Proverbs 31’s superscription states that the psalmist was one King Lemeul. There have been found no written records of any such king, but that does not necessarily preclude him from having been a king of some state. There are some who claim that Lemeul was Bathsheba’s pet name for Solomon, but there is nothing to substantiate that claim.
Verses 1-9 are the mother’s words to the king, admonishing him not to ruin his reign with the self-indulgence of wanton sex and strong drink, as other kings not so wise have done. Instead, she instructs him further, a great king should see that those who are poor and in need of care are attended to properly – a truly excellent king.
The words of the chapter beginning in verse 10 are a most fitting conclusion for the Book of Proverbs. So much of the written words in the book have been concerned with the evils of wicked women – prostitutes, bad wives, etc. Now this writer goes into great detail praising the virtues of a truly excellent woman.
It reads like a laundry list of admirable qualities, but it would be a most unfair mistake to take it as a recipe for determining the goodness or worth of any woman. Rather it is best to consider the qualities as those that any good woman should seek in their lives. No woman (or man) is going to be that good at all things all of the time. These verses are an acrostic poem that runs the alphabet with a list of the traits of an “excellent woman.” She cares for those who need her – her family, and she also cares about those who are poor and in need. Notice verse 23 is the only one in the poem about the woman’s husband. He is known at the gates, as he sits among the elders of the land. The man would himself be a worthy man for sure, but a large part of why he is successful is because of his wife.
Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.