“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 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.
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.” Proverbs 31:1-9 (KJB)
Man of Virtue; Woman of Virtue – Proverbs 31:1-31
No one is for certain who Lemuel was. The name means “Belonging to God”, and could be another name for Solomon.
We often hear about the woman/wife of verses 10-31, but little about the virtuous king/man in verses 1-9.
According to Strongs Dictionary of the Hebrew language “Virtuous” means ‘a force’ or ‘valour’, ‘strength’. Probably referring to moral excellence and strength or power.
1. The king should be virtuous in his judgment/justice and other decisions. He is to stand for the weak and defenseless.
The word “strength” (v. 3) is the same as the word “virtuous” of v. 10 [chayil; khah’-yil]. Not controlled by unethical women, nor by power, neither by mind altering drink or drugs. Only a virtuous/strong man or king can make righteous judgments. (vv. 1-9)
“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.” Proverbs 31:10-22
2. The woman/wife of virtue. A force of moral integrity. Look at her value “far above rubies”. She has the “trust” of her husband; he knows she will not bankrupt their home and family – morally or financially (vv. 10-12).
She is a hard and diligent worker and wise shopper (vv. 13-15). She endeavors to increase her resources (vv. 16-19) She is thoughtful of others, and cares for her own (vv. 20-21).
The wife of virtue is an artist, designer, homebuilder, etc. (vv. 22-24).
“Strength” (v. 25) is a different [‘oz; oze] meaning “force, security, majesty, praise”. And honour are her clothing; her covering; her unashamed quality. This virtuous woman is honoredby her neighbors, her husband, her children.
“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor 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.” Proverbs 31:29-31
The virtuous woman is more concerned with the way her life and family appears, than her personal beauty. A woman who has the adoration of her family, friends, and neighbors due to her strength in the Lord has much, very much, and is praised by others (vv. 26-31).