The Bible – Old Testament
The words of Lemuel, king of Massa. The advice which his mother gave him:
What, my son, my first-born! what, O son of my womb; what, O son of my vows!
Give not your vigor to women, nor your strength to those who ruin kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, not for kings to drink wine; strong drink is not for princes!
Lest in drinking they forget what the law decrees, and violate the rights of all who are in need.
Give strong drink to one who is perishing, and wine to the sorely depressed;
When they drink, they will forget their misery, and think no more of their burdens.
Open your mouth in behalf of the dumb, and for the rights of the destitute;
Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor!
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.
1 She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.
2 Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar.
She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household.
She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms.
3 She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.
She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed.
She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing.
Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land.
She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts.
4 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.
She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness.
Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her:
“Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.”
5 Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.
1  Good, and not evil: i.e., prosperity, not adversity.
2  Merchant: literally, “Canaanite” (cf ⇒ Proverb 31:24), probably because the merchant class had been composed chiefly of Canaanites.
4  Laughs at the days to come: anticipates the future with gladness free from anxiety.
5  The true charm of the ideal wife is her religious spirit, for she fears the LORD; cf note on ⇒ Proverb 1:7.