31:1 king Lemuel. Since there was no king of either Judah or Israel named Lemuel, and since it is very unlikely that this chapter could refer to the king of one of the pagan nations around the children of Israel, it seems probable that Lemuel (meaning “belonging to God”) is simply another name—or title—of King Solomon.
31:1 the prophecy. See note on Proverbs 30:1. The “prophecy” could be understood simply as an “oracle,” inspired of God but not predicting the future. The Hebrew word for “prophecy” here is never so translated elsewhere in the Old Testament, except in Proverbs 30:1. Its usual translation is “burden” (Isaiah 21:1,11-13, etc.). Such a prophecy was a divinely inspired burden which the prophet was constrained to convey to his people.
31:1 his mother. If, as seems probable in context, Lemuel was actually quoting his mother’s teaching, this is one of the few chapters in the Bible written in effect by a woman. See also Judges 5; Luke 1:41-55.