View Proverbs 31 in the note window.
An exhortation to Lemuel, ver. 1 - 9.
A description of good wife, ver. 10 - 31.
1: Lemuel - Of Solomon, by the general consent both of Jewish
and Christian writers; this name signifies one from God, or belonging
to God, and such an one was Solomon eminently, being given by God to
David and Bathsheba, as a pledge of his reconciliation to them after
their repentance. Possibly his mother gave him this name to mind him
of his great obligations to God, and of the justice of his devoting
himself to God's service.
2: What - A short speech, arguing her great passion for him; what
words shall I take? What counsels shall I give thee? My heart is full,
but where shall I begin? Of my womb - My son, not by adoption, but whom I
bare in the womb, and therefore it is my duty to give thee admonitions,
and thine to receive them. My vows - On whose behalf I have made many
prayers and sacrifices, and solemn vows to God; whom I have, as far as
in me lay, devoted to the work, and service, and glory of God.
3: Strength - The vigour of thy mind and body.
Ways - Thy conversation, repeated in other words.
4: To drink - To excess.
6: To perish - To faint; for such need a cordial.
8: The dumb - For such as cannot speak in their own cause, either
through ignorance, or because of the dread of their more potent adversaries.
Destruction - Who, without such succour from the judges, are like to be
10: A virtuous woman - Here he lays down several qualifications of an
excellent wife, which are delivered in alphabetical order, each verse
beginning with a several letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
11: No need - He shall have no need to use indirect courses to get
13: Flax - That she may find employment for her servants.
Worketh - She encourages them to work by her example; which was a common
practice among princesses in those first ages. Not that it is the duty
of kings and queens to use manual operations, but it is the duty of all
persons, the greatest not excepted, to improve all their talents, and
particularly their time, which is one of the noblest of them, to the
service of that God to whom they must give an account, and to the good
of that community to which they are related.
14: From afar - By the sale of her home - spun commodities she
purchases the choicest goods which come from far countries.
15: Giveth - Distributes all necessary provisions.
16: Considereth - Whether it be fit for her use. The fruit - With
the effects of her diligence. Planteth - She improves the land to the
17: Girdeth - She uses great diligence and expedition in her
employment; for which end, men in those times used to gird up their
long and loose garments about their loins. Strengtheneth - Puts forth
her utmost strength in her business.
18: Perceiveth - She finds great comfort in her labours.
Her candle - Which is not to be taken strictly, but only signifies
her unwearied care and industry.
19: She layeth - By her own example she provokes her servants to
labour. And although in these latter and more delicate times, such
mean employments are grown out of fashion among great persons, yet
they were not so in former ages, neither in other countries, nor in
this land; whence all women unmarried unto this day are called in the
language of our law, Spinsters.
21: Not afraid - Of any injuries of the weather. Are clothed - She
hath provided enough, not only for their necessity, but also for their
delight and ornament.
22: Tapestry - For the furniture of her house. Silk - Which was
agreeable to her high quality.
23: It known - Observed and respected, not only for his own worth,
but for his wife's sake. Sitteth - In counsel or judgment.
24: Girdles - Curiously wrought of linen, and gold, or other precious
25: Strength - Strength of mind, magnanimity, courage, activity.
Her clothing - Her ornament and glory. Rejoice - She lives in constant
tranquillity of mind, from a just confidence in God's gracious providence.
26: Openeth her mouth - She is neither sullenly silent, nor full of
impertinent talk, but speaks discreetly and piously, as occasion offers.
In her tongue - Her speeches are guided by wisdom and grace, and not by
inordinate passions. And this practice is called a law in her tongue,
because it is constant and customary, and proceeds from an inward and
powerful principle of true wisdom.
27: Looketh well - She diligently observes the management of her
domestick business, and the whole carriage of her children and servants.
30: Favour - Comeliness, which commonly gives women favour with those
who behold them. Deceitful - It gives a false representation of the
person, being often a cover to a deformed soul; it does not give a man
that satisfaction, which at first he promised to himself from it; and
it is soon lost, not only by death, but by many diseases and contingencies.
31: Give her - It is but just, that she should enjoy those praises
which her labours deserve. Let her works - If men be silent, the lasting
effects of her prudence and diligence will trumpet forth her praises.
In the gates - In the most publick and solemn assemblies.