The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise saying from the wisest man on earth at that time—Solomon.
Pro 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
Pro 23:2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
When you are invited to dine with the upper class—you should not scarf down your food like you haven’t eaten in a week.
Barnes has the following to say: i. e., “Restrain thy appetite, eat as if the knife were at thy throat.” Others render the words “thou wilt put a knife to thy throat” etc., i. e., “indulgence at such a time may endanger thy very life.”
Pro 23:3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
Pro 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
These verses are pretty much talking about the same thing. We should not covet the rich or what the rich have. Also, as a faithful Christian, we are to seek the Kingdom of God and lay up our riches in heaven and not on the earth. So we do not seek to be wealthy by earthly standards. Such ambition will distract us from the course God has put in front of us and we will surely lose our way.
Pro 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
1Ti 6:8-11 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Pro 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.
The rich never have enough—they are never satisfied and are always chasing after more wealth, power or fame. You set your eyes on a goal (saying, If I make this much money, I can do this, that, and the other thing for the Lord)—but when you get to that goal—the goal keeps moving higher and higher causing you to go further and further away from where you started.
He who is faithful is little will be faithful in much. Learn to be content with what God has provided for you instead of chasing the pie in the sky.
This does not mean we do not set goals—but they need to be in accord with God’s will and not the will of our flesh.
Pro 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
JFG: Beware of deceitful men, whose courtesies even you will repent of having accepted.
evil eye — or purpose (Pro_22:9; Deu_15:9; Mat_6:23).
Pro 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.
Pro 23:8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
Clarke: The morsel which thou hast eaten - On reflection thou wilt even blame thyself for having accepted his invitation.
Pro 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
This reminds us of the Lord’s words: Mat 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Pro 23:10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
Pro 23:11 For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
Landmarks were very sacred and a lot of times they had to do with a spiritual event. For instance Jacob setting up the stones where he experienced the vision of the ladder. The 12 stones piled up when Joshua and the host crossed the Jordan and the landmark that the 2 ½ tribes erected after the division of the land and they were going back over Jordan.
Then there are boundary lines or property lines. Old deeds used landmarks to map out the property. “The old oak tree to the giant boulder.” Sometimes it is wooden stakes or stone walls. Moving these landmarks is stealing land.
There is a provision in the Law for the widows and the fatherless. God looked out for them. Farmers had to round the edges when harvesting to leave crop for the less fortunate.
The above scripture shows another way people would take advantage of those in a vulnerable circumstance. Moving property markers to acquire more land, or even steal directly from the fields and take their crop.
God is watching and He is not mocked—He will require justice for such things.
Pro 23:12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
This verse implies more than just head knowledge, but an education of our heart and our will to the things of God.
Looking at the word “instruction” in Strong’s Concordance we see the scope of what is meant by this word.
From H3256; properly chastisement; figuratively reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint: - bond, chastening ([-eth]), chastisement, check, correction, discipline, doctrine, instruction, rebuke.
Part of our instruction comes in the form of correction or rebuking—not always pleasant, but God is telling us to pay attention to it and learn from it.
If we expect others, especially our children to take to heart the instruction and lessons we give them, then we need to lead by example.
Pro 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
Pro 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Some new parents think that spanking a child will damage their relationship with them. The child will hate them. That is kind of twisted logic. We have all seen children who are never corrected, never spanked and everyone dreads having to be around those children. They are out of control and disrespectful.
God’s Word is commanding us to discipline our children when necessary. Slapping your child’s hand or butt is not child abuse, it is a means to educate. If one slaps their child for no reason then we can argue child abuse. But a simple spanking to get their attention and make them think about what they have done is proper and the actions of a responsible parent.
Correction in verse 13 is the same as instruction in verse 12.
Think of the Jeffery Dommers and the Ted Bundys of the world. People like that start as children. They start by hurting animals and progress to people. I don’t know their childhood, but if you have a child who displays no regard for others, for the life of others---you need to take the drastic action God is speaking about. He won’t die from it—it may save other’s lives and deliver him from sheol. That is either an early grave or can be thought of as second death.
