1These are the words of King Lemuel, an oracle, taught to him by his mother.
2What shall I tell you, my son?—the son I gave birth to, the son given in response to my vows.
3Don't waste your strength sleeping with women, those that bring down kings.
4Lemuel, kings shouldn't be drinking wine, rulers shouldn't be drinking alcohol.
5For if they drink, they'll forget what the law says, and pervert the rights of those who are suffering.
6Give alcohol to those who are dying, and wine to those who are in terrible distress.
7Let them drink so they can forget their poverty, and not remember their troubles any longer.
8Speak up for those who have no voice, for the rights of those marginalized by society.
9Speak up and judge fairly; defend the poor and destitute.
10Who can find a strong, capable wife? She's worth more than jewels!
11Her husband has complete confidence in her, and with her he'll never be poor.
12She brings him good, not evil, all her life.
13She gets wool and flax, and with her eager hands turns them into clothes.
14Like a merchant's ship, she brings food from far away.
15She gets up while it's still dark to make breakfast for her family, and to plan what her servant girls need to do.
16She looks at a field, and decides to buy it; from the money she's earned she buys a vineyard.
17She's keen to get ready, and works hard with her strong arms.
18She knows that the things she makes are valuable. She keeps busy—her lamp burns late into the night.
19She spins the thread and weaves the cloth.
20She's generous to the poor, and gives help to the needy.
21She doesn't worry if it snows, because her whole family has warm clothing.
22She makes herself bedspreads; she dresses in fine linen and purple clothes.
23Her husband is well-respected in the council at the town gates, where he sits with the town elders.
24She makes linen clothes for sale, and supplies merchants with belts.
25She's clothed with strength and dignity, and she is happy about the future.
26She speaks wise words, and she's kind when she gives instructions.
27She looks after the needs of her whole household, and she's never idle.
28Her children are quick to bless her. Her husband praises her too, saying,
29“Many women do great things, but you are better than all of them!”
30Charm can deceive, and beauty fades, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised.
31Give her the recognition she deserves; praise her publicly for what she's done.