Lemuel (biblical king)

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Lemuel (Hebrew: לְמוּאֵלLəmū’êl, "belonging to El") is the name of a Biblical king mentioned in Proverbs 31:1 and 4, but otherwise unknown.[1]

The opening verse of Proverbs 31 reads: "The words of king Lemuel. The vision wherewith his mother instructed him." The name occurs again in verse 4: "Give not to kings, O Lemuel, give not wine to kings ..." The discourse, which is an exhortation to chastity, justice, mercy and temperance, appears to end with verse 9, but might continue through the end of the book. Nothing else is found in scriptures concerning Lemuel aside from these two mentions in beginning of Proverbs 31. Jewish legend identifies him as Solomon, taking this advice from his mother Bathsheba; but there is no clear evidence for that.

The widely used Strong's concordance, a reference work that assigns a unique reference number to every Biblical Hebrew word and its English translation, states that Lemuel is Hebrew word 3927, related to words 3926 and 410 and means "(belonging) to God; Lemuel or Lemoel, a symbolic name of Solomon: -Lemuel." [2] Other Bible commentators concur with Strong's: Easton's Bible Dictionary, Hitchcock's Bible Names, Smith's Bible Dictionary and Nave's Topical Bible.[2]

[3] The passage seems to be the one direct address to a king in the book of Proverbs – something that was the norm in wisdom literature of the ancient world.[4]

Solomon had numerous wives and concubines. The mother of Solomon was Bathsheba making her the author of this section of Proverbs if Lemuel is King Solomon. Many commentators typically divide Chapter 31 of Proverbs into two distinct, unrelated sections. Verses 1-9 are directly directed to King Lemuel while Proverbs 31:10-28 describe the 'virtuous' woman.

Some modern scholars (see Revised Version, Prov. 31:1, margin) render the first passage thus: Lemuel, was the king of Assyria.

Name[edit]

The name is related to Lael found in Numbers 3:24 meaning a man consecrated "to God". In etymological form the name Lemuel is kindred with Jamuel (Genesis 46:10) and Namuel (1 Chronicles 4:24).

References[edit]

  1. ^ PD-icon.svg "Lemuel". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  2. ^ a b "Lemuel - Nave's Topical Bible Concordance Online". Biblestudytools.com. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  3. ^ The NET Bible notes on Proverbs 31:1, footnote 1, http://net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Pro&chapter=31&verse=1#
  4. ^ Leah L. Brunner, “King and Commoner in Proverbs and Near Eastern Sources,” Dor le Dor 10 [1982: 210-19.]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Lemuel". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.