1 These are the sayings of King Lemuel, an oracle* that his mother taught him.1
2 O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my promises,
3 do not spend your strength on women, on those who ruin kings.
4 And it is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave liquor.
5 For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed.
6 Liquor is for the dying, and wine for those in deep depression.
7 Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more.
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
10 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies.
11 Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
12 She will not hinder him but help him all her life.
13 She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
14 She is like a merchant's ship; she brings her food from afar.
15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day's work for her servant girls.
16 She goes out to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
18 She watches for bargains; her lights burn late into the night.
19 Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
20 She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
21 She has no fear of winter for her household because all of them have warm* clothes.2
22 She quilts her own bedspreads. She dresses like royalty in gowns of finest cloth.
23 Her husband is well known, for he sits in the council meeting with the other civic leaders.
24 She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future.
26 When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions.
27 She carefully watches all that goes on in her household and does not have to bear the consequences of laziness.
28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
29 "There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!"
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.
31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Read Ecclesiastes 1