowledge and understanding. I humbly ask for the blessing of Your wisdom; that I would have a heart that feels like Yours, that I would have eyes that see like Yours, that I would have a mind that thinks like Yours. I desire to be a man after Your own heart, and I commit to working towards being more like You for all of my days. Thank You for who You are. Amen.