Proverbs 23

1 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what[a] is before you,
2 and stick a knife in your throat if you have a big[b] appetite;
3 don't desire his choice food,[c] for that food is deceptive.
4 Don't wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it.
5 As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.[d]
6 Don't eat a stingy person's bread,[e] and don't desire his choice food,[f]
7 for as he thinks within himself, so he is.[g] "Eat and drink," he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
8 You will vomit the little you've eaten and waste your pleasant words.
9 Don't speak to[h] a fool, for he will despise the insight of your words.
10 Don't move an ancient property line, and don't encroach on the fields of the fatherless,[i]
11 for their Redeemer is strong, and He will take up their case against you.[j]
12 Apply yourself to instruction and listen to words of knowledge.
13 Don't withhold correction from a youth; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14 Strike him with a rod, and you will rescue his life from Sheol.[k]
15 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will indeed rejoice.
16 My innermost being will cheer when your lips say what is right.[l]
17 Don't be jealous of sinners;[m] instead, always fear the Lord.
18 For then you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.[n]
19 Listen, my son, and be wise; keep your mind on the right course.
20 Don't associate with those who drink too much wine, or with those who gorge themselves on meat.
21 For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor, and grogginess will clothe [them] in rags.
22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and don't despise your mother when[o] she is old.
23 Buy-and do not sell-truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding.[p]
24 The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly, and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him.
25 Let your father and mother have joy, and let her who gave birth to you rejoice.[q]
26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit, and a forbidden woman is a narrow well;
28 indeed, she sets an ambush like a robber and increases those among men who are unfaithful.[r]
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has conflicts? Who has complaints? Who has wounds for no reason?[s] Who has red eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine, those who go looking for mixed wine.[t]
31 Don't gaze at wine when it is red, when it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly.[u]
32 In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things.[v]
34 You'll be like someone sleeping out at sea or lying down on the top of a ship's mast.
35 "They struck me, but[w] I feel no pain! They beat me, but I didn't know it![x] When will I wake up? I'll look for another [drink]."[y]

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Proverbs 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

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.

Footnotes 25

Chapter Summary


This chapter relates the false steps Solomon took, notwithstanding all his wisdom, in marrying strange wives, and worshipping other gods, 1Ki 11:1-8 upon which the Lord threatens him to rend the kingdom in his son's time, 1Ki 11:9-13 and he raised up adversaries against him, Hadad, Rezon, and Jeroboam, 1Ki 11:14-26 of which last an account is given, and of his being assured by Ahijah the prophet of his having ten of the tribes of Israel given to him; which Solomon having notice of sought to slay him, 1Ki 11:27-40 and the chapter is concluded with an account of Solomon's death and burial, 1Ki 11:41-43.

Proverbs 23 Commentaries

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