Proverbs 31 is a famous passage… but not for the verses I am covering. Tyler will enlighten us on the well-known “wife of noble character” section tomorrow. As for today, we’re looking at the first 9 verses of the chapter, and while they aren’t as popular, they pack quite a punch.
Aside from knowing that Lemuel was a king in Massa (Arabia), very little is known about him. Some Jewish scholars say that this could have been another pen name for Solomon as it clearly fits the writing style and content. If that were the case, then the mother mentioned in verse 1 is Bathsheba who knew all too well about the topics covered — evil women, drunkenness, and fighting for the oppressed.
In verse 3, Lemuel gives his son a stern warning about sinfully giving himself to women (plural), especially those who would bring him down. This is a great reminder to us that the Lord desires marriage to be holy: one man given to one woman in a covenant bond. If Lemuel’s son gave himself to these women, his future throne would be in jeopardy. These sinful women would bring him to his knees.
The next section (verses 4-9) give us a neat parallel concerning alcohol and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. Lemuel strongly opposes drunkenness in these verses. Check out this commentary from the ESV:
The calling of kings is to serve the well-being of their subjects, especially in protecting the rights of all the afflicted. They must never allow their judgment to be clouded by wine or strong drink. ESV Study Bible
Also, in another one of my study tools (NLT Study Bible), it says this: “Too much wine numbs the senses. A king needs his wits about him and should not overindulge in alcohol.” This translates well to us today. We are in a fast-paced, social media-driven world. The overuse or abuse of alcohol can make you look like a fool quickly, impairing not only your judgment but also your testimony as a Christian. Be wise, be careful, use sound judgment. Remember the words of the apostle Paul in your decisions about alcohol:
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23
The parallel that I spoke of earlier comes in verses 8-9. What the author is essentially saying is this: “Instead of opening your mouth to get drunk, use your mouth for something more useful — fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.” This clearly echoes Isaiah 1:17:
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17
CPC, may we always be known for serving & giving. The world needs us. The Lord has called us.
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor