Proverbs 23

1 When you sit to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before you;
2 put a knife to your throat, if you are a man given to appetite.
3 Don’t be desirous of his dainties, since they are deceitful food.
4 Don’t weary yourself to be rich. In your wisdom, show restraint.
5 Why do you set your eyes on that which is not? For it certainly sprouts wings like an eagle and flies in the sky.
6 Don’t eat the food of him who has a stingy eye, and don’t crave his delicacies:
7 for as he thinks about the cost, so he is. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
8 The morsel which you have eaten you shall vomit up, and lose your good words.
9 Don’t speak in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Don’t move the ancient boundary stone. Don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless:
11 for their Defender is strong. He will plead their case against you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to the words of knowledge.
13 Don’t withhold correction from a child. If you punish him with the rod, he will not die.
14 Punish him with the rod, and save his soul from Sheol.
15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad, even mine:
16 yes, my heart will rejoice, when your lips speak what is right.
17 Don’t let your heart envy sinners; but rather fear the LORD all the day long.
18 Indeed surely there is a future hope, and your hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path!
20 Don’t be amongst ones drinking too much wine, or those who gorge themselves on meat:
21 for the drunkard and the glutton shall become poor; and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy the truth, and don’t sell it. Get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous has great joy. Whoever fathers a wise child delights in him.
25 Let your father and your mother be glad! Let her who bore you rejoice!
26 My son, give me your heart; and let your eyes keep in my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit; and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
28 Yes, she lies in wait like a robber, and increases the unfaithful amongst men.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30 Those who stay long at the wine; those who go to seek out mixed wine.
31 Don’t look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly.
32 In the end, it bites like a snake, and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will imagine confusing things.
34 Yes, you will be as he who lies down in the middle of the sea, or as he who lies on top of the rigging:
35 “They hit me, and I was not hurt! They beat me, and I don’t feel it! When will I wake up? I can do it again. I can find another.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–3

God’s restraints of the appetite only say, Do thyself no harm.

Verses 4, 5

Be not of those that will be rich. The things of 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.

Verses 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; 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 peace.

Verses 10, 11

The fatherless are taken under God’s special 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 expectation!

Verses 17, 18

The believer’s expectation shall not be 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.

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