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SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 31:1-2

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He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

 

SIH TOTT ICONThe Proverbs Of King Lemuel: An Introduction: Proverbs 31:1-2

1) The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
2) What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

In this chapter we may have another new author, a king by the name of Lemuel.  Just like we saw with Agur, the title “King Lemuel” may be speaking of Solomon himself…

“Lemuel” is translated from two separate Hebrew words that mean “to, for, or upon ” and “El (the name of God)”.   Being the one separated “to God” and “for God” applies to Solomon in two very unique ways…
1.  First, he was used by Jehovah in the building of the temple (2 Sam 7).
2.  Secondly, he was the one who received, and then handed down, true wisdom in a variety of areas of life (1 Kings 4:29-34) … to rule His people (2 Chron 1:11-12), to explain the purpose of life (Ecclesiastes), and practical wisdom (Proverbs).

Also, it must be taken into consideration that a King named Lemuel is not mentioned in any other historical documents.  So keep in mind that it is possible Solomon is the author of this text.

However a few things need to be noted:
1.  First of all, we are clearly told this chapter is “the prophecy that his mother taught him”.  In all the prior chapters written by Solomon we have his own words of wisdom, not the words received from a parent or other acquaintance.
2.  Secondly, just like with Agur, the style of this text appears to differ from that of Solomon.
3.  Many times historically Kings went under various names.  It is very possible that Lemuel was the name given to him by his parents, but when he took the throne of his country he took another name.  This would explain why we do not read of a Lemuel any place in historical documents.

Based upon the above, my personal belief is that this chapter was written by an author other than Solomon.

EXPOSITION:

1) The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
1.  The spoken advice of King Lemuel, which is
2.  the “mind of God” revealed through the instruction of his mother.

Lemuel will now share with us Godly advice that originated from the teachings of his mother.  Here we can see the importance of a mother’s role in bringing up a child (as well as the father and others in authority over the child)

When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”  (2 Timothy 1:5)

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”   (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

 

2) What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
The word “what” is normally translated “oh”.  Either translation says basically the same thing.
1.  Oh, my heir
2.  Oh, the one to whom I gave physical life
3.  Oh, the one that came as a result of the marital vows to the man I loved and which I have dedicated my entire life. Or… Oh, the one that I have vowed to give back to the Lord.

In this verse, we can see the desperation that Lemuel’s mother felt as she desired to share with him the most valuable information possible.   We can also see the close loving relationship that motivated this great desire.  She described Lemuel as:

1.  my son (my heir) – The one she was to give him all her physical possessions
2.  the son of my womb – the one to which she had given physical life
3.  the son of my vows – the one that resulted from her loving sacrificial relationship with her husband or perhaps,  she had made a vow dedicating her child to the Lord as did Hanna as she dedicated Samuel to the Lord (1 Sam 1:11, 28)

This forms the framework for the rest of our study in this chapter.  Basically, we will be learning about the advice that a loving mother is giving to her child to whom she loves very deeply.  This advice is motivated out of a concern for his future welfare and success in his future life on earth.

Also, in the following verse (and verse 4), we find his mother using kings as illustrations for her teachings…
1.  Does this mean that he was already mature and holding the position of a king when this advice was given?
2.  Or was his mother simply using well-known and admired individuals to motivate her young child to listen carefully to her instructions?
3.  There is a third possibility as well.  In those days, there were some kings who had ascended to their throne as young children.  Could it be that Lemuel was a young boy, still being trained by his mother although he was king over his nation?

We cannot know for sure.  Whatever the answer might be, the basic principle still applies.  She loved her son and wanted to see him spiritually and physically successful in life.  Therefore, she sought to teach him these great words of wisdom.

SUMMARY:

In these verses we see the role of loving parents being fulfilled in a Godly way.  If a parent truly loves their child they will do all they can to prepare that child to lead a Godly life through the teachings of God’s Word.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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4 Comments

  1. Terry says:

    thank you Rob for brightening my morning

  2. l enjoyed the post.Wishing you a wonderful season of holidays.May the Lord richly bless you and your message of truth.jalal

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    Thank you for the background on Lemuel such as the meaning of his name. Insightful

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