Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
The words of Lemuel, together with the poem in praise of the matron
a) Lemuel’s maxims of wisdom for kings
1 Words of Lemuel the king of Massa
with which his mother instructed him:
2 Oh, my son! ah, thou son of my womb!
oh thou son of my vows!
3 Give not thy strength to women,
nor thy ways to destroy kings.
4 Not for kings, oh Lemuel,
not for kings (is it becoming) to drink wine;
nor for princes (wine) or strong drink;
5 lest he drink and forget the law,
and pervert the judgment of all the sons of want.
6 Give strong drink to him that is perishing,
and wine to him that is of a heavy heart.
7 Let him drink and forget his poverty,
and let him remember his want no more!
8 Open thy mouth for the dumb,
for the right of all orphan children.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously,
and vindicate the poor and needy.
b) Alphabetical song in praise of the virtuous, wise and industrious woman
10 A virtuous woman who can find?
and yet her price is far above pearls.
11 The heart of her husband doth trust in her,
and he shall not fail of gain.
12 She doeth him good and not evil
all the days of her life.
13 She careth for wool and linen,
and worketh with diligent hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
from afar doth she bring her food.
15 She riseth up while it is yet night,
and giveth food to her house
and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field and buyeth it,
a vineyard with the fruit of her hands.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength,
and maketh her arms strong.
18 She perceiveth that her gain is good,
her light goeth not out by night.
19 She putteth her hands to the distaff,
and her fingers lay hold on the spindle.
20 She stretcheth forth her hand to the poor,
and extendeth her arms to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
for all her household is clothed in crimson.
22 Coverlets doth she prepare for herself;
fine linen and purple is her clothing.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
when he sitteth with the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen and selleth it,
and girdles doth she give to the merchant.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
she laugheth at the future.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom,
and the law of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household
and the bread of idleness she will not eat.
28 Her sons rise up and praise her,
her husband, he also boasteth of her:
29 Many daughters have done virtuously,
but thou hast excelled them all!
30 Grace is deceitful, beauty is vanity,
a woman that feareth the Lord; let her be praised!
31 Give to her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
GRAMMATICAL AND CRITICAL
Proverbs 31:2.—[מה, where it occurs the third time, is pointed מֶה, as is not uncommon in repetitions, to secure variety; see BÖTT., § 499, c. The consonant succeeding is the same in the three cases.—A.]
Proverbs 31:3.—HITZIG changes the לַמְחוֹת (Inf. Hiph. from מחה) to the fem. part. of למח, “ to leer or ogle,” לֹמְחוֹת: “and give not thy way to them (the seductive courtesans) who leer after kings” (?). [BÖTT. prefers to make of it Kal part. fem. plur. from מחה, and would point לְמֹחוֹת and render “the caressers of kings.” This is certainly easier than the causative Infinitive with its abstractness. See BÖTT., § 1089, 2. מְלָכִין, an Aramaic form immediately followed in Proverbs 31:4 by the regular plural twice repeated. GREEN, §199, a; BÖTT. § 277, 3.—A.]
Proverbs 31:4.—We render או “or” according to the K’thibh, which is recommended by like examples of a distributive location of this disjanctive particle (such as Proverbs 30:31 [where BÖTT. would read תְּאוֹ rather than allow the irregularity]; Job 22:11). We do not need therefore to substitute for it אַו, “desire” (that is, “for strong drink,” GESEN. and others), or to read with the K’ri אֵי, “ where?” (“where is strong drink for princes?” comp. Gen. 4:9). [BÖTT. regards it as a probable Simeonite synonym for תַּאֲוָה, “desire,” § 438, 3; 453, g. The two forms of the king’s name, לְמוּאֵל and לְמוֹאֵל, a genitive in Proverbs 31:1 and a vocative in Proverbs 31:4, also deserve attention. The changing person of the verbs is no uncommon phenomenon. See EWALD, § 309, a.—A.]
Proverbs 31:5.—מְחֻקָּק, a Pual part, from חקק, signifies “that which is decided, the prescribed,” and is therefore equivalent חֹק, “law.”
