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Proverbs Twenty Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Proverbs 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:

Proverbs 23:2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.

Proverbs 23:3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Proverbs 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Proverbs 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

hath an evil eye. Compare Proverbs 28:22. The eye is said to be the window of the soul. A greedy person or lustful person or a person with evil thoughts can often be discerned as such by the look in his eyes. Note Matthew 6:22-23. The phrase does not mean specifically a “miser” or “selfish person,” as some Bible versions paraphrase it.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

thinketh in his heart. Note Matthew 12:35; Mark 7:20-23.

Proverbs 23:8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Proverbs 23:10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

old landmark. See note on Proverbs 22:28.

Proverbs 23:11 For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

Proverbs 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

Proverbs 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

beatest him with the rod. See note on Proverbs 13:24.

Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

beat him with the rod. This verse does not imply child-beating in the modern sense of the word. The Hebrew word for “beat” is the same as used in 2 Kings 11:12 (“they clapped their hands”). Actually, it has a range of meanings, from “strike lightly” to “smite lethally,” depending on context. Similarly, the word for “rod” can mean anything from a flexible switch to a weapon of war. There is no doubt that this and a number of other passages prescribe reasonable corporal punishment for disobedient children—not administered in anger or revenge but in concern for developing character, and not applied in such a way as to cause real injury, yet stern enough to discourage future wrongdoing. Note Psalm 23:4—“thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

deliver his soul. “Hell” is the Hebrew sheol, the prison of departed spirits in the heart of the earth. The “rod” can be merely a “switch.” Children must learn faith and obedience to godly parents before they will ever learn to have obedient faith in God.

Proverbs 23:15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

Proverbs 23:16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

reins. The kidneys, symbolic of deep feelings.

Proverbs 23:17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

Proverbs 23:18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

winebibbers. This is a clear warning against drinking wine or other intoxicating drinks. It also prohibits gluttony and revelry.

Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Proverbs 23:22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

Proverbs 23:25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 23:27 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.

Proverbs 23:28 She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.

Proverbs 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

Proverbs 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

Proverbs 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

wine when it is red. Here is another prohibition against intoxicating drink. See note on Proverbs 20:1; note on Proverbs 23:20.

Proverbs 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Proverbs 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

Proverbs 23:34 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.

Proverbs 23:35 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.