What King Lemuel’s Mother Taught Him

As an old farmer was driving down the freeway, his cell phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife’s voice urgently warning him, “Bill, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on Highway 59. Please be careful!” He replied, “I have actual … More

Warning

King Lemuel (some think this was actually King Solomon however, we have no proof) was being taught the Word of God by his mother (v. 1). Her vows may mean that she made a vow as Hannah did, before his conception (I Sam. 1:11) or afterwards. She wanted him to know he was special to her. The most important ministry a mother (or father) has is training their children spiritually (see II Tim. 3:15). King Lemuel’s mother boldly warns him about what will destroy him, about sinful companions, strong drink and failure to obey God’s Word (vv. 2-3). Homes are unhappy and ruined by adulterous men or women and alcohol. Marriage doesn’t change a person’s character; that is the reason it is important to find out your prospective mates’ character before engagement.

Happy is the man or woman who has a God-fearing mother to warn him about sin and happier is that man or woman that heeds her warnings. Kings and leaders should not get drunk or even want to drink (v. 4). Drinking makes you forget your responsibilities, and you mistreat the poor (v. 5). Drunkenness might be understandable among dying people in great pain, but it is inexcusable for national leaders. Alcohol clouds the mind and can lead to injustice and poor decisions.

The drink in this passage may have been for anesthetics or to deaden physical pain (v. 6). Let them drink and forget how poor and miserable they feel (v. 7). But you must defend those who are helpless and have no hope (v. 8). Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless (v. 9). This mother was telling her son that others may use drink for a way of escape but her son was not to do so. He was to judge fairly regardless of a person’s social status.

Application

Lord help me to be warning my children and grand children about sinful companions and the dangers that they bring? What effect can alcoholic beverages have on the family?

Proverbs 31:1-9 (English Standard Version)

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, 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 take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »