The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: No, my son! No, son of my womb! No, son of my vows! Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.
Chapter 31 contains one of the most quoted sections of the book; The Ode to a Capable Wife. We will find this in the second half of the chapter. The first half starts off with an almost ironic statement. These are the words of an oracle that King Lemuel’s mother taught him. It’s a warning for him not to give his strength to women. (This was spoken to him by a woman who also happened to be his mom.)
She may have been working against the adage many of us have heard: “A daughter is a daughter all of her life, a son is a son until he takes a wife.” Or King Lemuel’s mother may have had some dealings with a treacherous woman or two in her long life, and she was trying to spare her son some grief and loss. She may have even been thinking of Ahab and Jezebel or Samson and Delilah. We can’t really know her thoughts. But she was trying to keep her son from falling into destruction.
This whole chapter ends with high praise of a righteous woman, so let’s not fall into fearing all women. Let’s take the proverb in context and to heart.
Be careful not to give your strength away, or like some famous kings, you might tumble.
Dear God, give me wisdom in my dealings with the people around me. Help me to trust You as my strength. In Jesus name I pray. Amen