Verses 1-3 God's restraints of the appetite only say, Do thyself no ( proverbs 23:4-5 ) this world are not happiness and a portion for a soul; those that hold them ever so fast, cannot hold them always, cannot hold them long. ( 6-8 ) . Do not make thyself burdensome to any, especially those not sincere. When we are called by God to his feast, and to let our souls delight themselves, Isa. 25:6 Isa. 55:2 |, we may safely partake of the Bread of life. Verse 9 . It is our duty to take all fit occasions to speak of Divine things; but if what a wise man says will not be heard, let him hold his ( proverbs 23:10-11 ) protection. He is their Redeemer, who will take their part; and he is mighty, almighty.
Verses 12-16 Here is a parent instructing his child to give his mind to the Scriptures. Here is a parent correcting his child: accompanied with prayer, and blessed of God, it may prove a means of preventing his destruction. Here is a parent encouraging his child, telling him what would be for his good. And what a comfort it would be, if herein he answered his ( proverbs 23:17-18 ) disappointed; the end of his trials, and of the sinner's prosperity, is at hand.
Verses 19-28 The gracious Saviour who purchased pardon and peace for his people, with all the affection of a tender parent, counsels us to hear and be wise, and is ready to guide our hearts in his way. Here we have an earnest call to young people, to attend to the advice of their godly parents. If the heart be guided, the steps will be guided. Buy the truth, and sell it not; be willing to part with any thing for it. Do not part with it for pleasures, honours, riches, or any thing in this world. The heart is what the great God requires. We must not think to divide the heart between God and the world; he will have all or none. Look to the rule of God's word, the conduct of his providence, and the good examples of his people. Particular cautions are given against sins most destructive to wisdom and grace in the soul. It is really a shame to make a god of the belly. Drunkenness stupifies men, and then all goes to ruin. Licentiousness takes away the heart that should be given to God. Take heed of any approaches toward this sin, it is very hard to retreat from it. It bewitches men to their ruin.
Verses 29-35 Solomon warns against drunkenness. Those that would be kept from sin, must keep from all the beginnings of it, and fear coming within reach of its allurements. Foresee the punishment, what it will at last end in, if repentance prevent not. It makes men quarrel. Drunkards wilfully make woe and sorrow for themselves. It makes men impure and insolent. The tongue grows unruly; the heart utters things contrary to reason, religion, and common civility. It stupifies and besots men. They are in danger of death, of damnation; as much exposed as if they slept upon the top of a mast, yet feel secure. They fear no peril when the terrors of the Lord are before them; they feel no pain when the judgments of God are actually upon them. So lost is a drunkard to virtue and honour, so wretchedly is his conscience seared, that he is not ashamed to say, I will seek it again. With good reason we were bid to stop before the beginning. Who that has common sense would contract a habit, or sell himself to a sin, which tends to such guilt and misery, and exposes a man every day to the danger of dying insensible, and awaking in hell? Wisdom seems in these chapters to take up the discourse as at the beginning of the book. They must be considered as the words of Christ to the sinner.
Proverbs 23:1-35 .
1. Avoid the dangers of gluttony.
2. put a knife--an Eastern figure for putting restraint on the appetite.
3. are deceitful meat--though well tasted, injurious.
4, 5. (Compare 1 Timothy 6:9 1 Timothy 6:10 ).
thine own wisdom--which regards riches intrinsically as a blessing.
5. Wilt . . . eyes--As the eyes fly after or seek riches, they are not, that is, either become transitory or unsatisfying; fully expressed by their flying away.
6-8. Beware of deceitful men, whose courtesies even you will repent of having accepted.
evil eye--or purpose ( Proverbs 22:9 , Deuteronomy 15:9 , Matthew 6:23 ).
8. The morsel . . . words--that is, disgusted with his true character, all pleasant intercourse will be destroyed.
9. (Compare Proverbs 9:8 ). "Cast not your pearls before swine" ( Matthew 7:6 ).
10, 11. (Compare Proverbs 22:22 Proverbs 22:23 ).
11. redeemer--or avenger ( Leviticus 25:25 Leviticus 25:26 , Numbers 35:12 ), hence advocate ( Job 19:25 ).
plead . . . thee--(Compare Job 31:21 , Psalms 35:1 , 68:5 ).
12. Here begins another series of precepts.
13, 14. While there is little danger that the use of the "divine ordinance of the rod" will produce bodily harm, there is great hope of spiritual good.
15. 16. The pleasure afforded the teacher by the pupil's progress is a motive to diligence.
16. my reins--(Compare Psalms 7:9 ).
17, 18. (Compare Margin). The prosperity of the wicked is short.
18. an end--or, "hereafter," another time, when apparent inequalities shall be adjusted (compare Psalms 37:28-38 ).
19-21. guide . . . way--or direct thy thoughts to a right course of conduct (compare Proverbs 4:4 , 9:6 ).
20. riotous . . . flesh--prodigal, or eating more than necessary. Instead of "their flesh" (compare Margin), better, "flesh to them," that is, used for pleasure.
21. drowsiness--the dreamy sleep of the slothful.
22. Hearken--that is, obey ( Proverbs 1:8 , Ephesians 6:1 ).
despise . . . old--Adults revere the parents whom, as children, they once obeyed.
23. Buy--literally, "get" ( Proverbs 4:5 ).
truth--generally and specially as opposed to errors of all kinds.
24, 25. (Compare Proverbs 10:1 , Proverbs 17:21 Proverbs 17:25 ).
26-35. A solemn warning against whoredom and drunkenness ( Hosea 4:11 ).
give me--This is the address of that divine wisdom so often presented ( Proverbs 8:1 , 9:3 , &c.).
my ways--such as I teach you ( Proverbs 3:17 , 9:6 ).
27, 28. deep ditch--a narrow pit, out of which it is hard to climb.
lieth in wait--to ensnare men into the pit, as hunters entrap game (compare Proverbs 22:14 ).
28. increaseth . . . transgressors--( Proverbs 5:8-10 ). The vice alluded to is peculiarly hardening to the heart.
29, 30. This picture is often sadly realized now.
mixed wine--(Compare Proverbs 9:2 , Isaiah 5:11 ).
31. when . . . red--the color denoting greater strength (compare Genesis 49:11 , Deuteronomy 32:14 ).
giveth . . . cup--literally, "gives its eye," that is, sparkles.
moveth . . . aright--Perhaps its foaming is meant.
32. The acute miseries resulting from drunkenness contrasted with the temptations.
33, 34. The moral effects: it inflames passion ( Genesis 19:31 Genesis 19:35 ), lays open the heart, produces insensibility to the greatest dangers, and debars from reformation, under the severest sufferings.
35. awake--that is, from drunkenness ( Genesis 9:24 ). This is the language rather of acts than of the tongue.