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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?
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.
This Day In History, May 29
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.
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.