Proverbs 31:8
Open your mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
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(8) Open thy mouth for the dumb.—Who cannot from timidity or ignorance plead his own cause, and who would therefore be crushed by his antagonist.

Such as are appointed to destruction.—Certain to perish if left unaided. Comp. Job’s account of his exertions for victims of high-handed oppression, an ever recurring evil under weak despotic governments (Job 29:12, sqq.).

Proverbs 31:8. Open thy mouth — Speak freely and impartially, as becomes a king and a judge to do: for the dumb — For such as cannot speak in their own cause, either through ignorance, or because of the dread of their more potent adversaries. In the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction — Who, without such succour from the judges, are likely to be utterly ruined.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.In contrast with the two besetting sins of Eastern monarchs stands their one great duty, to give help to those who had no other helper.

Such as are appointed to destruction - literally, "children of bereavement," with the sense, either, as in the text, of those "destined to be bereaved of life or goods," or of "bereaved or fatherless children."

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).

Open thy mouth, speak freely and impartially, as becomes a king and judge to do, for the dumb; for such as cannot speak in their own cause, either through ignorance and infirmity, or because of the dread of their more potent adversaries, or of the majesty of the king sitting in judgment.

Such as are appointed to destruction; who without such succour from the judge are like to be utterly ruined, whom therefore both justice and charity oblige thee to preserve. 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.

Open thy mouth for the {g} dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.

(g) Defend their cause that are not able to help themselves.

8. for the dumb] for all who cannot plead their own cause.

such as are appointed to destruction] Lit. the sons of passing away. We may understand this either of those who are in danger of ruin by being condemned to loss of life or goods; or of those who are left desolate (R.V. text), and have no one to plead their cause. Comp. “the fatherless children and widows, and all that are desolate and oppressed.”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)." 2 What, my son? and what the son of my womb?

   And what, O son of my vows?!

The thrice repeated מה is completed by תּעשׂה (cf. Khler under Malachi 2:15), and that so that the question is put for the purpose of exciting attention: Consider well, my son, what thou wilt do as ruler, and listen attentively to my counsel (Fleischer). But the passionate repetition of מה would be only affectation if thus interpreted; the underlying thought must be of a subjective nature: what shall I say, אדבּר (vid., under Isaiah 38:15), what advise thee to do? The question, which is at the same time a call, is like a deep sigh from the heart of the mother concerned for the welfare of her son, who would say to him what is beneficial, and say it in words which strike and remain fixed. He is indeed her dear son, the son whom she carries in her heart, the son for whom with vows of thanksgiving she prayed to God; and as he was given her by God, so to His care she commits him. The name "Lemuel" is, as we interpret it, like the anagram of the fulfilment of the vows of his mother. בּרי bears the Aramaic shade in the Arameo-Arab. colouring of these proverbs from Massa; בּריהּ is common in the Aram., and particularly in the Talmudic, but it can scarcely be adduced in support of ברי. וּמה belongs to the 24, מה, with ח or ע not following; vid., the Masora to Exodus 32:1, and its correction by Norzi at Deuteronomy 29:23. We do not write וּמה־בּר; מה, with Makkeph and with Metheg, exclude one another.

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