Proverbs 31:6.—[תְּנוּ the permissive use of the Imper.; BÖTT., § 959, 5.—A.]
Proverbs 31:12.—גָּמַל is used with two accusatives as in 1 Sam. 24:18.
Proverbs 31:13.—[The fem. noun פִשְׁתָּה seems to be used of the raw material, flax, white this plural from פֵּשֶׁת is used of the product, the materials for clothing.—A.]
Proverbs 31:15.—טֶרֶף (comp. the verb הִטְרִיף in 30:8) is a strong expression for לֶחֶם, Proverbs 31:14 (comp. above in Proverbs 31:11, שָׁלָל, “spoil”).
Proverbs 31:16.—The K’thibh נְטַע, stat. constr. from נֶטָע, “planting,” Is. 5:7, is undoubtedly to be preferred to the K’ri נָטְעָה, notwithstanding all the old versions prefer the latter (see BERTHEAU and HITZIG on the passage). [BÖTT. defends the Masoretic reading, and renders as a verb.]
Ver.21.—[The short form of the part. לְבֻשׁ seems to be explained and justified by the close connection of words and the sequence of שׁ. BÖTT., § 994, 6.—A.]
Proverbs 31:27.—Instead of the K’thibh הִילְכוֹת we must either with the K’ri read הֲלִיכוֹת, or regard the former as an Aramaic collateral form (הִלְכָּה) for הֲלָכוֹת.
Proverbs 31:30.—יִרְאַת before יְהוָֹה is here the stat. constr. not of the abstract substantive יִרְּאָה, but from the fem. part. יְרֵאָה, “the woman who feareth.”
1. Proverbs 31:1. The superscription to Lemuel’s discourse.—Words of Lemuel, king of Massa.—That we must, in disregard of the Masoretic pointing, connect the “Massa” with the first clause, and regard it as a genitive governed by the מֶלֶךְ, which has no article, was the right view taken as early as the Syriac version, when it interprets the מֶלֶךְ מַשָּׂא by “king of utterance” (regis prophetæ). We ought, however, here, as in Proverbs 30:1, to regard מַשָּׂא rather as the name of a country, and Lemuel, the king of the land, as perhaps a brother of Agur, and consider his mother as the same wise princess who was there designated as “ruler of Massa.” To her therefore belong properly and originally the counsels and instructions for kings contained in Proverbs 31:1–9. And yet, since Lemuel first reduced them to writing, and so transmitted them to posterity, they may well be called also “words of Lemuel,”—a title which there is therefore no need of altering (with HITZIG) to “words to Lemuel.” The name “Lemuel,” or, as it is written in Proverbs 31:4 by the punctuators, “ Lemuel,” appears furthermore to be quite as properly a genuine Hebrew formation as “Agur” (see above, Exeg. notes on chap. 30, No. 2). It is probably only a fuller form for that which occurs in Numb. 3:24 as an Israelitish masculine name, לָאֵל, “to God, for God” (Deo deditus). That it is purely a symbolical appellative designation, a circumscribing of the name Solomon, and that accordingly by the “mother of Lemuel” no other than Bathsheba is intended, this opinion of many old expositors (and recently of SCHELLING, ROSENMUELLER. [WORDS.], etc.) lacks all further corroboration. [The impossibility of regarding מֶלֶךְ without an article as an appositive of לְמוּאֵל, even though מַשָּׂא be not a limiting genitive, but an appositive to דִּבְרֵי, is not admitted by those who defend the prevailing interpretation of Proverbs 31:1. The construction is admitted to be exceptional, but claimed to be possible (see, e.g., GREEN, § 247, a). HITZIG, BERTHEAU, Z. and others make this one chief reason for seeking a new rendering. Another is the peculiar use of מַשָּׂא out of prophecy, and as an appositive to the sufficient and more appropriate דִּבְרֵי. Here as in 30:1 KAMPH. retains the ordinary meaning of מַשָּׂא, while S., here as there, follows HITZIG.—A.] In regard to the peculiar linguistic character of the section Proverbs 31:1–9, which in many points agrees with Agur’s discourse [and in which BÖTTCHER again recognizes a Simeonitish cast], see above, p. 246.
