The Queen Mother...and The Perfect Woman
King Lemuel has always been one of the most mysterious characters mentioned in the Bible. Nothing is known about his identity, kingdom, or subjects. Many historians believe he was Solomon, but if that had been true, why did not the ancient writer say so? Others believe he may have been the ruler of a small adjacent kingdom and was an admirer and friend of his important neighbor. A few critics state he was the figment of a person's imagination; that he never existed. That is a very unlikely supposition since the Scriptures state he was taught by his mother who was concerned about her future daughter-in-law. The last chapter in the book of Proverbs begins with the statement, "The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him."
Certain questions are unavoidable. Why did she offer advice to her son? Was she a member of the royal court and perhaps even a wife of Solomon? Had she seen the evil effects of alcohol in the lives of people within the palace? When the integrity of Solomon was undermined by many pagan women, and lust ruined the spirituality of the ruler, did this unknown mother fear her son might be influenced by the example of his benefactor? She was very shrewd; her observations concerning the "virtuous woman" expressed concern.
Was Lemuel a bachelor, and did his mother's opinions increase the difficulty of selecting a spouse? Was he so influenced by her words that he had no interest in younger women? The answers to these questions may never be known, so we are left with two mysterious figures whose words and deeds were intriguing.
Another question arises regarding the final segment in Solomon's book. At first glance it seems the inclusion of Lemuel's manuscript might have been an afterthought of the man who arranged the ancient script. The thousands of statements attributed to Solomon were carefully condensed into thirty chapters. This would have been the task of ...
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