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Friday, May 29 2015

Proverbs 31: What Prophecy Did King Lemuel's Mother Teach Him?

"The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him"

"King Lemuel" is mentioned only twice in the Holy Scriptures. Both references are in Proverbs 31, from verse 1, and then in verse 4 at the beginning of the moral advice that was given to him by his mother.

"31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him." (Proverbs 31:1 KJV)

There was no King "Lemuel," by an official name, in the history of Israel (see How Many Kings Reigned In The United Kingdom?), or of Israel and Judah (see Kings of Israel and Judah), which has made many wonder why an otherwise-unknown foreign king would be given to write some of what became Israel's history and religious code.

It's not without precedent that it could be done, with a known foreign king, such as when the-then repentant King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the king who destroyed the Kingdom of Judah, was spiritually awakened by the LORD.


"4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

4:36 At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." (Daniel 4:34-37 KJV)

Nevertheless, unlike Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, King "Lemuel" seems Israelite by his Hebrew name, pronounced lawm-oo-ale, which means belonging to the LORD. Because of that righteous and Hebrew name, along with the high position that that king was given in the time of King Solomon (unlike in the time of Nebuchadnezzar when Israel and Judah had no king), some Biblical scholars believe that it may be a symbolic name of Solomon.

That too wasn't without precedent - as even further provided by Solomon himself. Another symbolic name of Solomon was "Jedidiah," from the Hebrew, pronounced yed-eh-dee-awh, which meant beloved of the LORD - very similar in meaning to "Lemuel."

"12:24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him. 12:25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD." (2 Samuel 12:24-25 KJV)

Was Solomon "Lemuel"? There are many who think so. If he was, it would certainly also fit the sort of advice that was given to him by his mother. Whoever she was, she in fact was the actual writer of Proverbs 31 i.e. "The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him."

Bathsheba had learned the bitter lessons about moral failings from her own experience with King David - advice, as it was written in the Proverbs, to not repeat the mistake of his parents David and Bathsheba. While David and Bathsheba did not become idol worshippers later in their lives, the Proverbs also includes a warning to not allow a lapse in morality to be the means of becoming so - which Solomon did have happen (see What Caused Solomon's Idolatry?). Whether it was Bathsheba or not, she knew very well what she was talking about - and how warnings can become prophetic, just as that one did for Solomon - "the prophecy that his mother taught him."

"31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

31:2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? 31:3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 31:5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. 31:6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 31:7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." (Proverbs 31:1-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: What hard lessons did David and Bathsheba learn about brief lapses in morality?
See Bathsheba, The Wife Of Uriah and The Parable Of The Stolen Little Ewe Lamb

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This Day In History, May 29

363: Roman Emperor Julian (see Ancient Empires - Rome) defeated the Sassanids (the last pre-Islamic empire of Persia, known today as Iran; see Ancient Empires - Persia) at the Battle of Ctesiphon.

1167: Frederick Barbarossa was defeated by the Lombard League at the Battle of Legnano.

1328: Philip VI was crowned King of France.

1453: Ottoman Turks (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) under Sultan Mehmed II seized Constantinople (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy) after a seven-month siege. Emperor Constantine XI was killed in the battle. The Eastern Roman Empire collapsed, marking the end of the European Middle Ages.

The Ottoman Empire

1500: Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz, who discovered the Cape of Good Hope, drowned during a voyage.

1555: The Peace of Amasya was concluded between the Ottoman Empire and Persia.

1660: King Charles II was restored to the English throne after the Puritan Commonwealth.

1727: Peter II was proclaimed Czar (the Russian form of "Caesar") of Russia.

1838: John George Lambton, the earl of Durham, landed at Quebec. British PM Lord Melbourne had appointed Lord Durham governor general of Canada to investigate colonial grievances after the Canadian rebellions of 1837. The Durham Report urged unification of Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec) and institution of government by colonists themselves. Unlike the colonists in New England to the south who rebelled after their demands were not met, all of the demands of the Canadian colonists were met, thereby avoiding another "revolution in the Americas."

1903: King Alexander Obrenovich of Serbia, and Queen Draga, were assassinated in Belgrade by the "Black Hand" organization.

1914: The ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank quickly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Rimouski, Quebec after colliding with a Norwegian coal ship in dense fog. 1,012 lives were lost, the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history.

1918: Armenian forces defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Sardarapat.

1944: A German submarine sank the USS Block Island, a U.S. aircraft carrier, near Madeira. It was the only U.S. carrier lost in the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War (1939-1945; the U.S. entered the war in December of 1941 after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii). Eleven U.S. aircraft carriers were sunk by Japanese forces in the Pacific Ocean during the Second World War.

1950: The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the "Mounties") ship St. Roch arrived back at Halifax, Nova Scotia, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate North America.

1953: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norkay become the first (known) humans to reach the top of Mount Everest.

1964: The Arab League met in "East Jerusalem," resulting in the creation of the "Palestinian Liberation Organization."

1966: Thanh Quang, a South Vietnamese Buddhist nun, committed suicide by burning with gasoline to protest the U.S. support of the Saigon regime.

1985: Amputee Steve Fonyo completed his cross-Canada run at Victoria, British Columbia; the marathon took 14 months.

1990: Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian republic, thereby giving him an official power base to attack Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.



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