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Proverbs 31

Good words for a king

1 These are the serious words that King Lemuel's mother taught to him.

31:1Lemuel was not a king of Israel. But his name means ‘he belongs to God’.

2 You are the son that I prayed for. Let me tell you this.

3 Do not spend all your money on women. They have destroyed kings.

4 Listen, Lemuel. Kings should not drink wine. And rulers should not ask for alcohol.

5 When kings drink alcohol, they forget the rules. And they are not fair to poor people.

6 Alcohol is for people who are dying. And wine is for people who are very sad.

7 They should drink alcohol. Then they will forget that they are poor. And they will no longer remember that they are sad.

8 Speak on behalf of people that cannot speak on behalf of themselves. Watch over poor people. And supply what they need.

9 Speak on behalf of them and rule with wisdom. Watch over poor people. And supply what they need.

The wife who does all things well

31:9Verses 10-31 are a poem about a perfect wife.
31:9The original language of this poem is called Hebrew. This poem has a special structure because the poem uses the Hebrew alphabet. So, in Hebrew, verse 10 begins with the first letter of the alphabet. Verse 11 begins with the next letter. This structure continues until verse 31. Verse 31 begins with the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

10 How difficult it is to find a wife that does all things well! She is worth much more than valuable stones.

11 Her husband knows that she will help him. He will never be poor.

12 As long as she lives, she does only good things for him.

13 She is always busy. She makes cloth and she enjoys her work.

14 A ship brings food from all parts of the world. In the same way, she brings food from far away places.

15 She gets up while it is still night to prepare food for her family. She tells her servant women what they should do.

16 She thinks about a field and she buys it with her own money. And she plants fruit bushes to make wine.

17 She is strong and she works well.

18 She knows the cost of everything that she makes. And she works late into the night.

19 She makes her own cloth from the beginning to the end.

20 She gives money to poor people. And she helps people that need help.

21 All her family have warm clothes, so snow is not a problem.

22 She makes beautiful cloths to cover all her beds. She wears good clothes of beautiful colours.

23 Everybody in the city knows her husband. He is one of the rulers of the country.

24 She makes clothes and she sells them. Some men buy and sell all things. She makes belts to sell to them.

25 She is strong and future times have no problems for her. People think that she is great.

26 She speaks with wise words. And she teaches kind rules to people.

27 She is always busy. And every day she carefully watches everything that happens in her house.

28 Her children love her. They say that she is good. Her husband says that too.

29 He says, ‘Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all.’

30 A beautiful woman may not be honest. And she may not be beautiful when she is old. But all men speak well about a woman who is afraid of the LORD.

31 Give her the things that she herself has made. Remember her because of all that she has done. Everyone should speak well about her.