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Proverbs 31 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Words of King Lemuel’s Mother

31 The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

What, my son?
And what, son of my womb?
And what, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law,
And pervert the justice of all [a]the afflicted.
Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to those who are bitter of heart.
Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are [b]appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

The Virtuous Wife

10 Who[c] can find a [d]virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From [e]her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 31:5 Lit. sons of affliction
  2. Proverbs 31:8 Lit. sons of passing away
  3. Proverbs 31:10 Vv. 10–31 are an alphabetic acrostic in Hebrew; cf. Ps. 119
  4. Proverbs 31:10 Lit. a wife of valor, in the sense of all forms of excellence
  5. Proverbs 31:16 Lit. the fruit of her hands
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Words of Lemuel

31 The words of King Lemuel, the pronouncement which his mother taught him:

What, my son?
And what, son of my womb?
And what, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
Or your ways to that which destroys kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire intoxicating drink,
Otherwise they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the [a]rights of all the [b]needy.
Give intoxicating drink to one who is perishing,
And wine to one [c]whose life is bitter.
Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And remember his trouble no more.
Open your mouth for the people who cannot speak,
For the [d]rights of all the [e]unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And [f]defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Description of a Worthy Woman

10 An excellent wife, who can find her?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She looks for wool and linen,
And works with her [g]hands [h]in delight.
14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15 And she rises while it is still night
And gives food to her household,
And [i]portions to her attendants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From [j]her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She surrounds her waist with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her profit is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the [k]distaff,
And her [l]hands grasp the spindle.
20 She [m]extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And [n]supplies belts to the [o]tradesmen.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the [p]future.
26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the [q]teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the activities of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who [r]fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her the [s]product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 31:5 Lit judgment
  2. Proverbs 31:5 Lit sons of affliction
  3. Proverbs 31:6 Lit bitter of soul
  4. Proverbs 31:8 Lit judgment
  5. Proverbs 31:8 Lit sons of passing away
  6. Proverbs 31:9 Lit judge the afflicted
  7. Proverbs 31:13 Lit palms
  8. Proverbs 31:13 Or willingly
  9. Proverbs 31:15 Or prescribed tasks
  10. Proverbs 31:16 Lit the fruit of her palms
  11. Proverbs 31:19 I.e., the staff that holds the textile fibers for spinning
  12. Proverbs 31:19 Lit palms
  13. Proverbs 31:20 Lit spreads out her palm
  14. Proverbs 31:24 Lit gives
  15. Proverbs 31:24 Lit Canaanite
  16. Proverbs 31:25 Lit latter days
  17. Proverbs 31:26 Or law
  18. Proverbs 31:30 Or reveres
  19. Proverbs 31:31 Lit fruit
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The Words of Lemuel

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


What, O my [b]son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what [shall I advise you], O son of my vows?

Do not give your [generative] strength to women [neither foreign wives in marriages of alliances, nor [c]concubines],
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

Otherwise they drink and forget the law and its decrees,
And pervert the rights and justice of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.

Let him drink and forget his poverty
And no longer remember his trouble.

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all who are unfortunate and defenseless;

Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And administer justice for the afflicted and needy.

Description of a Worthy Woman

10 
[d]An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her?
Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.
11 
The heart of her husband trusts in her [with secure confidence],
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 
She comforts, encourages, and does him only good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 
She looks for wool and flax
And works with willing hands in delight.
14 
She is like the merchant ships [abounding with treasure];
She brings her [household’s] food from far away.
15 
She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And assigns tasks to her maids.
16 
She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently];
With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
17 
She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task]
And makes her arms strong.
18 
She sees that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out, but it burns continually through the night [she is prepared for whatever lies ahead].
19 
She stretches out her hands to the [e]distaff,
And her hands hold the spindle [as she spins wool into thread for clothing].
20 
She opens and extends her hand to the poor,
And she reaches out her filled hands to the needy.
21 
She does not fear the snow for her household,
For all in her household are clothed in [expensive] scarlet [wool].
22 
She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry.
Her clothing is linen, pure and fine, and purple [wool].
23 
Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 
She makes [fine] linen garments and sells them;
And supplies sashes to the merchants.
25 
Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure;
And she smiles at the future [knowing that she and her family are prepared].
26 
She opens her mouth in [skillful and godly] wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue [giving counsel and instruction].
27 
She looks well to how things go in her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 
Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired);
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying,
29 
“Many daughters have done nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness],
[f]But you excel them all.”
30 
Charm and grace are deceptive, and [superficial] beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the Lord [reverently worshiping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him with awe-filled respect], she shall be praised.
31 
Give her of the product of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city].

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 31:1 The identity of King Lemuel is uncertain; however, ancient Jewish tradition connects Lemuel with Solomon.
  2. Proverbs 31:2 This chapter consists of two poetic sections. The first (vv 2-9) details the qualities needed to be a wise ruler, and the second (vv 10-31) the qualities describing an excellent wife.
  3. Proverbs 31:3 See note Gen 22:24.
  4. Proverbs 31:10 The following verses are written as an acrostic poem (each of the twenty-two verses begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Aside from the artistry, the acrostic structure also aided memorization.
  5. Proverbs 31:19 I.e. the staff that holds the textile fibers for spinning.
  6. Proverbs 31:29 The source of this remarkable woman’s success and competence is revealed in v 30, and it is a source available to everyone. She is wise because she understands and puts into practice the message contained in 9:10.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

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.

Proverbs 31 King James Version (KJV)

31 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

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

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

Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

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