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ESV — Proverbs 31

The Words of King Lemuel

31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

What are you doing, my son?1 What are you doing, fson of my womb?

What are you doing, gson of my vows?

Do hnot give your strength to women,

your ways to those iwho destroy kings.

jIt is not for kings, O Lemuel,

it is not for kings kto drink wine,

or for rulers to take lstrong drink,

lest they drink and forget what has been decreed

and mpervert the rights of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink to the one who nis perishing,

and wine to othose in bitter distress;2

plet them drink and forget their poverty

and remember their misery no more.

qOpen your mouth for the mute,

for the rights of all who are destitute.3

Open your mouth, rjudge righteously,

sdefend the rights of tthe poor and needy.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10  4 uAn excellent wife who can find?

She is far more precious than vjewels.

11  The heart of her husband trusts in her,

and he will have no lack of gain.

12  She does him good, and not harm,

all the days of her life.

13  She wseeks wool and flax,

and works with willing hands.

14  She is like the ships of the merchant;

she brings her food from afar.

15  She xrises while it is yet night

and yprovides food for her household

and portions for her maidens.

16  She considers a field and buys it;

with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

17  She zdresses herself5 with strength

and makes her arms strong.

18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

Her lamp does not go out at night.

19  She puts her hands to the distaff,

and her hands hold the spindle.

20  She aopens her hand to bthe poor

and reaches out her hands to bthe needy.

21  She is not afraid of snow for her household,

for all her household are clothed in cscarlet.6

22  She makes dbed coverings for herself;

her clothing is efine linen and fpurple.

23  Her husband is known in gthe gates

when he sits among the elders of the land.

24  She makes hlinen garments and sells them;

she delivers sashes to the merchant.

25  iStrength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come.

26  She opens her mouth with wisdom,

and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27  She looks well to 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 jwomen have done kexcellently,

but you surpass them all.”

30  lCharm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31  Give her of the fruit of her hands,

and let her works praise her in the gates.

Footnotes

[1] 31:2 Hebrew What, my son?
[2] 31:6 Hebrew those bitter in soul
[3] 31:8 Hebrew are sons of passing away
[4] 31:10 Verses 10–31 are an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet
[5] 31:17 Hebrew She girds her loins
[6] 31:21 Or in double thickness