Proverbs 31:7
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

King James Bible
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

American Standard Version
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Let them drink, and forget their want, and remember their sorrow no more.

English Revised Version
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

Webster's Bible Translation
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

Proverbs 31:7 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament


1 Words of Lemuel the king,

   The utterance wherewith his mother warned him.

Such would be the superscription if the interpunction of the text as it lies before us were correct. But it is not possibly right. For, notwithstanding the assurance of Ewald, 277b, למואל מלך, nevertheless, as it would be here used, remains an impossibility. Certainly under circumstances an indeterminate apposition can follow a proper name. That on coins we read מתתיה כהן גדול or נרון קיסר is nothing strange; in this case we also use the words "Nero, emperor," and that we altogether omit the article shows that the case is singular: the apposition wavers between the force of a generic and of a proper name. A similar case is the naming of the proper name with the general specification of the class to which this or that one bearing the name belongs in lists of persons, as e.g., 1 Kings 4:2-6, or in such expressions as, e.g., "Damascus, a town," or "Tel Hum, a castle," and the like; here we have the indefinite article, because the apposition is a simple declaration of the class.

(Note: Thus it is also with the examples of indeterminate gentilicia, which Riehm makes valid for למואל מלך (for he translates למואל symbolically, which, however, syntactically makes no difference): "As analogous to 'Lemuel, a king,' one may adduce 'Jeroboam, son of Nebat, an Ephrathite,' 1 Kings 11:26, instead of the usual form 'the Ephrathite;'" and בן־ימיני, Psalm 7:1, for בן הימיני; on the contrary, כהן, 1 Kings 4:5, does not belong to the subject, but is the pred.)

But would the expression, "The poem of Oscar, a king," be proper as the title of a book? Proportionally more so than "Oscar, king;" but also that form of indeterminate apposition is contrary to the usus loq., especially with a king with whom the apposition is not a generic name, but a name of honour. We assume that "Lemuel" is a symbolical name, like "Jareb" in "King Jareb," Hosea 5:13; Hosea 10:6; so we would expect the phrase to be מלך למואל(ה) rather than למואל מלך. The phrase "Lemuel, king," here in the title of this section of the book, sounds like a double name, after the manner of עבר מלך in the book of Jeremiah. In the Greek version also the phrase Λεμουέλου βασιλέως (Venet.) is not used as syntactically correct without having joined to the βασιλέως a dependent genitive such as τῶν Αράβων, while none of the old translators, except Jerome, take the words למואל מלך together in the sense of Lamuelis regis. Thus מלך משּׂא are to be taken together, with Hitzig, Bertheau, Zckler, Mhlau, and Dchsel, against Ewald and Kamphausen; משׂא, whether it be a name of a tribe or a country, or of both at the same time, is the region ruled over by Lemuel, and since this proper name throws back the determination which it has in itself on מלך, the phrase is to be translated: "Words of Lemuel the king of Massa" (vid., under Proverbs 30:1). If Aquila renders this proper name by Λεμμοῦν, Symmachus by Ἰαμουήλ, Theodotion by Ρεβουήλ, the same arbitrariness prevails with reference to the initial and terminal sound of the word, as in the case of the words Ἀμβακούμ, Βεελζεβούλ, Βελίαρ. The name למוּאל sounds like the name of Simeon's first-born, ימוּאל, Genesis 46:10, written in Numbers 26:12 and 1 Chronicles 4:24 as נמוּאל; יואל also appears, 1 Chronicles 4:35, as a Simeonite name, which Hitzig adduces in favour of his view that משׂא was a North Arab. Simeonite colony. The interchange of the names ימואל and נמואל is intelligible if it is supposed that ימואל (from ימה equals ימא) designates the sworn (sworn to) of God, and נמואל (from נם Mishnic equals נאם)

(Note: In the Midrash Koheleth to Proverbs 1:1, the name Lemuel (as a name of Solomon) is explained: he who has spoken to God in his heart.)

the expressed (addressed) of God; here the reference of ימו and נמו to verbal stems is at least possible, but a verb למּה is found only in the Arab., and with significations inus. But there are two other derivations of the name: (1) The verb (Arab.) waâla signifies to hasten (with the infin. of the onomatop. verbs waniyal, like raḥyal, walking, because motion, especially that which is tumultuous, proceeds with a noise), whence mawnil, the place to which one flees, retreat. Hence למוּאל or למואל, which is in this case to be assumed as the ground-form, might be formed from אל מואל, God is a refuge, with the rejection of the א. This is the opinion of Fleischer, which Mhlau adopts and has established, p. 38-41; for he shows that the initial א is not only often rejected where it is without the support of a full vocal, e.g., נחנוּ equals אנחנוּ, lalah equals ilalah (Deus), but that this aphaeresis not seldom also occurs where the initial has a full vocal, e.g., לעזר equals אלעזר, laḥmaru equals âllahmaru (ruber), laḥsâ equals âl-laḥsâ (the name of a town); cf. also Blau in Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xxv. 580. But this view is thus acceptable and tenable; a derivation which spares us by a like certainty the supposition of such an abbreviation established only by the late Palestinian לעזר, Λάζαρος, might well desire the preference. (2) Fleischer himself suggests another derivation: "The signification of the name is Deo consecratus, למו, poetic for ל, as also in Proverbs 31:4 it is to be vocalized למואל after the Masora." The form למואל is certainly not less favourable to that first derivation than to this second; the is in both cases an obscuration of the original. But that "Lemuel" may be explained in this second way is shown by "Lael," Numbers 3:24 (Olshausen, 277d).

(Note: Simonis has also compared Aethiopic proper names, such as Zakrestos, Zaiasus. Zamikal, Zamariam.)

It is a beautiful sign for King Lemuel, and a verification of his name, that it is he himself by whom we receive the admonition with which his mother in her care counselled him when he attained to independent government. אשׁר connects itself with דברי, after we have connected משׂא with מלך; it is accus. of the manner to יסּרתּוּ equals יסּרתהוּ; cf. הטּתּוּ, Proverbs 7:21, with גּמלתהוּ, Proverbs 31:12 : wherewith (with which words) she earnestly and impressively admonished him. The Syr. translates: words of Muel, as if ל were that of the author. "Others as inconsistently: words to Lemuel - they are words which is himself ought to carry in his mouth as received from his mother" (Fleischer).

The name "Massa," is it here means effatum, would be proportionally more appropriate for these "Words" of Lemuel than for the "Words" of Agur, for the maternal counsels form an inwardly connected compact whole. They begin with a question which maternal love puts to itself with regard to the beloved son whom she would advise:

Proverbs 31:7 Parallel Commentaries

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Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Cross References
Proverbs 31:6
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress;

Proverbs 31:8
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.

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