Proverbs 31:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
It is not for kings, Lemuel-- it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer,

New Living Translation
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave alcohol.

English Standard Version
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink,

New American Standard Bible
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

King James Bible
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
It is not for kings, Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to desire beer.

International Standard Version
It is not for kings, Lemuel— Not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to desire liquor.

NET Bible
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to crave strong drink,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Beware of Kings, Moayl, of Kings that drink wine, and of Rulers that drink strong drink

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"It is not for kings, Lemuel. It is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to crave liquor.

Jubilee Bible 2000
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor is beer for princes

King James 2000 Bible
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

American King James Version
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

American Standard Version
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; Nor for princes to say , Where is strong drink?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Give not to kings, O Lamuel, give not wine to kings: because there is no secret where drunkenness reigneth:

Darby Bible Translation
It is not for kings, Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for rulers [to say], Where is the strong drink?

English Revised Version
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes to say, Where is strong drink?

Webster's Bible Translation
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

World English Bible
It is not for kings, Lemuel; it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes to say, 'Where is strong drink?'

Young's Literal Translation
Not for kings, O Lemuel, Not for kings, to drink wine, And for princes a desire of strong drink.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 4-7. - The second admonition. A warning against inebriety, and concerning a proper use of strong drink. Verse 4. - It is not for kings; or, as others read, far be it from kings. The injunction is repeated to indicate its vast importance. Nor for princes strong drink; literally, nor for princes (the word), Where is strong drink? (see on Proverbs 20:1; and comp. Job 15:23). The evils of intemperance, flagrant enough in the case of a private person, are greatly enhanced in the case of a king, whose misdeeds may affect a whole community, as the next verse intimates. St. Jerome reads differently, translating, "Because there is no secret where drunkenness reigns." This is in accordance with the proverb, "When wine goes in the secret comes out;" and, "Where drink enters, wisdom departs;" and again, "Quod latet in mente sobrii, hoc natat in ore ebrii." Septuagint, "The powerful are irascible, but let them not drink wine." "Drunkenness," says Jeremy Taylor ('Holy Living,' ch. 3, § 2), "opens all the sanctuaries of nature, and discovers the nakedness of the soul, all its weaknesses and follies; it multiplies sins and discovers them; it makes a man incapable of being a private friend or a public counsellor. It taketh a man's soul into slavery and imprisonment more than any vice whatsoever, because it disarms a man of all his reason and his wisdom, whereby he might be cured, and, therefore, commonly it grows upon him with age; a drunkard being still more a fool and less a man."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,.... It is not fit for them, it is very unbecoming them; it is dishonourable to them, to such as Lemuel was, or was likely to be; or far be it from kings, let no such thing be do ne by them, nor by thee;

it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink; it is lawful for kings to drink wine in a moderate manner, and for princes, counsellors, and judges, to drink strong drink; meaning not such as is made of malt, which in those times was not used; but of honey, dates, pomegranates, and such like things; but then it was very unbecoming for either of them to drink any of these to excess; it is very disgraceful to any man to drink immoderately, to make a beast of himself, and much more a king or judge, who, of all men, ought to be grave and sober; both that they may perform their office well, and maintain the grandeur and dignity of it, which otherwise would become useless and despicable, yea, pernicious, as follows. Solomon, notwithstanding this advice, gave himself unto wine as well as women, Ecclesiastes 2:3. The Targum is,

"take care of kings, O Lemuel, of kings who drink wine, and of princes that drink strong drink.''

So the Syriac version, keep no company with them, nor follow their example; see Ecclesiastes 10:17; The last clause may be rendered, "nor for princes to say, where is strong drink" (d)? where is it to be had? where is the best? as drunkards do; which is according to the marginal reading; but the "Cetib", or writing, is "or" (e); but some render it as a noun, "the desire of strong drink" (f): it does not become princes to covet it.

(d) "ubi sechar?" Montanus, Vatlablus; "ubi (est) sicera?", Cocceius, Michaelis; so Ben Melech. (e) "siceram", Cocceius, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gussetius. p. 20. Schultens. (f) "Nunc vino pellite curas", Horat. Carmin, l. 1. Ode 7. v. 31. "Tu spem reducis", &c. ib. l. 3. Ode 21. v. 17.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4, 5. Stimulants enfeeble reason, pervert the heart, and do not suit rulers, who need clear and steady minds, and well-governed affections (compare Pr 20:1; 22:29).

pervert … afflicted—They give unrighteous decisions against the poor.

Proverbs 31:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Words of King Lemuel
3Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings. 4It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.…
Cross References
1 Kings 20:12
Ben-Hadad heard this message while he and the kings were drinking in their tents, and he ordered his men: "Prepare to attack." So they prepared to attack the city.

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Ecclesiastes 10:17
Blessed is the land whose king is of noble birth and whose princes eat at a proper time-- for strength and not for drunkenness.

Isaiah 5:22
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,

Hosea 4:11
to prostitution; old wine and new wine take away their understanding.
Treasury of Scripture

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

Leviticus 10:9,10 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, …

1 Kings 20:12,16-20 And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was …

Esther 3:15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and …

Ecclesiastes 10:17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and …

Isaiah 28:7,8 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are …

Daniel 5:2-4 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine…

Hosea 4:11,12 Prostitution and wine and new wine take away the heart…

Hosea 7:3-5 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with …

Habakkuk 2:5 Yes also, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, neither …

Mark 6:21-28 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made …

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