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This chapter, like the former, is styled a prophecy. And whether written, as some think, by Solomon, and others not; yet as in form and manner it is exactly like the former, it forms a very proper conclusion to the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
Many construe Lemuel, for Solomon: for as the name Jeddidiah, beloved of the Lord, was given him, over and above that of Solomon: So Lemuel, which signifies one for God, they think may be his also. 2 Samuel 12:25 . But this is but conjecture. Taught of his mother, should seem to carry with it, that it means no more than that the mother of Lemuel brought him up, as all pious parents are taught to do, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 .
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.
What is the strong drink here alluded to, but the rich wine of the gospel? The feast of marrow, and of wine on the lees, which the Lord of hosts hath made for all people, in the mountain of the Lord's house.
If the Reader would see both the fulness and fatness of this feast, I refer him to the account of it, Isaiah 25:6-8 .
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.
When a poor sinner hath once had his mouth and heart opened by grace, the same Lord that wrought the work in grace, will open it also in praise. And then he that hath found mercy, will plead for mercy. 1 Peter 4:10 .
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh 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. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour 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 eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
This is a very beautiful description of a virtuous woman. But is it not the church of Christ, that is intended by it? As the scriptures are full of the praises of Christ, so we find in many portions of the word, similar commendations of the church's beauty. For being made comely by the comeliness which he hath put upon her, she is lovely in his eyes, and no spot is found in her. Song of Solomon 4:7 . In Psalms 45:0 , we have a very delightful account given of the church, to which I refer. And the whole book of the Songs, is full of nothing less than the mutual love between Christ and his church. If the Reader will compare what is here said concerning the virtuous woman, and what is said in the scriptures I have referred to, as well as other parts of the word of God, in reference to the church, he will find that, however individually considered, it may be said of every child of God what is here rehearsed; yet, it is collectively spoken of the Bride, the Lamb's wife. Revelation 21:2-9 . Of her as appearing in the eyes of Jesus, it may be truly said; Many daughters have done excellently, but she excelleth them all.
AND now, Reader, having gone over this book of the Proverbs, and having seen that in many parts of them, it is of Jesus they principally treat; I would desire to close this part of the sacred word, with refer ring all that hath been offered by way of comment, to the goodness and forbearance of the Lord; beseeching him to pardon the whole, and to let his strength be perfected in human weakness. If Jesus be the wisdom here intended to be set forth (as in many parts of this book, what is said concerning wisdom can be applicable to none but him) it will be our happiest improvement of this delightful scripture, to seek after Christ in, and through all. In Jesus we behold the constellation of wisdom, all the properties of it, concentered in his one Person. The divine, and human nature, forming one glorious Mediator, the power of God, and the wisdom of God, for salvation to a lost world. In all his offices also, all his characters, as well as in the constitution of his person, wisdom shines out in ful1 splendor. Here mercy and truth meet together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Blessed Jesus! thou art wisdom itself; even the wisdom of God in a mystery! And in thee are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Vouchsafe, dear Lord, both to him that writes, and to him that reads, such suited proportions as may make us wise unto salvation through the faith that is in thyself. And let our souls be living under the gracious illuminations of thy holy Spirit here below until we come to the everlasting enjoyment of thee in glory for evermore.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 31". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17