2. Proverbs 31:2–9. The rules of wisdom from Lemuel’s mother.—Oh my son! Oh thou son of my womb! etc.—The thrice repeated מָה, usually “what”—which LUTHER appropriately rendered by “Ach!” is plainly “an impassioned exclamation expressing the inward emotion of the mother’s heart at the thought that the son might possibly fall into an evil way ” (ELSTER); it is therefore substantially “What, my son, wilt thou do?” or “How, my son, wilt thou suffer thyself to be betrayed?” etc.—With “son of my vows” comp. 1 Sam. 1:11.
Proverbs 31:3. Give not thy strength to women—i.e., do not sacrifice it to them, do not give thy manly strength and vigor a prey to them. It is naturally the ways of licentiousness that are intended, which ruin physically and morally kings and princes who give themselves up to them. See Critical notes.
Proverbs 31:4. This warning against licentiousness is immediately followed by a dissuasion from drunkenness, which is naturally closely connected with the preceding.—Also not for princes (is wine) or strong drink.—See Critical notes. For שֵׁכָר, “mead, strong drink,” comp. notes on 20:1.—[GESEN., BÖTT., DE W., H., N., S., M., etc., would render by “desire,” if the K’thibh is followed, which they are disposed to do. The K’ri, pointing אֵו, suggests either the interrogative אֵי, “where,” or an abbreviated form of the negative אֵין. FUERST renders אוֹ as an interrogative here.—A.]
Proverbs 31:5. Lest he drink and forget the law—i.e., the king, who is here in question. The construction (“drink and forget” instead of “drinking forget”) is like that in Proverbs 30:9.—And pervert the judgment of all the sons of want—i.e., of all the poor and helpless. For the Piel שִׁנָּה, “in deterius mutare, to distort, wrest, destroy,” comp. Job 14:20. For the sentiment comp. PLINY, Hist. Nat., XXIII. 25: In proverbiam cessit sapientiam vino obumbrari. [It has become proverbial that wisdom is clouded by wine.]
Proverbs 31:6, 7. The enjoyment of wine and strong drink is seasonable in its cheering influence upon the sorrowful, whom it is desirable to cause to forget their sorrow; comp. Ps. 104:15; Matth. 27:34.—Give strong drink to him who is perishing—the man who is on the point of perishing, who is just expiring, as Job 29:13; 31:19: “the heavy in heart” are afflicted, anxious ones, as in Job 3:20; 1 Sam. 22:2, etc. [That even these be made to drink to unconsciousness is not the recommendation, but that in their extremity, physical or mental, wine be given to fulfil its office in imparting elasticity, and increasing power of endurance, and taking the crushing weight from calamities that might otherwise be overwhelming. As there is a misuse pointed out before in drinking to the destruction of kingly competence and the thwarting of kingly duty, self-indulgence, sinful excitement and excess overmastering reason and conscience,—so it is a kingly grace to bear others’ burdens by ministries of helpful kindness. As on the one hand there is nothing here to preclude the pressing of other pleas for abstinence, so on the other there is nothing to encourage the too early and willing resort to the plea of necessity, or to commend in any case drinking to utter oblivion.—A.]
Proverbs 31:8, 9. Continuation of the exhortation, commenced in Proverbs 31:5, to a righteous and merciful administration.—Open thy mouth for the dumb.—That is, help such to their right as are not able to maintain it for themselves; be to them a judge and at the same time an advocate (comp. Job 29:15, 16).—For the right of all orphan children.—“Sons of leaving, of abandonment or disadvantage” (not of “destruction,” as EWALD and BERTHEAU would interpret here, with a reference to Ps. 90:5; Is. 2:18), are clearly those left behind as helpless orphans; the word therefore conveys a more specific idea than the “sons of want” in Proverbs 31:5.
