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Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 31

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Chapter 31

Now the thirty-first proverb are,

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him ( Proverbs 31:1 ).

So these are really the words of King Lemuel's mother unto him. The advice of a godly mother to her prince son who one day is to reign over the people. There are those who think that Lemuel is indeed Solomon, and that these are the words of Bathsheba unto Solomon. Whether or not that is so is a matter of argument among the theologians, of which I have no desire to enter into. "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 destroys kings. For it is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; or for princes strong drink ( Proverbs 31:2-4 ):

Now in the scriptures, in the New Testament we find that wine was forbidden for a man who was an overseer in the church. "If any man desires the office of the bishop or an overseer, he desires a good thing. But he's not to be given to wine, no striker. Taking care of his own family," and so foRuth ( 1 Timothy 3:1 , 1 Timothy 3:4 ). So wine was prohibited for any person who has a position of leadership in overseeing in the church. Here we are told that wine is not for kings. Anyone in the ruling capacity. Why? Because God doesn't want your mind to be colored by any kind of a false stimulant. He doesn't want anything to cloud your judgment. He wants your mind to be perfectly clear.

God doesn't really want to communicate with a foggy mind. It's hard to communicate with people who come to you and who are on drugs or who are, say, drunk. You know that they don't know what they're really saying. You know that they don't really mean. You don't really know who you're talking to. You're not dealing with the real person. And to try to counsel them is futility, because you're not really dealing with the true issues and with the real person until their mind is totally clear.

I love having a clear mind. I love having a mind that is not under the influence of any outside kind of a stimulant or force or whatever. I love being able to think clearly. I can't understand why a person would want to fog up their mind or alter their conscious state. I love so much the clear ability to reason, to think, to see things clearly. I don't want to fog up my mind and perhaps destroy my ability of judgment. So as the king, wine wasn't for the king because it has the possible altered conscious state. The same was for the bishop, the overseer in the church. The same was true for the priest in the Old Testament when he offered sacrifices before the Lord. He wasn't to drink wine lest he be serving God under some kind of a false fire, a false stimulant. Aaron's sons were destroyed because of the false fire that they offered unto God, strange fire that they offered. And God doesn't want strange fire.

So these things are spoken, the mother was speaking to Lemuel and said, "Hey, wine isn't for kings or strong drink for princes."

Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted ( Proverbs 31:5 ).

Lest through your drinking your state of consciousness is altered and you are not clear in the judgment that you make.

Give strong drink to him who is ready to die, and wine unto those who are of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. But 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 the needy ( Proverbs 31:6-9 ).

So the exhortation of Lemuel's mother to him as he is to be a king over his judgment and in the responsibility that will be his in offering and in giving judgment.

Now who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies ( Proverbs 31:10 ).

So it is possible that at this point, if indeed this is Solomon, and Bathsheba's talking to him, it would with all of his wives, it would be interesting if he had found a virtuous woman among them. "Her price is far above rubies." Her description.

The heart of her husband does safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil ( Proverbs 31:11 ).

You just can trust your wife completely. It's so glorious to have a wife that you can have total trust in. You don't have to be suspicious. You don't have to be questioning. But you can just have that total confidence that they are true, that they are pure, that they are honest. Virtuous woman. Price is above far above rubies.

She will do him good and not evil all of his days. She seeks wool, and flax, works willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; in that she brings her food from afar ( Proverbs 31:12-14 ).

She shops the ads, gets the best buys from the various markets.

She rises up also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens ( Proverbs 31:15 ).


She considers a field, and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night ( Proverbs 31:16-18 ).

I mean, she is just a very industrious woman indeed.

She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretches out her hand to the poor; yea, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: all of her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land ( Proverbs 31:19-23 ).

Now the gates were an important place of a city, for the gates were the place of judgment. When persons had any kind of business to transact, legal business and all, they would always come into the gates of the city, and the men who sat in the gates of the city were the renowned men of the city and they would come to them for judgments. Her husband is known in the gates. He sits along the elders of the land.

She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles to the merchant. Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, beauty is vain: but a woman that reverences the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates ( Proverbs 31:24-31 ).

What a beautiful, beautiful tribute to the woman. To the truly beautiful woman. The one that God honors because she honors God. Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband praises her. Guys, aren't we lucky that all of us have found these beautiful women? How thankful we are to God for our wives. What a blessing they are to us. What a value. What a joy. What an asset. You couldn't buy her with rubies. Her value is far above them. What an asset they are to the husband, to the family and to God. Thank God for a virtuous wife. Over and over I thank God for Kay and what she means to me and what she means to our family. How privileged. And each one of you men, as you think of that wife that God has given to you, a precious jewel indeed.

We are told in the scriptures, cherish her, nourish her, love her, even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Thank God. What a beautiful picture we have here.

But this verse, for you young ladies, "Favor is deceitful, beauty is vain." Some of you are bemoaning the fact, "Oh, I'm not beautiful." It seems like there are very, very, very few women who are satisfied with their looks. Most women think of themselves as rather ugly. Most women have a low self-esteem. Very, very few women. There are some but they are rare who really think that they are beautiful, and those that think they are beautiful are usually odious. They're hard to be around. They're intolerable. A woman who really thinks she's beautiful. You don't want her. You'll never be able to keep her up. But the true beauty.

So don't worry if God hasn't put the perfect face on you, because beauty is deceitful, favor is deceitful, beauty is vain. It's empty. And it's so true. You listen to some of these Hollywood beauties and what's more empty than the head of a Hollywood beauty queen? Some of those that primp and think they're so beautiful and are posing constantly. But you listen to their words and they just express the empty head. They never had to think. You see, everybody is always flattering them and all. And they've never had to really develop character. And they're about as shallow as you can be. You just listen to them talk and you find out how empty and shallow they are. They've never seen any need for developing character. Beauty is vain.

But a woman who really reverences the Lord, a woman who lives a godly life. A woman who loves the Lord. There's nothing more beautiful in all of the world than a woman who is righteous and loves God. Oh, how beautiful. That's true beauty. You see that woman who is relating to God, the beautiful life is the one that is in the right relationship with the Lord. "The woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

You guys that are looking for a gal, don't look for the pretty face. You're liable to find an empty head. Look for the one who knows how to pray. Look for the one who is interested in the things of the Lord. Look for that one who is seeking God and seeking her life to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. You'll have a wife that will be true and faithful and loving and glorious all of your life. You'll be happy. She is the one that you're really wanting. She shall be praised. But you know, God is so good that God makes them to look more beautiful to us than anybody else anyhow. That's just God's little plus benefit.

Father, we thank You for the wisdom, the instruction, the knowledge that You have given to us even in these little pithy sayings and in the proverbs. We thank You, Lord, that we can learn how to live through Thy Word. What to seek and what to shun. And help us, Lord, to seek Thee. Thy kingdom, Thy righteousness above everything else. Now Lord, hide away in our heart these truths. And may they become the guiding principles of our lives. In Jesus' name. Amen. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 31". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-31.html. 2014.
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