Diamond Or Diamond Mine? A Meditation On Proverbs 31. -- By: William David Spencer

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 16:2 (Spring 2002)
Article: Diamond Or Diamond Mine? A Meditation On Proverbs 31.
Author: William David Spencer

Diamond Or Diamond Mine?
A Meditation On Proverbs 31.

William David Spencer

William David Spencer is Pastor of Encouragement at Pilgrim Church, Beverly, Massachusetts. This article is adapted from a sermon he preached at Pilgrim Church on Mother’s Day 2001. He and his wife, Aida Besançon Spencer, are members of CBE’s Board of Reference.

Mother’s Day is a special day, one of the most important days of the year. It is the day we celebrate all the women of the church: the literal mothers who have actual children; and then all the women (daughters, sisters, mothers) from our newest arrivals, to those distinguished senior mothers. So important are women in the Bible that Proverbs, the Book of God’s wisdom, ends with a celebration of what a faithful reverent woman should look like: Proverbs 31:1-31.

Proverbs 31 is inspired female advice taught by a Queen Mother to her son.

The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

No, my son! No, son of my womb!
No, 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 desire strong drink;

or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed,
and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

Give strong drink to one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;

let them drink and forget their poverty,
and remember their misery no more.

Speak out for those who cannot speak,
for the rights of all the destitute.

Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:1-9 (NRSV)

Whenever we read any Scripture, it’s always important to see the context for it. Verse 1 tells us this is an oracle, which is a communication or revelation given to a person directly from God. God gave this revelation directly to King Lemuel’s mother to be recorded in the Bible.

Who Is Lemuel?

Do you remember who King Lemuel was? No? Neither do I. Lemuel is not listed in either 1 or 2 Kings or 1 or 2 Chronicles, the Hebrews’ record of their monarchs. Is Lemuel, perhaps, some ruler from some other country?

The rabbis didn’t think so; they had an explanation. They pointed out that the name Lemuel means “devoted to God.” They saw it as a nickname for S...

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