3. The praise of the virtuous matron (Proverbs 31:10–31) is an alphabetic moral poem (like Ps. 9, 10, 25, 34, 119; Lam. 1–4, etc.), “a golden A B C for women” according to DÖDERLEIN’S pertinent designation, a highly poetic picture of the ideal of a Hebrew matron. Not the alphabetic structure indeed, which it has in common with, not a few Psalms of high antiquity, partly such as come from David (comp. DELITZSCH, Psalms 1:69; 2:187), but very probably some traces that are contained in it of a later usus loquendi, especially the more frequent scriptio plena, even apart from the distinctive accents (comp. HITZIG, p. 334), and also in particular the position assigned it by the compiler, even after Hezekiah’s supplement and Agur’s and Lemuel’s discourse, mark the poem as a literary work produced quite late after Solomon’s time, and even as probably the latest constituent of the whole collection. Although separated from the “words of Lemuel” by no superscription of its own, it shows itself to be the work of a different person from the wise prince of Massa, and that probably a later poet, by its not sharing the linguistic idioms of that section, and by the whole of its characteristic bearing and structure. Besides, in its contents and general drift it does not stand in any particularly close and necessary connection with the maxims of wisdom from the mother of Lemuel. And that it has by no means steadily from the beginning held its place immediately after these, appears with great probability from the fact that the LXX attach it directly to 29:27, and give to the proverbs of Agur and Lemuel an earlier place (within the limits of the present 24th chapter), Comp. Introd., § 13, p. 30.
With the greatest arbitrariness, R. STIER (Politik der Weisheit, pp. 134 sq.) has felt constrained to interpret the matron of this poem allegorically, and to make the application to the Holy Spirit renewing men and educating them for the kingdom of God. The whole attitude of the section speaks against such an interpretation, most of all the praise bestowed in Proverbs 31:23 sq. upon the influence of the matron as advancing the standing of her husband in the political organization of the State, as well as what is said in Proverbs 31:30 of the fear of God as her most eminent virtue. Comp. VON HOFMANN, Schriftbew., II., 2, 378. [According to WORDSW. we find here a prophetic representation of the Church of Christ, in her truth, purity and holiness, and as distinguished from all forms of error, corruption and defilement, which sully and mar the faith and worship which he has prescribed.“—A.]
4. Proverbs 31:10–22. The action and management of the virtuous woman within her domestic sphere. A virtuous woman, who can find? The “virtuous woman,” as in 12:4; Proverbs 11:16. [The transition is easy, from physical strength to moral strength and probity. The word “virtuous” is therefore to be taken in this high sense.—A.]. The interrogative exclamation “who will find?” express the idea of a wish, as מִי יִתֵּן does elsewhere; it is therefore equivalent to “would that every one might find so gracious a treasure!”—And yet her price is far above pearls. The “and” at the beginning of this clause is either the exegetical, “that is, that is to say,” as in 25:13, etc. (thus HITZIG), or, which seems to be more natural, the adversative “and yet, however” (EWALD, ELSTER). For the figure comp. 3:10; 8:11. [THOMSON, Land and Book, II. 572 sq. illustrates the force and fitness of the successive points in this description in contrast with the ordinary ignorance, weakness and worthlessness of the women of the East,—A.]
Proverbs 31:11. And he shall not fail of gain. שָׁלָל, strictly “the spoil of war,” is a strong expression to describe the rich profit to which the co-operation of the efficient wife helps her husband’s activity in his occupation. According to HITZIG, “spoil, fortunate discovery,” is to be taken here as in Ps. 119:162; Isa. 9:2, figuratively, and to be interpreted of the joy which the wife prepares for her husband (?).
Proverbs 31:12. She doeth him good and not evil. Comp. 1 Sam. 24:12.
Proverbs 31:13. She careth for wool and linen; lit., “she seeketh (busieth herself with) wool and linen,” i.e, she provides these as materials for the products of her feminine skill.—And worketh with diligent hands; lit., “and laboreth with her hands’ pleasure” (UMBREIT, EWALD, ELSTER) [DE W., K., E. V., N., S., M.], or inasmuch as חֵפֶץ might here signify “occupation” (as in Is. 58:3; Eccles. 3:17); “and laboreth in the business of her hands” (HITZIG).
