|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.
Verses 8, 9. - The third exhortation, admonishing the king to judge righteously. Verse 8. - Open thy mouth for the dumb. The "dumb" is any one who for any reason whatever is unable to plead his own cause; he may be of tender age, or of lowly station, or ignorant, timid, and boorish; and the prince is enjoined to plead for him and defend him (comp. Job 29:15). In the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction; literally, the sons of passing away (Isaiah 2:18); i.e. not orphans, children whose parents have vanished from the earth, nor strangers from a foreign country, nor, generally, mortals, subjects of frail human nature (all of which explanations have been given), but persons who are in imminent danger of perishing, certain, if left unaided, to come to ruin (comp. Job 29:12). Septuagint, "Open thy mouth for the Word of God, and judge all men soundly (ὑγιῶς)."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Open thy mouth for the dumb,.... Not who are naturally so, but who cannot speak in their own behalf, either through want of elocution, or knowledge of the laws; or who are bashful, timorous, and fearful, being overawed by the majesty of a court of judicature, or by their prosecutors; or who, as they have not a tongue, so not a purse, to speak for them, the fatherless and the widow; which latter has her name, in the Hebrew language, from dumbness. Here Lemuel's mother advises him to open his mouth freely, readily, boldly, and intrepidly, and plead for such persons. Even
in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction; whose destruction is resolved on by their accusers and prosecutors; and who are in danger of it, being charged with capital crimes; unless some persons of wisdom, power, and authority, interpose on their behalf. It may be rendered, "in the cause of all the children of change", or "passing away" (s); the children of the world, which passeth away with all things in it, as Kimchi; or orphans, whose help passeth away, as Jarchi; or rather strangers, as others, who pass from place to place and whose state and condition is liable to many changes who may be ignorant of the laws of the country where they are, and may stand in need of persons to plead for them.
(s) "filiormn transitus", Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "transeuntis, sub. seculi", Vatablus, so Ben Melech; "filiorum mutationis loci", Piscator; "filii mutationis, h. e. hujus mundi", Baynus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8, 9. Open … cause—Plead for those who cannot plead for themselves, as the orphan, stranger, &c. (compare Ps 72:12; Isa 1:17).
appointed to destruction—who are otherwise ruined by their oppressors (compare Pr 29:14, 16).
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