The Bible in Its Traditions

Proverbs 31:1–9

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The words of king Lemuel; the burden wherewith his mother corrected him.

My words have been spoken by God—the oracular answer of a king, whom his mother instructed.

THE words of Moael, a king and prophet, which his mother taught him, saying,

What, my son? and what, O son of my womb? and what, O son of my vows?

What wilt thou keep, my son, what? the words of God. My firstborn son, I speak to thee: what? son of my womb? what? son of my vows?

Oh my son! Oh the son of my womb! Oh the son of my vows!

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Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

Give not thy wealth to women, nor thy mind and living to remorse. Do all things with counsel: drink wine with counsel.

Do not give your substance to women, or your riches to overthrow kings.

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It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine: nor for princes to say: 'Where is strong drink?'

Princes are prone to anger: let them then not drink wine

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Lest they drink, and forget that which is decreed, and pervert the justice due to any that is afflicted.

And perhaps they may drink and forget judgments, and alter the case of the sons of the poor.

Lest you drink and forget the law and forsake the judgment of the afflicted.

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Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul;

Let strong drink be given to those who mourn, and wine to those who are of heavy heart,

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Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

that they may forget their poverty, and may not remember their troubles any more.

Let them drink, and forget their needs, and remember their sorrow no more.

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Open thy mouth for the dumb, in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.

Open your mouth for the mute and for all the cases of the sons who are passing through.

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Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Open your mouth, declare what is just, and do justice to the indigent and the poor.