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An exhortation to chastity, temperance, and works of mercy; with the praise of a wise woman.

[1] The words of king Lamuel. The vision wherewith his mother instructed him. [2] What, O my beloved, what, O the beloved of my womb, what, O the beloved of my vows? [3] Give not thy substance to women, and thy riches to destroy kings. [4] Give not to kings, O Lamuel, give not wine to kings: because there is no secret where drunkenness reigneth: [5] And lest they drink and forget judgments, and pervert the cause of the children of the poor.

[1] Lamuel: This name signifies God with him, and is supposed to have been one of the names of Solomon.

[6] Give strong drink to them that are sad: and wine to them that are grieved in mind: [7] Let them drink, and forget their want, and remember their sorrow no more. [8] Open thy mouth for the dumb, and for the causes of all the children that pass. [9] Open thy mouth, decree that which is just, and do justice to the needy and poor. [10] Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her.

[11] The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils. [12] She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. [13] She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands. [14] She is like the merchant' s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar. [15] And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens.

[16] She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. [17] She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. [18] She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night. [19] She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle. [20] She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.

[21] She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. [22] She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering. [23] Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land. [24] She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Chanaanite. [25] Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day.

[24] The Chanaanite: The merchant, for Chanaanite, in Hebrew, signifies a merchant.

[26] She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. [27] She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. [28] Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. [29] Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. [30] Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

[31] Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.

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