The thought that strikes me is to save his “soul” from sheol. Everyone is promised a resurrection in the Kingdom—but those with such a seared conscience won’t make it in the Kingdom.
Parents need to think of the big picture when raising a child. Not the here and now, but how they will be as an adult and a productive member of the society and their character overall.
Pro 23:15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.
Pro 23:16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
Pro 23:17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
Pro 23:18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Solomon is now seeing things from the parents’ side and how joyous he would be if his son actually learned the lessons he tried to teach him. There would be no greater joy as a parent to know that you were successful in teaching our child to be wise and just and loving and a productive member of society.
Having godly wisdom doesn’t mean you will be rich, and so when looking at those doing better than you temporally don’t be jealous. Happiness doesn’t come from things, from stuff—it comes from within. And God will put it in our hearts if our hearts are stayed on Him.
In the not too far future the rich will be throwing their money in the streets because it will be worthless, but those who are rich in faith will be able to endure what is coming.
Pro 23:19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
Pro 23:20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
More admonitions of wisdom for training up our children to reverence God and be a respectable member of society.
We are to look after our heart—that is, what we set our affections on. A wise person will set their affections on God and His ways.
The warning also is to who we keep company with. He just got through telling him not to be envious of those who have worldly abundance. Now he is telling them not to mix with those on the other side either. Those who like to drink and even those who are gluttons when it comes to food. These people are not respectable members of society.
Whether it be drugs, alcohol or food—these people are obsessed with or addicted to these things and that is all that matters. Those addicted to drugs or alcohol will lie, cheat and steal to get their fix. It may start off as recreational but these substances are meant to cause addiction and enslavement to them.
Guide your heart in the way—these conditions are not in the way you should be guiding or going on purpose to.
Choose your friends wisely.
Pro 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Pro 23:22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
"No drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of heaven." (1Co_6:10) No drunkard, therefore, can hope to be a member of the Body of Christ.
How true is the statement in scripture of the effects of drunkardness and gluttony and in our day we can add drug addiction or even gambling addictions.
1) It comes to poverty. The can never satisfy their addiction and as they increase their usage they spend all their money for their habit and some even resort to stealing or begging to get more money to get their fix.
2) Drowsiness—We see it drug addicts or drunks, they can’t even walk straight and look half asleep. It is not a pretty picture. These addictions change the appearance of a person besides their character. People on these substances are useless members of society. Even society recognizes that.
3) Clothe a man with rags. Look at those who are addicts and drunks and see them after they have lost their home and their families. They become bums and live on the street eating out of garbage barrels, finding half smoked cigarettes on the ground that they can finish smoking. They become a desperate lot.
These addictions are out of selfishness. Whether it is because they like the buzz or the high they get while in the middle of their gluttony or because they wish to drown their sorrows---it is all selfishness. It is all about them and other people do not come into the picture. They do not think of their families; wives, children or parents and how this will affect them or what influence their behavior will have in stumbling one of them in the same way. They are not thinking of their aging parents and how they will care for them. They don’t have that concern. It is one’s duty to care of their parents in their old age in one way or another. We do not have the liberty to abandon them when they need us most.
Pro 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Look at some other versions:
(BBE) Get for yourself that which is true, and do not let it go for money; get wisdom and teaching and good sense.
(CEV) Invest in truth and wisdom, discipline and good sense, and don't part with them
This verse is often quoted. “Buy the truth and sell is not”, well the scripture is also saying buy wisdom, instruction and understanding and sell it not either.
I like how the CEV or Contemporary English Version puts it, “Invest in….truth, wisdom, discipline and good sense.” These things are an investment of time and energy. They don’t come naturally but have to be worked at. Once you have worked on it or are in the process of working on these good qualities, don’t throw it all away or let something or someone take them from you.
