Proverbs 31:1 – 9
1The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:
2 What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? 3 Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; 5 Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more. 8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Proverbs moves from Solomon to Agur to King Lemuel’s mother finally in this chapter. In the first three verses, she sets up the chapter by asking the king what he knows. Is his wisdom strong? Is his heart pure? She then begins her instruction, telling him not to chase women and give his time and energy to their pursuit, especially for sexual sin. He also warns Lemuel to look out for destructive traps. She moves on to tell him that wine and intoxicating drink are not meant for kings and princes. Alcohol gets in the way of good decisions and justice. Leave wine and intoxicants for the dying and the broken. They can get relief from their misery. The lesson here is that one who aspires to do great things, one who has ambition, should abstain from alcohol and keep their minds clear and sharp for the journey. Those who are dying may be made comfortable by medications to lessen their misery, but the healthy and whole should abstain. She then assigns Lemuel the task of speaking for the voiceless and helpless, pleading the case of the innocent, poor, and needy. Those in authority should represent not just the successful, but also the struggling.