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Proverbs 31 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Wise Words for a King

31 These are the wise sayings that King Lemuel’s mother taught him:

I prayed for a son, and you are the son I gave birth to. Don’t waste your strength on women. Women destroy kings, so don’t waste yourself on them. Lemuel, it is not wise for kings to drink wine. It is not wise for rulers to want beer. They may drink too much and forget what the law says. Then they might take away the rights of the poor. Give beer to people without hope. Give wine to those who are in trouble. Let them drink to forget their troubles. Let them forget they are poor.

Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Help people who are in trouble. Stand up for what you know is right, and judge all people fairly. Protect the rights of the poor and those who need help.

The Perfect Wife

10 [a] How hard it is to find the perfect wife.[b]
    She is worth far more than jewels.
11 Her husband depends on her.
    He will never be poor.
12 She does good for her husband all her life.
    She never causes him trouble.
13 She is always gathering wool and flax[c]
    and enjoys making things with her hands.
14 She is like a ship from a faraway place.
    She brings home food from everywhere.
15 She wakes up early in the morning,
    cooks food for her family, and gives the servants their share.
16 She looks at land and buys it.
    She uses the money she has earned and plants a vineyard.
17 She works very hard.
    She is strong and able to do all her work.
18 She works late into the night
    to make sure her business earns a profit.
19 She makes her own thread
    and weaves her own cloth.
20 She always gives to the poor
    and helps those who need it.
21 She does not worry about her family when it snows.
    She has given them all good, warm clothes.
22 She makes sheets and spreads for the beds,
    and she wears clothes of fine linen.
23 Her husband is a respected member of the city council,
    where he meets with the other leaders.
24 She makes clothes and belts
    and sells them to the merchants.
25 She is a strong person,[d] and people respect her.
    She looks to the future with confidence.
26 She speaks with wisdom
    and teaches others to be loving and kind.
27 She oversees the care of her house.
    She is never lazy.
28 Her children say good things about her.
    Her husband brags about her and says,
29 “There are many good women,
    but you are the best.”
30 Grace and beauty can fool you,
    but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.
31 Give her the reward she deserves.
    Praise her in public for what she has done.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 31:10 In Hebrew, each verse of this poem starts with the next letter of the alphabet, so this poem shows all the good qualities of a woman “from A to Z.”
  2. Proverbs 31:10 the perfect wife Or “a noble woman.”
  3. Proverbs 31:13 flax A plant used to make linen cloth.
  4. Proverbs 31:25 She is a strong person Or “She is praised.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

Proverbs 31 New International Version (NIV)

Sayings of King Lemuel

31 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
    Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
    your vigor on those who ruin kings.

It is not for kings, Lemuel—
    it is not for kings to drink wine,
    not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
    and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing,
    wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty
    and remember their misery no more.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Footnotes:

  1. Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
  2. Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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