August 31 – A King’s Duty

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9 (NASB)

The last chapter of Proverbs is made up of two poems which are generally attributed to a person named King Lemuel. The more familiar is the second one called “The Excellent Wife” verses 10-31. The first is “The Wise King” verses 2-9. We don’t know much about King Lemuel, other than what is revealed in Proverbs 31. The name Lemuel means “for God” or “devoted to God.” Based on this one passage we know that Lemuel was a king, he had a wise mother, and he wrote some poetry. Many commentators have surmised that Lemuel is actually King Solomon—in which case the mother would be Bathsheba. Others suggest King Hezekiah or that Lemuel and his mother are characters created Solomon as a picture of an ideal king and queen mother. The counsel from King Lemuel’s mother is good advice for any leader of men. Plead for those who cannot plead their own case, namely those who are otherwise ruined by their condition of weakness. A country’s leaders duty was to righteously uphold the case of the helpless in both physical (v. 6) and material (v. 9). May the Lord grant us many rulers like King Lemuel heeding this advice.