Pro 23:24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
Pro 23:25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
How true are these verses? Look at the heart ache of parents when they have to raise their grandchildren because their sons and daughters are either addicted to drugs and alcohol as we previously read, or they get involved with crime because they had envy over what other people had. They were not content with what they had. Their children did not buy; truth, wisdom, discipline or good sense and if they once had it, they sold it or let someone steal it from them.
These days parents to have children that can take care of themselves and their own children are a rarety. Those parents know it and are extremely thankful and rejoice that they are not constantly bailing out their children from one mess or another.
Pro 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
My son, give me thine heart - This is the speech of God to every human soul; give thy affections to God, so as to love him with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength.
And let thine eyes observe my ways - Be obedient to me in all things. My son, thou believest that I Am, and that I Am the Fountain of all good. Give me thy heart; it is I alone who can make thee happy. Observe my ways - follow me; do what is right in my sight. This exhortation contains three words: Believe, Love, Obey! This is the sum of God’s counsels to every child of man.
Pro 23:27 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
The thought is how hard it is to recover from sexual sins. Pornography would definitely fit into this context. When one falls victim to this fleshly trap they go down so far that it can be impossible to extricate one from it. You can’t unsee such things, you can’t undo it. This verse is not talking about a sin of fallen flesh, but one that requires contemplation before doing. It requires planning and therefore it is willful and to the degree it is willful that degree is not covered under the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice and will need stripes.
Consider yourself warned to stay away from fornication, adultery, pornography and all sins of a sexual nature, they are very dangerous. You dig yourself a pit that you may not be able to get out of.
Pro 23:28 She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.
You are the victim to the whore. Without you she would not have a job. So she will do all to entice you. This whore does not have to be a hooker on the street in our day and age. She can be at the desk next to yours at work. With the sexual promiscuity of today there is no sense of commitment or loyalty to beau or spouse. Be careful at the workplace and give no appearance of evil. Be careful of the co-worker who likes to touch or get too close. Make your position known from the beginning or you will get into trouble.
Be careful when you are on-line, what you look at or watch.
Pro 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
It is thought this verse goes back to the verses on drunkenness. With drunkenness comes a removal of inhibition and the opportunity to get into trouble with sexual immorality. One thing leads to another and soon the pit you have dug is so deep, it leads to more drunkenness and sorrow
Pro 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 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.
Look not thou upon the wine - Let neither the color, the odour, the sparkling, etc., of the wine, when poured out, induce thee to drink of it. However good and pure it may be, it will to thee be a snare, because thou art addicted to it, and hast no self-command.
Pro 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
When we tarry long at any temptation, we pass the temptation stage and enter fully into the sin. Then the sin affects our whole self as though we had been bitten by a poisonous snake. It is painful at first but then a numbness and paralysis of conscience takes over.
While Solomon is talking about being a drunk throughout this chapter, we can apply this principle to a host of sins that can overtake us.
Pro 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Pro 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.
Lieth down in the midst of the sea - He is utterly regardless of life; which is expressed very forcibly by one in a state of intoxication ascending the shrouds, clasping the mast-head, and there falling asleep; whence, in a few moments, he must either fall down upon the deck and be dashed to pieces, or fall into the sea and be drowned. Reader, if thou be a man given to this appetite, put a knife to thy throat. (See Verse 2 of this chapter)
It is interesting that Solomon pares drunkenness and fornication (adultery) together. Both may give you a temporary high, but then you are left with an emptiness and no lasting satisfaction. Both are totally carnal actions and something anyone professing to be a Christian should stay as far away as possible from. Both are a sickness that will ruin the soul if indulged in and will lead to the second death.
Pro 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.
They have stricken me - Though beat and abused, full of pain, and exhibiting a frightful figure; yet so drunk was he, as to be insensible who had struck him: still, after all this abuse and disgrace, he purposes to embrace the next opportunity of repeating his excesses! Sin makes a man contemptible in life, miserable in death, and wretched to all eternity. Is it not strange, then, that men should Love it?