Proverbs 31:1

ESV The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
NIV The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
NASB The words of King Lemuel, the pronouncement which his mother taught him:
CSB The words of King Lemuel, a pronouncement that his mother taught him:
NLT The sayings of King Lemuel contain this message, which his mother taught him.
KJV The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
NKJV The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

What does Proverbs 31:1 mean?

As with the introduction to chapter 30, scholars differ on the precise statement being made in this verse. Most interpret it as a reference to a king named Lemuel. Like Agur (Proverbs 30:1), the Bible gives no other background for Lemuel. The introduction uses the same word ascribed to Agur's message: calling it an "oracle," meaning an important, weighty matter. Zechariah uses this word in Zechariah 9:1: "the oracle of the word of the Lᴏʀᴅ is against the land of Hadrach."

The advice contained in this section is given from a mother to her son. While fathers are held accountable for their children's spiritual education (Ephesians 6:4), mothers play an equally important role (Titus 2:4). As noted in the New Testament, Timothy's mother taught him the Scriptures from his infancy (2 Timothy 1:5). Addressing Timothy, the apostle Paul writes, "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14–15).
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