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A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments, by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown [1882] at

Proverbs Chapter 31

Proverbs 31:1

pro 31:1

(Pro. 31:1-31)

On the title of this, the sixth part of the book, see Introduction.

prophecy--(See on Pro 30:1).

Proverbs 31:2

pro 31:2

What, my son?--that is, What shall I say? Repetitions denote earnestness.

son of my womb--as our phrase, "my own son," a term of special affection.

son of my vows--as one dedicated to God; so the word "Lemuel" may mean.

Proverbs 31:3

pro 31:3

Succinct but solemn warnings against vices to which kings are peculiarly tempted, as carnal pleasures and oppressive and unrighteous government are used to sustain sensual indulgence.

strength--mental and bodily resources for health and comfort.

thy ways--or course of life.

to that . . . kings--literally, "to the destroying of kings," avoid destructive pleasures (compare Pro 5:9; Pro 7:22, Pro 7:27; Hos 4:11).

Proverbs 31:4

pro 31:4

Stimulants enfeeble reason, pervert the heart, and do not suit rulers, who need clear and steady minds, and well-governed affections (compare Pro 20:1; Pro 22:29).

pervert . . . afflicted--They give unrighteous decisions against the poor.

Proverbs 31:6

pro 31:6

The proper use of such drinks is to restore tone to feeble bodies and depressed minds (compare Psa 104:15).

Proverbs 31:8

pro 31:8

Open . . . cause--Plead for those who cannot plead for themselves, as the orphan, stranger, &c. (compare Psa 72:12; Isa 1:17).

appointed to destruction--who are otherwise ruined by their oppressors (compare Pro 29:14, Pro 29:16).

Proverbs 31:10

pro 31:10

This exquisite picture of a truly lovely wife is conceived and drawn in accordance with the customs of Eastern nations, but its moral teachings suit all climes. In Hebrew the verses begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order (compare Introduction to Poetical Books).

Who . . . woman--The question implies that such are rare, though not entirely wanting (compare Pro 18:22; Pro 19:14).

virtuous--literally, "of strength," that is, moral courage (compare Pro 12:4; Rut 3:11).

her price, &c.--(compare Pro 3:15).

Proverbs 31:11

pro 31:11

heart . . . trust in her--He relies on her prudence and skill.

no need of spoil--does not lack profit or gain, especially, that obtained by the risk of war.

Proverbs 31:12

pro 31:12

do . . . good--contribute good to him.

Proverbs 31:13

pro 31:13

Ancient women of rank thus wrought with their hands; and such, indeed, were the customs of Western women a few centuries since. In the East also, the fabrics were articles of merchandise.

Proverbs 31:15

pro 31:15

She diligently attends to expending as well as gathering wealth;

Proverbs 31:16

pro 31:16

and hence has means to purchase property.

Proverbs 31:17

pro 31:17

To energy she adds a watchfulness in bargains, and a protracted and painful industry. The last clause may figuratively denote that her prosperity (compare Pro 24:20) is not short lived.

Proverbs 31:19

pro 31:19

No work, however mean, if honest, is disdained.

Proverbs 31:20

pro 31:20

Industry enables her to be charitable.

Proverbs 31:21

pro 31:21

scarlet--or, "purple," by reason of the dyes used, the best fabrics; as a matter of taste also; the color suits cold.

Proverbs 31:22

pro 31:22

coverings of tapestry--or, "coverlets," that is, for beds.

silk--or, "linen" (compare Exo 26:1; Exo 27:9)

and purple--that is, the most costly goods.

Proverbs 31:23

pro 31:23

in the gates--(compare Pro 22:22). His domestic comfort promotes his advancement in public dignity.

Proverbs 31:24

pro 31:24

fine linen--or, "linen shirts," or the material for them.

girdles--were often costly and highly valued (Sa2 18:11).

delivereth--or, "giveth as a present" or "to sell."

Proverbs 31:25

pro 31:25

Strength and honour--Strong and beautiful is her clothing; or, figuratively, for moral character, vigorous and honorable.

shall rejoice . . . come--in confidence of certain maintenance.

Proverbs 31:26

pro 31:26

Her conversation is wise and gentle.

Proverbs 31:27

pro 31:27

(Compare Ti1 5:14; Tit 2:5). She adds to her example a wise management of those under her control.

Proverbs 31:28

pro 31:28

She is honored by those who best know her.

Proverbs 31:29

pro 31:29

The words are those of her husband, praising her.

virtuously--(Compare Pro 31:10).

Proverbs 31:30

pro 31:30

Favour--or, "Grace" of personal manner.

beauty--of face, or form (compare Pro 11:22). True piety alone commands permanent respect and affection (Pe1 3:3).

Proverbs 31:31

pro 31:31

The result of her labor is her best eulogy. Nothing can add to the simple beauty of this admirable portrait. On the measure of its realization in the daughters of our own day rest untold results, in the domestic, and, therefore, the civil and religious, welfare of the people.

Next: Ecclesiastes Introduction