Proverbs 31
English Standard Version

The Words of King Lemuel

1The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

2What are you doing, my son?a What are you doing, son of my womb?
What are you doing, son of my vows?
3Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.
4It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
5lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;b
7let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
8Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.c
9Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10d An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17She dresses herselfe with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.f
22She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.


Footnotes:
a 2 Hebrew What, my son?
b 6 Hebrew those bitter in soul
c 8 Hebrew are sons of passing away
d 10 Verses 10 - 31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet
e 17 Hebrew She girds her loins
f 21 Or in double thickness
ESV Text Edition: 2016.

The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.

The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.

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