A A A A A
Bible Book List

Proverbs 31 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Words of Lemuel

31 The words of King Lemuel,
an oracle[a] that his mother taught him:

What should I say, my son?
What, son of my womb?
What, son of my vows?
Don’t spend your energy on women
or your efforts on those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine
or for rulers to desire beer.
Otherwise, they[b] will drink,
forget what is decreed,
and pervert justice for all the oppressed.[c]
Give beer to one who is dying
and wine to one whose life is bitter.
Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty
and remember his trouble no more.
Speak up[d] for those who have no voice,[e]
for the justice of all who are dispossessed.[f]
Speak up,[g] judge righteously,
and defend the cause of[h] the oppressed and needy.

In Praise of a Capable Wife

10 Who can find a capable wife?[i]
She is far more precious than jewels.[j]
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will not lack anything good.
12 She rewards him with good, not evil,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and portions[k] for her female servants.
16 She evaluates a field and buys it;
she plants a vineyard with her earnings.[l]
17 She draws on her strength[m]
and reveals that her arms are strong.
18 She sees that her profits are good,
and her lamp never goes out at night.
19 She extends her hands to the spinning staff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 Her hands reach[n] out to the poor,
and she extends her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all in her household are doubly clothed.[o]
22 She makes her own bed coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known at the city gates,
where he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes and sells linen garments;
she delivers belts[p] to the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing,
and she can laugh at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom
and loving instruction[q] is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the activities of her household
and is never idle.[r]
28 Her sons rise up and call her blessed.
Her husband also praises her:
29 “Many women[s] are capable,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
31 Give her the reward of her labor,[t]
and let her works praise her at the city gates.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 31:1 Or of Lemuel, king of Massa, or of King Lemuel, a burden
  2. Proverbs 31:5 Lit he
  3. Proverbs 31:5 Lit sons of affliction
  4. Proverbs 31:8 Lit Open your mouth
  5. Proverbs 31:8 Lit who are mute
  6. Proverbs 31:8 Lit all the sons of passing away
  7. Proverbs 31:9 Lit Open your mouth
  8. Proverbs 31:9 Lit and justice for
  9. Proverbs 31:10 Or a wife of quality, or a wife of noble character
  10. Proverbs 31:10 Vv. 10-31 form an acrostic.
  11. Proverbs 31:15 Or tasks
  12. Proverbs 31:16 Or vineyard by her own labors
  13. Proverbs 31:17 Lit She wraps strength around her like a belt
  14. Proverbs 31:20 Lit Her hand reaches
  15. Proverbs 31:21 LXX, Vg; MT reads are dressed in scarlet
  16. Proverbs 31:24 Or sashes
  17. Proverbs 31:26 Or and the teaching of kindness
  18. Proverbs 31:27 Lit and does not eat the bread of idleness
  19. Proverbs 31:29 Lit daughters
  20. Proverbs 31:31 Lit the fruit of her hands

Proverbs 31 New International Version (NIV)

Sayings of King Lemuel

31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.

It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
  2. Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes