1 The words of King Lemuel,
an oracle that his mother taught him:
2 O my son, O son of my womb,
O son of my vows,
3 Do not give your strength to women,
nor your ways to that which ruins kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to crave strong drink,
5 lest they drink and forget what is decreed,
and remove from all the poor their legal rights.
6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those who are bitterly distressed;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty,
and remember their misery no more.
8 Open your mouth on behalf of those unable to speak,
for the legal rights of all the dying.
9 Open your mouth, judge in righteousness,
and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
The Wife of Noble Character
10 Who can find a wife of noble character?
For her value is far more than rubies.
11 The heart of her husband has confidence in her,
and he has no lack of gain.
12 She brings him good and not evil
all the days of her life.
13 She obtains wool and flax,
and she is pleased to work with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She also gets up while it is still night,
and provides food for her household and a portion to her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
from her own income she plants a vineyard.
17 She begins her work vigorously,
and she strengthens her arms.
18 She knows that her merchandise is good,
and her lamp does not go out in the night.
19 Her hands take hold of the distaff,
and her hands grasp the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hand to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
for all of her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes for herself coverlets;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is well-known in the city gate
when he sits with 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 honor,
and she can laugh at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and loving instruction is on her tongue.
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 praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done valiantly,
but you surpass them all!”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
31 Give her credit for what she has accomplished,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.