Who is king Lemuel? According to some the name was a pet name for Solomon. Thus, this would make the woman speaking this his mother, Bathsheba. God called Solomon Jedidiah, which means "beloved of the Lord." Lemuel means "devoted to the Lord." Several commentators believe this may have been a pet name for Solomon used by Bathsheba. I love pet names. I have several for my children (which I won't mention because it might embarass them). Most pet names arise because of love - and most are spoken in love as well. How this was the case for Bathsheba.
This is described as being the "prophecy" that his mother taught him. Prophecy here is "massa" which means a burden or a load. It was a weight that his mother carried with her all her days - and it was truths as a result of that burden that she spoke strongly to her son. Considering what happened to Bathsheba and David it is easy to see why this would have been a burden to her. She may have heard whisperings in the palace all of her life - whisperings that were the result of her sin with David. Thus we can see that her burden would be to save her son from a similar fate by warning him of some things to avoid as a man - and especially as a king. Those words come later - for now let's take a closer look at that pet name - Lemuel.
Bathsheba speaks of Solomon as her son - as the son of her womb and the son of her vows. We can only imagine the difficulty and pain Bathsheba felt after her sin with David - and the loss of their child born of their sin. Would God ever give her another child? Had her sin cost her everything? These are the words of a woman who needed to know God's grace.
Ever wonder why Solomon was called Jedidiah by God? This means "beloved of the Lord," and was to be a sign to David and Bathsheba that this boy was dearly loved of the Lord. What a glorious picture of grace this is to us! And now that we see that his mother who carried him considered him the "son of her vows" it becomes even more precious to us. It is easy to see Bathsheba coming to her own repentance. These words may be her own Psalm 51 moment. She knew she should not have committed adultery with the king. She knew she should not have consented to the cover up with him - one in which she unwittingly was an accessory to the murder of her own husband. Oh the guilt and pain that must have racked her from day to day. Then came the death of her first child - the very child that resulted from her sin. It would be easy to see her sinking into utter despair and depression. Yet we see her doing this. Instead we see her turning to the Lord in repentance and in making new vows to God to be a woman of character and godliness! And how God accepted her brokenness as a gift and a prize. He gave her a son - and afterward God gave him a pet name - Jedidiah - the beloved of God - for the Lord loved this child that resulted from the grace on the other side of David's sin.
Here dear saints is the wisdom for today. Never give up on turning to God in repentance and in faith. Never turn away and think you've gone too far. If you do - think of Bathsheba and David. Think of the shame and disgrace of their sin - and the cost of the child afterwards. Then think of the name that Bathsheba called her son within the palace. Consider that this child of her vows was a constant reminder to her that the Lord loved him too! He heard her prayers and cries of confession. He too loved the child on the other side of repentance - as he does everything that is birthed after we break and turn to Him.
So, if you are tempted and tried - sorely grieving your own sins. If you struggle with whether God will receive you - welcome one so stained and damaged by rebellion and wickedness. Think of the lovely wafting sounds of "Lemuel!" sounding through the palace. She too had a pet name - one that reminded her of God's own name for her son. Think of a child that God gave a name to remind you that He loved him and that He forgave you. Think of a pet name - a name that was uttered with a smile upon Bathsheba's face. Think of that name that reminded her that though her sins were as scarlet - God washed them whiter than snow! That, dear saints, is wisdom - and it is also the glorious grace of God! May He ever be praised and glorified for shedding it upon us!