Proverbs 31:4
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink,

King James Bible
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

American Standard Version
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; Nor for princes to say , Where is strong drink?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Give not to kings, O Lamuel, give not wine to kings: because there is no secret where drunkenness reigneth:

English Revised Version
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes to say, Where is strong drink?

Webster's Bible Translation
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

Proverbs 31:4 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Another numerical proverb with the cipher 4 equals 3 + 1:

29 Three things are of stately walk,

     And four of stately going:

30 The lion, the hero among beasts,

     And that turneth back before nothing;

31 The swift-loined, also the goat;

     And a king with whom is the calling out of the host.

Regarding היטיב with inf. following (the segolated n. actionis צעד is of equal force with an inf.), vid., under Proverbs 15:2.

(Note: In 29a, after Norzi, מיטיבי, and in 29b, מיטבי, is to be written, and this is required by the little Masora to 1 Samuel 25:31, the great, to Ezekiel 33:33, and also the Erfurt little Masora to the passage before us.)

The relation of the members of the sentence in 30a is like that in 25a and 26a: subj. and apposit., which there, as here, is continued in a verbal clause which appears to us as relative. It deserves to be here remarked that לישׁ, as the name for a lion, occurs only here and at Job 4:11, and in the description of the Sinai wilderness, Isaiah 30:6; in Arab. it is layth, Aram. לית, and belongs to the Arameo-Arab. dialect of this language; the lxx and Syr. translate it "the young lion;" the Venet. excellently, by the epic λῖς. בּבּהמה has the article only to denote the genus, viz., of the beasts, and particularly the four-footed beasts. What is said in 30b (cf. with the expression, Job 39:22) is described in Isaiah 30:4. The two other beasts which distinguish themselves by their stately going are in 31a only briefly named. But we are not in the condition of the readers of this Book of Proverbs, who needed only to hear the designation זרזיר מתנים at once to know what beast was meant. Certainly זרזיר, as the name for a beast, is not altogether unknown in the post-bibl. Heb. "In the days of Rabbi Chija (the great teacher who came from Babylon to the Academy of Sepphoris), as is narrated in Bereschith rabba, sect. 65, a zarzir flew to the land of Israel, and it was brought to him with the question whether it were eatable. Go, said he, place it on the roof! Then came an Egyptian raven and lighted down beside it. See, said Chija, it is unclean, for it belongs to the genus of the ravens, which is unclean (Leviticus 11:15). From this circumstance there arose the proverb: The raven goes to the zarzir because it belongs to his own tribe."

(Note: This "like draws to like" in the form: "not in vain goes the raven to the zarzir, it belongs just to its own tribe," came to be often employed, Chullin 65a, Baba Kamma 92b. Plantavitius has it, Tendlau more at large, Sprichwrter, u.s.w., Nr. 577.)

Also the Jer. Rosch ha-schane, Halacha 3: "It is the manner of the world that one seeks to assist his zarzir, and another his zarzir, to obtain the victory;" and Midrash Echa v. 1, according to which it is the custom of the world, that one who has a large and a little zarzir in his house, is wont to treat the little one sparingly, so that in the case of the large one being killed, he might not need to buy another. According to this, the zarzir is a pugnacious animal, which also the proverb Bereschith rabba, c. 75, confirms: two zarzir do not sleep on one board; and one makes use of his for contests like cock-fights. According to this, the זרזיר is a bird, and that of the species of the raven; after Rashi, the tourneau, the starling, which is confirmed by the Arab. zurzur (vulgar Arab. zarzur), the common name of starlings (cf. Syr. zarzizo, under zrz of Castelli). But for the passage before us, we cannot regard this as important, for why is the starling fully named זרזיר מתנים? To this question Kimchi has already remarked that he knows no answer for it. Only, perhaps, the grave magpie (corvus pica), strutting with upraised tail, might be called succinctus lumbos, if מתנים can at all be used here of a bird. At the earliest, this might possibly be used of a cock, which the later Heb. named directly גּבר, because of its manly demeanour; most old translators so understand it. The lxx translates, omitting the loins, by ἀλέκτωρ ἐμπεριπατῶν θηλείαις εὔψυχος, according to which the Syr. and Targ.: like the cock which struts about proudly among the hens;

(Note: Regarding the Targum Text, vid., Levy under אבּכא and זרכּל. The expression דּמזדּרז (who is girded, and shows himself as such) is not unsuitable.)

Aquila and Theodotion: ἀλέκτωρ (ἀλεκτρυὼν) νώτου; The Quinta: ἀλέκτωρ ὀσφύος; Jezome: gallus succinctus lumbos. Ṣarṣar (not ṣirṣir, as Hitzig vocalizes) is in Arab. a name for a cock, from ṣarṣara, to crow, an onomatopoeia. But the Heb. זרזיר, as the name of a bird, signifies, as the Talmud proves on the ground of that history, not a cock, but a bird of the raven order, whether a starling, a crow, or a magpie. And if this name of a corvinus is formed from the onomatopoeia זרזר, the weaker form of that (Arab.) ṣarṣar, then מתנים, which, for זרזיר, requires the verbal root זרז, to girdle, is not wholly appropriate; and how strangely would the three animals be mingled together, if between לישׁ and תישׁ, the two four-footed animals, a bird were placed! If, as is to be expected, the "Lendenumgrtete" [the one girded about the loins equals זרזיר מתנים] be a four-footed animal, then it lies near, with C. B. Michaelis and Ziegler, after Ludolf's


Proverbs 31:4 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Leviticus 10:9,10 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest you die...

1 Kings 20:12,16-20 And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions...

Esther 3:15 The posts went out, being hastened by the king's commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace...

Ecclesiastes 10:17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength...

Isaiah 28:7,8 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way...

Daniel 5:2-4 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine...

Hosea 4:11,12 Prostitution and wine and new wine take away the heart...

Hosea 7:3-5 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies...

Habakkuk 2:5 Yes also, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, neither keeps at home, who enlarges his desire as hell, and is as death...

Mark 6:21-28 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee...

Cross References
1 Kings 20:12
When Ben-hadad heard this message as he was drinking with the kings in the booths, he said to his men, "Take your positions." And they took their positions against the city.

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Ecclesiastes 10:17
Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility, and your princes feast at the proper time, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Isaiah 5:22
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,

Hosea 4:11
whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.

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