Proverbs 31:14. She is like the ships of the merchant, so far forth as she selling her products to foreigners (Proverbs 31:24), brings in gain from remote regions (comp. b), and provides long in advance for all the necessities of her house.
Proverbs 31:15. And distributeth food to her house. The “portion” of the next clause is not a possible synonym for the “food” of this, so that it should denote the definite allowance of food, the rations of the maidens (LUTHER, BERTHEAU [E. V., S., M.] etc.); what is described by it is the definite pensum, what each maid has to spin of wool, flax, etc., and therefore the day’s work of the maidens (EWALD, UMBREIT, HITZIG [DE W., K., H., N.] etc.).
Proverbs 31:16. She considereth a field and buyeth it, that is, for the money earned by her diligent manual labor.—A vineyard (Z. “a vineyard-planting”) with the fruit of her hands. A “planting of a vineyard” (genit. apposit.) is however the same as a planting of vines. See Critical Notes for another construction and rendering.
Proverbs 31:17. Comp. Proverbs 31:25 a.
Proverbs 31:18. She perceiveth that her gain is good. For this verb טָעַם “to taste,” i.e., to discern, to become aware, comp. Ps. 34:9. For the succeeding phrase, “excellent, charming is her gain,” comp. 3:14. What she now does in consequence of this perception of the pleasing nature of her gain, is shown in the 2d clause.
Proverbs 31:19. She putteth her hands to the distaff. This is the usual rendering. But probably HITZIG’S rendering is more exact (following VATABL., MERCERUS, GESEN., etc.): “Her hands she throweth out with the whorl,” for פִישׁוֹר is not properly the “distaff,” but the ‘whorl, or wheel,’ verticulum, “a ring or knob fastened upon the spindle below the middle, that it may fall upon its base, and may revolve rightly.” [KAMPH. rejects this explanation, and gives an extract of some length from a “Book of Inventions, Trades and Industries,” to justify his own, which is the old view. The word translated “fingers” is literally her “bent hands.”—A.]
Proverbs 31:20. Her hand she stretcheth forth to the poor, lit., “her hollow, or bent hand,” in which she holds her gift.
Proverbs 31:21. She is not afraid of the snow for her household, lit., “feareth not for her house from’ snow.” The snow stands here for “winter’s cold,” and for this reason,—that the sharpest possible contrast is intended with the clothes of “crimson wool,” woolen stuffs of crimson color with which her household go clothed in winter. The same alliterative antithesis of שָׁנִים and שֶׁלֶג is found in Is. 1:18.—UMBREIT, EWALD, BERTHEAU, S., etc., render שָׁנִים incorrectly by “purple garments” (see in objection to this BAEHR’S Symbolik des Mosaischen Cultus, I. 333 sq.), while the LXX, LUTHER, ROSENM., VAIHINGER, II., etc., read שְׁנַיִם (vestimenta duplicia, “double clothing”), by which the strong contrast is sacrificed.
Proverbs 31:22. Coverlets doth she prepare for herself. For the “coverlets” comp. 7:16. An article of clothing can be intended no more here than there. In the costly articles of apparel which the woman wears, the contrasted colors, white and purple, recur again. The byssus (COPT, schensch) and the “purple” (reddish purple in contrast with the (violet) “bluish purple” תְּכֵלֶת) are both foreign materials, the one an Egyptian, the other a Syro-phœnician production.—Comp. BAEHR, ubi supra; WINER in his Realwörterb. Articles Baumwolle and Purpur.
5. Proverbs 31:23–31. The influence of the matron beyond the narrow sphere of the domestic life.—Her husband is well known in the gates, because the excellence of his wife not only makes him rich but important and famous. With this being “known in the gates,” see also Proverbs 31:31 b (i.e., well known in counsel), comp. HOMER’S: ἐναρίθμιος ἐνἰ βουλῇ, Iliad ii. 202.
