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Proverbs 31:1–9

The Words of King Lemuel

31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

What are you doing, my son?1 What are you doing, fson of my womb?

What are you doing, gson of my vows?

Do hnot give your strength to women,

your ways to those iwho destroy kings.

jIt is not for kings, O Lemuel,

it is not for kings kto drink wine,

or for rulers to take lstrong drink,

lest they drink and forget what has been decreed

and mpervert the rights of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink to the one who nis perishing,

and wine to othose in bitter distress;2

plet them drink and forget their poverty

and remember their misery no more.

qOpen your mouth for the mute,

for the rights of all who are destitute.3

Open your mouth, rjudge righteously,

sdefend the rights of tthe poor and needy.

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Proverbs 31:1–9 — The New International Version (NIV)

The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.

Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!

Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!

Do not spend your strength on women,

your vigor on those who ruin kings.

It is not for kings, Lemuel—

it is not for kings to drink wine,

not for rulers to crave beer,

lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,

and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

Let beer be for those who are perishing,

wine for those who are in anguish!

Let them drink and forget their poverty

and remember their misery no more.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,

for the rights of all who are destitute.

Speak up and judge fairly;

defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

What, my son? and what, the son of my womb?

And what, the son of my vows?

Give not thy strength unto women,

Nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine;

Nor for princes strong drink:

Lest they drink, and forget the law,

And pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish,

And wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

Let him drink, and forget his poverty,

And remember his misery no more.

Open thy mouth for the dumb

In the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.

Open thy mouth, judge righteously,

And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — New Living Translation (NLT)

The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.

O my son, O son of my womb,

O son of my vows,

do not waste your strength on women,

on those who ruin kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine.

Rulers should not crave alcohol.

For if they drink, they may forget the law

and not give justice to the oppressed.

Alcohol is for the dying,

and wine for those in bitter distress.

Let them drink to forget their poverty

and remember their troubles no more.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,

and see that they get justice.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

What, my son?

And what, son of my womb?

And what, son of my vows?

Do not give your strength to women,

Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,

It is not for kings to drink wine,

Nor for princes intoxicating drink;

Lest they drink and forget the law,

And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink to him who is perishing,

And wine to those who are bitter of heart.

Let him drink and forget his poverty,

And remember his misery no more.

Open your mouth for the speechless,

In the cause of all who are appointed to die.

Open your mouth, judge righteously,

And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — New Century Version (NCV)

These are the words of King Lemuel, the message his mother taught him:

“My son, I gave birth to you.

You are the son I prayed for.

Don’t waste your strength on women

or your time on those who ruin kings.

“Kings should not drink wine, Lemuel,

and rulers should not desire beer.

If they drink, they might forget the law

and keep the needy from getting their rights.

Give beer to people who are dying

and wine to those who are sad.

Let them drink and forget their need

and remember their misery no more.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

defend the rights of all those who have nothing.

Speak up and judge fairly,

and defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:1–9 — American Standard Version (ASV)

The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him.

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

And what, O son of my vows?

Give not thy strength unto women,

Nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine;

Nor for princes to say, Where is strong drink?

Lest they drink, and forget the law,

And pervert the justice due to any that is afflicted.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish,

And wine unto the bitter in soul:

Let him drink, and forget his poverty,

And remember his misery no more.

Open thy mouth for the dumb,

In the cause of all such as are left desolate.

Open thy mouth, judge righteously,

And minister justice to the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him: What, my son? and what, O son of my womb? and what, O son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to them that destroy kings. It is not for kings, Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for rulers to say, Where is the strong drink? —lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the children of affliction. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter of soul: let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb, for the cause of all those that are left desolate. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and minister justice to the afflicted and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

The sayings of King Lemuel, a prophetic revelation, 

used by his mother to discipline him. 

“What, my son? 

What, son to whom I gave birth? 

What, son of my prayers? 

Don’t give your strength to women 

or your power to those who ruin kings. 

“It is not for kings, Lemuel. 

It is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to crave liquor. 

Otherwise, they drink and forget what they have decreed 

and change the standard of justice for all oppressed people. 

Give liquor to a person who is dying 

and wine to one who feels resentful. 

Such a person drinks 

and forgets his poverty 

and does not remember his trouble anymore. 

“Speak out for the one who cannot speak, 

for the rights of those who are doomed. 

Speak out, 

judge fairly, 

and defend the rights of oppressed and needy people.” 

Proverbs 31:1–9 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The words of King Lemuel,

an oracle that his mother taught him:

What should I say, my son?

What, son of my womb?

What, son of my vows?

Don’t spend your energy on women

or your efforts on those who destroy kings.

It is not for kings, Lemuel,

it is not for kings to drink wine

or for rulers to desire beer.

Otherwise, they will drink,

forget what is decreed,

and pervert justice for all the oppressed.

Give beer to one who is dying

and wine to one whose life is bitter.

Let him drink so that he can forget his poverty

and remember his trouble no more.

Speak up for those who have no voice,

for the justice of all who are dispossessed.

Speak up, judge righteously,

and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

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.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,

it is not for kings to drink wine,

or for rulers to desire strong drink;

or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed,

and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink to one who is perishing,

and wine to those in bitter distress;

let them drink and forget their poverty,

and remember their misery no more.

Speak out for those who cannot speak,

for the rights of all the destitute.

Speak out, judge righteously,

defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

The words of Lemuel, the king—an oracle

that his mother taught him:

What, my son? And what, my son in my womb?

And what, son of my vows?

Do not give your strength to the women,

and your ways to destroy kings.

It is not for the kings, O Lemuel;

drinking wine is not for the kings,

nor is strong drink for rulers.

Or else he will drink and forget what has been decreed,

and he will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink to him who is perishing,

and wine to those in bitter distress.

He will drink and forget his poverty,

and his misery he will not remember any more.

Open your mouth for the mute,

for the rights of all the needy.

Open your mouth, judge righteousness,

and defend the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1–9 — New International Reader’s Version (1998) (NIrV)

These are the sayings of King Lemuel. His mother taught them to him. She spoke them as if they came from God.

She said, “My son! My very own son!

The son I prayed for!

Don’t waste your strength on women.

Don’t waste it on those who destroy kings.

“Lemuel, it isn’t good for kings to drink wine.

It isn’t good for rulers to long for beer.

If they do, they might drink and forget what the law commands.

They might take away the rights of all those who are beaten down.

Give beer to those who are dying.

Give wine to those who are sad and troubled.

Let them drink and forget how poor they are.

Let them forget their suffering.

“Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Speak up for the rights of all those who are poor.

Speak up and judge fairly.

Speak up for the rights of those who are poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:1–9 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:

What, O my son?

And what, O son of my womb?

And what, O son of my vows?

Do not give your strength to women,

Or your ways to that which destroys kings.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,

It is not for kings to drink wine,

Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

For they will drink and forget what is decreed,

And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink to him who is perishing,

And wine to him whose life is bitter.

Let him drink and forget his poverty

And remember his trouble no more.

Open your mouth for the mute,

For the rights of all the unfortunate.

Open your mouth, judge righteously,

And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.


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