Proverbs 23

On Life and Conduct

1 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you,
2 And put a knife to your throat If you are a 1man of great appetite.
3 Do not 2desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food.
4 3Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, 4Cease from your consideration of it
5 When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For 5wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
6 6Do not eat the bread of a 7selfish * man, Or desire his delicacies;
7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But 8his heart is not with you.
8 You will 9vomit up the morsel you have eaten, And waste your compliments.
9 10Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will 11despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not move the ancient boundary Or 12go into the fields of the fatherless,
11 For their 13Redeemer is strong; 14He will plead their case against you.
12 Apply your heart to discipline And your ears to words of knowledge.
13 15Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
14 You shall strike him with the rod and 16rescue his soul from Sheol
15 My son, if your heart is 17wise, My own heart also will be glad;
16 And my inmost being will rejoice When your lips speak 18what is right.
17 19Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the 20fear of the LORD always *.
18 Surely * there is a 21future, And your 22hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and 23be wise, And 24direct your heart in the way
20 Do not be with 25heavy drinkers of wine, Or with 26gluttonous eaters of meat;
21 For the 27heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And 28drowsiness will clothe one with rags
22 29Listen to your father who begot you, And 30do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 31Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And 32he who sires a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your 33father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.
26 34Give me your heart, my son, And let your eyes 35delight in my ways.
27 For a harlot is a 36deep pit And an 37adulterous woman is a narrow well.
28 Surely she 38lurks as a robber, And increases the faithless among men.
29 Who has 39woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who 40linger long over wine, Those who go to taste 41mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles * in the cup, When it 42goes down smoothly;
32 At the last it 43bites like a serpent And stings like a 44viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will 45utter perverse things.
34 And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast.
35 "They 46struck me, but I did not become ill; They beat me, but I did not know it. When shall I awake? I will 47seek another * drink."

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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.

Cross References 47

  • 1. Proverbs 23:20
  • 2. Psalms 141:4; Proverbs 23:6; Dan 1:5, 8, 13, 15, 16
  • 3. Proverbs 15:27; Proverbs 28:20; Matthew 6:19; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 13:5
  • 4. Proverbs 3:5, 7
  • 5. Proverbs 27:24; 1 Timothy 6:17
  • 6. Psalms 141:4
  • 7. Deuteronomy 15:9; Proverbs 28:22
  • 8. Proverbs 26:24, 25
  • 9. Proverbs 25:16
  • 10. Matthew 7:6
  • 11. Proverbs 1:7
  • 12. Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:10
  • 13. Job 19:25; Jeremiah 50:34
  • 14. Proverbs 22:23
  • 15. Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 19:18
  • 16. 1 Corinthians 5:5
  • 17. Proverbs 23:24; Proverbs 27:11; Proverbs 29:3
  • 18. Proverbs 8:6
  • 19. Psalms 37:1; Proverbs 24:1, 19
  • 20. Proverbs 28:14
  • 21. Psalms 19:11; Psalms 58:11; Proverbs 24:14
  • 22. Psalms 9:18
  • 23. Proverbs 6:6
  • 24. Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 9:6
  • 25. Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29, 30; Isaiah 5:22; Matthew 24:49; Luke 21:34; Romans 13:13; Ephesians 5:18
  • 26. Deuteronomy 21:20; Proverbs 28:7
  • 27. Proverbs 21:17
  • 28. Proverbs 6:10, 11
  • 29. Proverbs 1:8; Ephesians 6:1
  • 30. Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 30:17
  • 31. Proverbs 4:7; Proverbs 18:15; Matthew 13:44
  • 32. Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 29:3
  • 33. Proverbs 27:11
  • 34. Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 4:4
  • 35. Psalms 1:2; Psalms 119:24
  • 36. Proverbs 22:14
  • 37. Proverbs 5:20
  • 38. Proverbs 6:26; Proverbs 7:12; Ecclesiastes 7:26
  • 39. Isaiah 5:11, 22
  • 40. 1 Samuel 25:36; Proverbs 20:1; Isaiah 5:11; Isaiah 28:7; Ephesians 5:18
  • 41. Psalms 75:8
  • 42. Song of Songs 7:9
  • 43. Job 20:16; Proverbs 20:1; Ephesians 5:18
  • 44. Psalms 91:13; Isaiah 11:8
  • 45. Proverbs 2:12
  • 46. Proverbs 27:22; Jeremiah 5:3
  • 47. Proverbs 26:11; Isaiah 56:12

Footnotes 24

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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