Proverbs 31:10
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.

King James Bible
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

American Standard Version
A worthy woman who can find? For her price is far above rubies.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her.

English Revised Version
A virtuous woman who can find? for her price is far above rubies.

Webster's Bible Translation
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Proverbs 31:10 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Hence there now follows a warning against drunkenness, not unmediated by the reading למחות:

4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,

   Not for kings to drink wine,

   Not for rulers to ask for intoxicating drink;

5 Lest he drink, and forget what is prescribed,

   And pervert the right of all the children of want.

The usual translation of 4a is: non decet reges... (as e.g., also Mhlau); but in this אל is not rightly rendered, which indeed is at times only an οὐ, spoken with close interest, but yet first of all, especially in such paraenetic connection as here, it is a dissuasive μή. But now לא למלכים שׁתות or לא למלכים לשׁתּות, after 2 Chronicles 26:18; Micah 3:1, signifies: it is not the part of kings, it does not become them to drink, which may also be turned into a dissuasive form: let it not be the part of kings to drink, let them not have any business therewith, as if it belonged to their calling; according to which Fleischer renders: Absit a regibus, Lemuel, absit a regibus potare vinum. The clearer expression למואל, instead of למוּאל, is, after Bttcher, occasioned by this, that the name is here in the vocative; perhaps rather by this, that the meaning of the name: consecrated to God, belonging to God, must be placed in contrast to the descending to low, sensual lust. Both times we write אל לּמלכים with the orthophonic Dagesh

(Note: Vid., Luth. Zeitschrift, 1863, p. 413. It is the rule, according to which, with Ben-Asher, it is to be written בּן־נּוּן.)

in the ל following ל, and without the recompensative Dagesh, the want of which is in a certain measure covered by the Metheg (vid., Norzi). Regarding the inf. constr. שׁתו (cf. קנה, Proverbs 16:16), vid., Gesen. 75, Anm. 2; and regarding the sequence of accents here necessary, אל לּמלכים שׁתו־יין (not Mercha, Dechi, Athnach, for Dechi would be here contrary to rule), vid., Thorath Emeth, p. 22 6, p. 43 7.

In 4b nothing is to be gained from the Chethı̂b או. There is not a substantive או, desire, the constr. of which would here have to be read, not או (Umbreit, Gesenius), but או, after the form קו (Maurer); and why did the author not write תּאות שׁכר? But the particle או does not here also fall in with the connection; for if או שׁכר connect itself with יין (Hitzig, Ewald, and others), then it would drag disagreeably, and we would have here a spiritless classification of things unadvisable for kings. Bttcher therefore sees in this או the remains of the obliterated סבוא; a corrector must then have transformed the וא which remained into או. But before one ventures on such conjectures, the Kerı̂ אי [where?] must be tried. Is it the abbreviated אין (Herzog's Real-Wrterbuch, xiv. 712)? Certainly not, because וּלרוזנים אין שׁכר would mean: and the princes, or rulers (vid., regarding רוזנים at Proverbs 8:15), have no mead, which is inconsistent. But אין does not abbreviate itself into אי, but into אי. Not אי, but אי, is in Heb., as well as in Ethiop., the word with which negative adjectives such as אי נקי, not innocent, Job 22:30, and in later Heb. also, negative sentences, such as אי אפשׁר: it is not possible, are formed.

(Note: The author of the Comm. עטרת זקנים to the ארח חיים, c. 6, Geiger and others would read אי, because אי is abbreviated from אין. But why not from אין, 1 Samuel 21:9? The traditional expression is אי; and Elias Levita in the Tishbi, as also Baer in the Siddur Abodath Jisrael, are right in defending it against that innovation.)

Therefore Mhlau vocalizes אי, and thinks that the author used this word for אל, so as not to repeat this word for the third time. But how is that possible? אי שׁכר signifies either: not mead, or: there is not mead; and both afford, for the passage before us, no meaning. Is, then, the Kerı̂ אי truly so unsuitable? Indeed, to explain: how came intoxicating drink to rulers! is inadmissible, since אי always means only ubi (e.g., Genesis 4:9); not, like the Ethiop. aitê, also quomodo. But the question ubi temetum, as a question of desire, fits the connection, whether the sentence means: non decet principibus dicere (Ahron b. Josef supplies שׁיאמרו) ubi temetum, or: absit a principibus quaerere ubi temetum (Fleischer), which, from our view of 4a, we prefer. There is in reality nothing to be supplied; but as 4a says that the drinking of wine ought not to characterize kings, so 4b, that "Where is mead?" (i.e., this eager inquiry after mead) ought not to characterize rulers.

(Note: The translation of Jerome, quia nullum secretum est ubi regnat ebrietas (as if the words were לית רזא אי שׁכר), corresponds to the proverb: נכנס יין יצא סוד :b, when the wine goes in the secret comes out; or, which is the same thing: if one adds יין ( equals 70), סוד ( equals 70) comes out.)

Why not? Proverbs 31:5 says. That the prince, being a slave to drink, may not forget the מחקּק, i.e., that which has been made and has become חק, thus that which is lawfully right, and may not alter the righteous cause of the miserable, who cry against their oppressors, i.e., may not handle falsely the facts of the case, and give judgment contrary to them.


Proverbs 31:10 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

who This is the commencement of an alphabetical poem, each verse beginning consecutively with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet; in which we are presented with an admirable picture of a good wife, according to the primitive manners of the East


Proverbs 12:4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that makes ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 18:22 Whoever finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor of the LORD.

Proverbs 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Ruth 3:11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to you all that you require...

Ecclesiastes 7:28 Which yet my soul seeks, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.

Songs 6:8,9 There are three score queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number...

Ephesians 5:25-33 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it...


Proverbs 3:15 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to her.

Proverbs 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Proverbs 20:15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

Cross References
Ruth 3:11
And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.

1 Samuel 25:3
Now the name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. The woman was discerning and beautiful, but the man was harsh and badly behaved; he was a Calebite.

Job 28:18
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls.

Proverbs 8:11
for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Proverbs 12:4
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Proverbs 14:1
The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Proverbs 18:22
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.

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