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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Proverbs 31



Verse 1

On the title of this, the sixth part of the book, see on Introduction.

prophecy — (See on Proverbs 30:1).

Verse 2

What, my son? — that is, What shall I say? Repetitions denote earnestness.

son of my womb — as our phrase, “my own son,” a term of special affection.

son of my vows — as one dedicated to God; so the word “Lemuel” may mean.

Verses 3-9

Succinct but solemn warnings against vices to which kings are peculiarly tempted, as carnal pleasures and oppressive and unrighteous government are used to sustain sensual indulgence.

strength — mental and bodily resources for health and comfort.

thy ways — or course of life.

to that … kings — literally, “to the destroying of kings,” avoid destructive pleasures (compare Proverbs 5:9; Proverbs 7:22, Proverbs 7:27; Hosea 4:11).

Verse 4-5

Stimulants enfeeble reason, pervert the heart, and do not suit rulers, who need clear and steady minds, and well-governed affections (compare Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 22:29).

pervert … afflicted — They give unrighteous decisions against the poor.

Verse 6-7

The proper use of such drinks is to restore tone to feeble bodies and depressed minds (compare Psalm 104:15).

Verse 8-9
cause — Plead for those who cannot plead for themselves, as the orphan, stranger, etc. (compare Psalm 72:12; Isaiah 1:17).

appointed to destruction — who are otherwise ruined by their oppressors (compare Proverbs 29:14, Proverbs 29:16).

Verses 10-31

This exquisite picture of a truly lovely wife is conceived and drawn in accordance with the customs of Eastern nations, but its moral teachings suit all climes. In Hebrew the verses begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order (see on Introduction to Poetical Books).

Who … woman — The question implies that such are rare, though not entirely wanting (compare Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 19:14).

virtuous — literally, “of strength,” that is, moral courage (compare Proverbs 12:4; 3:11).

her price, etc. — (compare Proverbs 3:15).

Verse 11

heart … trust in her — He relies on her prudence and skill.

no need of spoil — does not lack profit or gain, especially, that obtained by the risk of war.

Verse 12

do … good — contribute good to him.

Verse 13-14

Ancient women of rank thus wrought with their hands; and such, indeed, were the customs of Western women a few centuries since. In the East also, the fabrics were articles of merchandise.

Verse 15

She diligently attends to expending as well as gathering wealth;

Verse 16

and hence has means to purchase property.

Verse 17-18

To energy she adds a watchfulness in bargains, and a protracted and painful industry. The last clause may figuratively denote that her prosperity (compare Proverbs 24:20) is not short lived.

Verse 19

No work, however mean, if honest, is disdained.

Verse 20

Industry enables her to be charitable.

Verse 21

scarlet — or, “purple,” by reason of the dyes used, the best fabrics; as a matter of taste also; the color suits cold.

Verse 22

coverings of tapestry — or, “coverlets,” that is, for beds.

silk — or, “linen” (compare Exodus 26:1; Exodus 27:9)

and purple — that is, the most costly goods.

Verse 23

in the gates — (compare Proverbs 22:22). His domestic comfort promotes his advancement in public dignity.

Verse 24

fine linen — or, “linen shirts,” or the material for them.

girdles — were often costly and highly valued (2 Samuel 18:11).

delivereth — or, “giveth as a present” or “to sell.”

Verse 25

Strength and honourStrong and beautiful is her clothing; or, figuratively, for moral character, vigorous and honorable.

shall rejoice … come — in confidence of certain maintenance.

Verse 26

Her conversation is wise and gentle.

Verse 27

(Compare 1 Timothy 5:14; Titus 2:5). She adds to her example a wise management of those under her control.

Verse 28

She is honored by those who best know her.

Verse 29

The words are those of her husband, praising her.

virtuously — (Compare Proverbs 31:10).

Verse 30

Favour — or, “Grace” of personal manner.

beauty — of face, or form (compare Proverbs 11:22). True piety alone commands permanent respect and affection (1 Peter 3:3).

Verse 31

The result of her labor is her best eulogy. Nothing can add to the simple beauty of this admirable portrait. On the measure of its realization in the daughters of our own day rest untold results, in the domestic, and, therefore, the civil and religious, welfare of the people.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 31:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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Monday, November 30th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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