Proverbs 31:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!

New Living Translation
O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows,

English Standard Version
What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows?

New American Standard Bible
What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows?

King James Bible
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
What should I say, my son? What, son of my womb? What, son of my vows?

International Standard Version
No, my son! No, my son whom I conceived! No, my son to whom I gave birth!

NET Bible
O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows,

New Heart English Bible
"Oh, my son. Oh, son of my womb. Oh, son of my vows.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Oh, my son, oh, son of my body, and oh, son of my vows!

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"What, my son? What, son to whom I gave birth? What, son of my prayers?

JPS Tanakh 1917
What, my son? and what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows?

New American Standard 1977
What, O my son?
            And what, O son of my womb?
            And what, O son of my vows?

Jubilee Bible 2000
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

King James 2000 Bible
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

American King James Version
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

American Standard Version
What, my son? and what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows?

Douay-Rheims Bible
What, O my beloved, what, O the beloved of my womb, what, O the beloved of my vows?

Darby Bible Translation
What, my son? and what, O son of my womb? and what, O son of my vows?

English Revised Version
What, my son? and what, O son of my womb, and what, O son of my vows?

Webster's Bible Translation
What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

World English Bible
"Oh, my son! Oh, son of my womb! Oh, son of my vows!

Young's Literal Translation
'What, my son? and what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows?
Study Bible
The Words of King Lemuel
1The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him: 2What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows? 3Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings.…
Cross References
1 Samuel 1:11
She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."

Proverbs 31:1
The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:

Isaiah 49:15
"Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
Treasury of Scripture

What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

the son of my womb

Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion …

the son of my vows

1 Samuel 1:11,28 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed …

(2) What, my son?--i.e., what shall I say? The question, thrice repeated, shows her extreme anxiety to give good advice to this son, who was "tender, and only beloved in the sight of his mother."

The son of my vows.--Perhaps given, like Samuel, in answer to her prayers and vows.

Verses 2-9. - Here follows the exhortation, which seems to come from the same source as the "burden" of Agur above. In this section the connection and parallelism of the parts are exhibited by repetition of thought and often of words in the several clauses. Verse 2. - What, my son? Mah, "what," is repeated thrice, both to enforce the attention of the son, and to show the mother's anxious care for his good. She feels the vast importance of the occasion, and asks as in perplexity, "What shall I say? What advice shall I give thee?" "Son" is here not ben, but bar, one of the Aramaic forms which are found in these two last chapters. The word occurs also in Psalm 2:12. Son of my vows. This might mean, "son who wast asked in prayer," like Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11), and dedicated to God, as the name Lemuel implies; or it may signify, "thou who art the object of my daily vows and prayers." Septuagint, "What, my son, wilt thou observe (τηρήσεις)? What? the sayings of God. My firstborn son, to thee I speak. What, son of my womb? What, son of my vows?" What, my son?.... What shall I call thee? though thou art a king, can I address thee in more suitable language, or use a more endearing appellative than this, and what follows? permit me, thy mother, to speak unto thee as my son: and what shall I say to thee? I want words, I want wisdom; O that I knew what to say to thee, that would be proper and profitable; or what is it I am about to say to thee? things of the greatest moment and importance, and therefore listen to me; and so the manner of speaking is designed to excite attention: or what shall I ask of thee? no part of thy kingdom, or any share in the government of it; only this favour, to avoid the sins unbecoming a prince, and to do the duty of a king, later mentioned. The Targum and Syriac version represent her as exclaiming, reproving, and threatening; as, Alas my son! is this the life thou designest to live, to give up thyself to wine and women? fie upon it, my son, is this becoming thy birth, education, and dignity? is this the fruit of all the pains I have taken in bringing thee up? consider the unbecoming part thou art acting;

and what, the son of my womb? whom I bore in sorrow, brought forth in pain, and took so much care and trouble to bring up in a religious way, and form for usefulness in church and state? not an adopted son, but my own flesh and blood; and therefore what I say must be thought to proceed from pure affection to thee, and solely for thy good; see Isaiah 49:15;

and what, the son of my vows? whom I asked of God, and promised to give up to him again, and did; for which reason she might call him Lemuel, as Hannah called her son Samuel, for a like reason, 1 Samuel 1:28; a son for whom she had put up many prayers, for his temporal and spiritual good; and on whose account she had made many vows, promises, and resolutions, that she would do so and so, should she be so happy as to bring him into the world, and bring him up to man's estate, and see him settled on the throne of Israel. 2. What, my son?—that is, What shall I say? Repetitions denote earnestness.

son of my womb—as our phrase, "my own son," a term of special affection.

son of my vows—as one dedicated to God; so the word "Lemuel" may mean.31:1-9 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. The many awful instances of promising characters who have been ruined by vile women, and love of wine, should warn every one to avoid these evils. Wine is to be used for want or medicine. Every creature of God is good, and wine, though abused, has its use. By the same rule, due praise and consolation should be used as cordials to the dejected and tempted, not administered to the confident and self-sufficient. All in authority should be more carefully temperate even than other men; and should be protectors of those who are unable or afraid to plead their own cause. Our blessed Lord did not decline the bitterest dregs of the cup of sorrow put into his hands; but he puts the cup of consolation into the hands of his people, and causes those to rejoice who are in the deepest distress.
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