Proverbs 31:24. She maketh fine linen, etc. סָדִין = σινδών (comp. LXX here and in Judg. 14:12) fine linen and shirts made of it (comp. Mark 14:51; Is. 3:23, and HITZIG on this passage).—And girdles doth she give to the merchant, lit, to “the Canaanite,” the Phœnician merchant, who knows well how to prize her fine products, and to dispose of them.
Proverbs 31:25. With a comp. Proverbs 31:17; Job. 24:14.—She laugheth at the future. In reliance on her ample stores, and still more her; inward strength and skill, she laughs at the future as respects the evil that it may perchance bring. [E. V.: “She shall rejoice in time to come;” H., M., W.; while DE W., K., BERTHEAU, MUFFET, N., S., etc., take our author’s view. This “laughing at the future” is of course not to be understood as expressive of a presumptuous self-confidence, but only of a consciousness of having all appropriate and possible preparation and competence for the future.—A.]
Proverbs 31:26. Her mouth she openeth with wisdom. HITZIG well says: “The mouth, which in 25 a, is smiling, is here a speaker.”—The “law of kindness” in b is not “amiable, loving instruction, but that which is pleasing, gracious;” comp. Is. 40:6; and especially Luke 4:22 (λόγοι τῆς χάριτος).
Proverbs 31:27. She looketh well to the ways of her household; lit. “she who looketh,” etc.—for the partic. צוֹפִיָּה is probably to be connected, as HITZIG takes it, as grammatically an appositive to the subject of the preceding verse, so that according to this view, it is now the object of her pleasing instruction that is given. The “ways of the house ” are naturally its organization and management, the course of the household economy (comp. LUTHER: “How it goes in her house”).
Proverbs 31:28, 29 describe the praise which the excellent housekeeper has bestowed upon her by her sons and her husband. The words of the latter are expressly quoted, but they are probably not to be extended through the last three verses (as UMBREIT, EWALD, ELSTER, etc., would do), but to be restricted to Proverbs 31:29; for verse 30 immediately separates itself as a proposition altogether general, by which the poet comes in with his confirmation of the husband’s praise. [So DE W., BERTHEAU, K., N., S., M.].—Many daughters have done virtuously. The husband says “daughters” and not “ women,” because as an elder he may put himself above his wife (comp. Heb. 7:7). With the phrase “have done virtuously, or show themselves virtuous,” lit. “make, produce, manifest virtue,” comp. Num. 24:18; Ruth 4:11.
Proverbs 31:30. Grace is a deception, beauty a breath; both are no real abiding attributes of man, and are, therefore, not to be praised. As an imperishable and therefore really praiseworthy possession, there is contrasted with them in b the disposition to fear God. Comp. Is. 40:6; Ps. 103:15–18; 1 Pet. 1:24, 25. [Observe how our book just at its close dwells in a very different way, yet with a significant emphasis, upon that “fear of the Lord,” which in 1:7 was pronounced “the beginning of wisdom.”—A.]
Proverbs 31:31. Give her of the fruit of her hands, i.e., of the praise which she has deserved by the labor of her hands.—And let her work praise her in the gates [not with Z., “let them praise her work in the gates,” for the verb has its object in its suffix.—A.]. In the place where the population of the city gathers in largest numbers, in the assembly of the community at the gate (Proverbs 31:23), there must the praise of her excellent life and work resound.
DOCTRINAL, ETHICAL, HOMILETIC AND PRACTICAL
The central idea to which we may trace back the two divisions of this concluding chapter, quite unequal, it is true, in their size, is this: Of a pious administration, as the king should maintain it in the State, and the woman in her family. For the fear of God quite as really constitutes the foundation of the virtues of chastity, sobriety, righteousness and compassion, to which Lemuel’s mother counsels this son of her’s (Proverbs 31:2–9), as it, according to Proverbs 31:30, forms the deepest basis and the glorious crown of the excellenses for which the virtuous matron is praised (Proverbs 31:10 sq). It has already been brought out prominently in the exegetical comments, that the delineation which is shaped in praise of the latter, in turn falls into two divisions (which are only relatively different),—the first of which treats of the efficiency of the virtuous woman within the circle of her domestic relations, the second of her activity as extending itself beyond this sphere into wider regions.
