F2 O1 1-9. Warnings. Women and wine. O2 10-31. Example. The model woman.
O1 P 1,2. Call to attention. Q 3. Women. Q 4-7. Wine. P 8,9. Call to advocacy.
3 Give not your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine;
Nor for princes strong drink:
5 Lest they drink, and forget the law,
And pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish,
And wine to those that be bitter of soul.
7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty,
And remember his misery no more.
8 Open your mouth for the dumb
In the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of a poor one and a needy one.
O2 R S 10-12. Her husband. T 13-19. Her occupation. U 20. Her character. Bounty. V 21. Her household. W 22. Herself. Outside. R S 23. Her husband. T 24,25. Her occupation. U 26. Her character. Bounty. V 27,28. Her household. W 29-31. Herself. Inside.
(The 22 verses which follow, each begin with the 22 successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The acrostic cannot be reproduced in English, because the letters of the 2 alphabets vary in their number, order, and equivalents. This is to emphasize the great lesson King Solomon was to learn. Note the warning against foreign women, which, alas! Solomon failed to head. This is why the book closes with the eulogy of the model Israelitish matron.)
10 (א) Who can find a virtuous woman? (Strong in all moral qualities. Ruth is the only one so called in the O.T. May it not be that we have here Bethsheba's or Solomon's [and David's] commendation of Ruth?)
For her price is far above rubies.
11 (ב) The heart of her husband has safely confided in her,
So that he shall have no lack of gain.
12 (ג) She will do him good and not mischief
All the days of her life.
13 (ד) She seeks wool, and flax,
And works with her hands good will.
14 (ה) She is like the merchants' ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15 (ו) She rises also while it is yet night,
And gives live prey (put for all kinds of food) to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 (ז) She considers a field, and buys it:
With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 (ח) She girds her loins with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 (ט) She perceives that her merchandise is good:
Her lamp goes not out by night.
19 (י) She lays her hands to the spindle,
And her hands hold the distaff.
20 (כ) She stretches out her hand to a poor one;
Yes, she reaches forth her hands to the needy.
21 (ל) She will not be afraid of the snow for her household:
For all her household are clothed with double change of garments.
22 (ם) She makes herself coverings of tapestry;
Her clothing is silk and purple.
23 (נ) Her husband is known in the gates, (i.e. respect from all the city gate, which includes high and low, rich and poor, peasants, laborers and judges.)
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 (ס) She makes fine linen, and sells it;
And delivers girdles to the merchant.
25 (ע) Strength and honor are her clothing;
And she laughs at the future.
26 (פ) She opens her mouth with wisdom;
And in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 (צ) She looks well to the ways of her household,
And eats not the bread of idleness.
28 (ק) Her sons arise up, and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her.
29 (ר) Many daughters have done virtuously,
But you excel them all.
30 (ש) Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
But a woman that reveres the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 (ת) Give her of the fruit of her hands;
And let her own works praise her in the gates.