Proverbs 23
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:

Pr 23:1-35.

1. Avoid the dangers of gluttony.

And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
2. put a knife—an Eastern figure for putting restraint on the appetite.
Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
3. are deceitful meat—though well tasted, injurious.
Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
4, 5. (Compare 1Ti 6:9, 10).

thine own wisdom—which regards riches intrinsically as a blessing.

Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
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.
Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
6-8. Beware of deceitful men, whose courtesies even you will repent of having accepted.

evil eye—or purpose (Pr 22:9; De 15:9; Mt 6:23).

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
8. The morsel … words—that is, disgusted with his true character, all pleasant intercourse will be destroyed.
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
9. (Compare Pr 9:8). "Cast not your pearls before swine" (Mt 7:6).
Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
10, 11. (Compare Pr 22:22, 23).
For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
11. redeemer—or avenger (Le 25:25, 26; Nu 35:12), hence advocate (Job 19:25).

plead … thee—(Compare Job 31:21; Ps 35:1; 68:5).

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
12. Here begins another series of precepts.
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
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.
Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.
15, 16. The pleasure afforded the teacher by the pupil's progress is a motive to diligence.
Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
16. my reins—(Compare Ps 7:9).
Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
17, 18. (Compare Margin). The prosperity of the wicked is short.
For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
18. an end—or, "hereafter," another time, when apparent inequalities shall be adjusted (compare Ps 37:28-38).
Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
19-21. guide … way—or direct thy thoughts to a right course of conduct (compare Pr 4:4; 9:6).
Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
20. riotous … flesh—prodigal, or eating more than necessary. Instead of "their flesh" (compare Margin), better, "flesh to them," that is, used for pleasure.
For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
21. drowsiness—the dreamy sleep of the slothful.
Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
22. Hearken—that is, obey (Pr 1:8; Eph 6:1).

despise … old—Adults revere the parents whom, as children, they once obeyed.

Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
23. Buy—literally, "get" (Pr 4:5).

truth—generally and specially as opposed to errors of all kinds.

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
24, 25. (Compare Pr 10:1; 17:21, 25).
Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
26-35. A solemn warning against whoredom and drunkenness (Ho 4:11).

give me—This is the address of that divine wisdom so often presented (Pr 8:1; 9:3, &c.).



my ways—such as I teach you (Pr 3:17; 9:6).

For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
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 Pr 22:14).

She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.
28. increaseth … transgressors—(Pr 5:8-10). The vice alluded to is peculiarly hardening to the heart.
Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
29, 30. This picture is often sadly realized now.

mixed wine—(Compare Pr 9:2; Isa 5:11).

They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
31. when … red—the color denoting greater strength (compare Ge 49:11; De 32:14).

giveth … cup—literally, "gives its eye," that is, sparkles.

moveth … aright—Perhaps its foaming is meant.

At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
32. The acute miseries resulting from drunkenness contrasted with the temptations.
Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
33, 34. The moral effects: it inflames passion (Ge 19:31, 35), lays open the heart, produces insensibility to the greatest dangers, and debars from reformation, under the severest sufferings.
Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
35. awake—that is, from drunkenness (Ge 9:24). This is the language rather of acts than of the tongue.
A Commentary, Critical, Practical, and Explanatory on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown [1882]

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