Homily on the chapter as a whole:—Of the pious administration of the king in his State and the woman in her household; what both should shun and what they should strive for, with an exhibition of the blessed reward that awaits both. Or, more briefly: A mirror for rulers and a mirror for matrons, with the fear of God as the centre and focus of both.—STÖCKER: I. Instruction of Solomon the king by his mother. a) To be shunned: lust and drunkenness. b) To be practised: justice. II. Praise of a virtuous woman. 1) Her duties or general virtues; 2) her ornaments or special virtues (Proverbs 31:25–27); 3) her reward (Proverbs 31:28–31).
Proverbs 31:1–9. Tübingen Bible (on Proverbs 31:1): How good is the report when parents, especially mothers, teach their children good morals. It is the greatest love that they can show them, but also their foremost duty!—GEIER (on Proverbs 31:2): If parents have dedicated their children from birth to the Lord, they must so much more carefully educate them from youth up, and so much more diligently pray for them.—(On Proverbs 31:3): Let every husband be content with the wife conferred upon him by God, let him live with her chastely and discreetly, and serve God heartily; that is a truly noble, kingly life.—STARKE (on Proverbs 31:6, 7): A draught of wine which is bestowed on a suffering member of Christ’s body on his sick or dying bed is better appropriated than whole casks that are misemployed for indulgence.—VON GERLACH (on Proverbs 31:8, 9): The highest duty of kings is to befriend the helpless.
Proverbs 31:10 sq. LUTHER: There is nothing dearer on earth than woman’s love to him who can gain it. Comp. also P. GERHARD’S poetical treatment of the passage, “Voller Wunder, voller Kunst, etc. (Gesamm. geistl. Lieder,” No. 107).—MELANCHTHON: As virtues of the true matron there are named, above all the fear of God as the sum of all duties to God; then chastity, fidelity, love to her husband without any murmuring; diligence and energy in all domestic avocations; frugality, moderation and gentleness in the treatment of servants; care in the training of children, and beneficence to the poor.—ZELTNER (on Proverbs 31:11 sq.): God gives to pious married people their subsistence and their needed bit of bread, yea, He blesses them, yet not without prayer and work.—[ARNOT: Empty hours, empty hands, empty companions, empty words, empty hearts, draw in evil spirits, as a vacuum draws in air. To be occupied with good is the best defence against the inroads of evil].—GEIER (on Proverbs 31:23): A pious virtuous wife is her husband’s ornament and honor (1 Cor. 11:7). A vicious one, however, is a stain in every way (Ecclesiast. 25:22 sq.).—[ARNOT (on Proverbs 31:25): If honor be your clothing, the suit will last a lifetime; but if clothing be your honor, it will soon be worn threadbare].
Proverbs 31:30, 31. LUTHER (marginal, on Proverbs 31:30): A woman can dwell with a man honorably and piously and be mistress of his house with a good conscience, but must to this end and with this fear God, trust and pray.—CRAMER: The fear of God is the most beautiful of all ornaments of woman’s person; 1 Pet. 3:4.—ZELTNER: If thou hast outward beauty see to it that thy heart and soul also be beautified before God in faith.—[TRAPP: The body of honor is virtue, the soul of it humility.—ARNOT: True devotion is chiefly in secret; but the bulk of a believer’s life is laid out in common duties, and cannot be hid. Lift up your heart to God and lay out your talents for the world; lay out your talents for the world and lift up your heart to God].—STARKE (on Proverbs 31:31): Works of piety and love preserve among men a good remembrance, and are also rewarded by God of His grace ins everlasting joy; Heb. 6:10; Ps. 61:6. My God, let my works also graciously please Thee in Christ Jesus.
The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.