- What, my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows? Give not your strength unto women, nor your ways to that which destroys 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 your mouth for the dumb, in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
- Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband does 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 seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships, she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is yet night, and gives food to her household and a portion to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds her loins with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, her candle goes not out by night. She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the rod. She stretches out her hand to the poor, yea, she reaches 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 makes herself coverings of tapestry, her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes fine linen and sells it, and delivers girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looks well to the ways of her household and eats not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all. Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.
The words of king Lemuel — the prophecy that his mother taught him.