Proverbs 23


Solomon continues with his thirty sayings of the wise, which all relate to the heart, they begin in Proverbs 22:17 and continue to Proverbs 24:24.

‘When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.’ Proverbs 23:1-3

Saying 7

Wisdom teachers wanted their students to know that manners are logically linked to character, discipline, self-respect and upbringing. It appears that manners are not considered so important in our society today. How sad!

We could say, do not ‘make a pig of yourself’, because it will make a bad impression. We may be under an examination, or there may be an ulterior motive.

These verses appear to be telling us to be careful when we eat with important people because they want something from us.

‘Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.’ Proverbs 23:4-5

Saying 8

There have always been and will continue to be those who are obsessed with wealth. There is a saying which says, ‘easy come, easy go’ which would apply here. Many people have won millions on the lottery or as part of an inheritance but sadly many of those people have blown it all away and their life has come to ruin, Hebrews 13:5.

‘Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. ‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.’ Proverbs 23:6-8

Saying 9

Here this hospitality is described as grudgingly given. We would be better off not being there. Eat and drink implies that the host is counting the cost with each of the bites he takes. They don’t really want to give us anything, because their heart isn’t right towards us.

It is as if we would say, ‘this is very good’, but then we vomit up the food. There are two possible meanings to this phrase.

1. It is sickening to be in the company of such people, or

2. Everything will be lost when you vomit their expensive food.

‘Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.’ Proverbs 23:9

Saying 10

Some things are a complete waste of time and speaking to fools is one of them. they scorn our words simply because they don’t want to understand.

‘Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you.’ Proverbs 23:10-11

Saying 11

Boundaries were put in place for a reason, to stop people from going into the fields to steal crops. This was the sin of coveting more land and more crops, Deuteronomy 19:14 / Deuteronomy 27:17. God is the One who does the defending.

‘Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.’ Proverbs 23:12

Saying 12

We must learn not only to listen to what God says in His Word but we must remember to apply what we learn from His Word to our lives, James 1:22.

‘Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.’ Proverbs 23:13-14

Saying 13

A wayward child is sometimes ‘straightened out’ by being ‘bent over’ even though all of their yelling and screaming may sound as if they are dying.

‘My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.’ Proverbs 22:15-16

Saying 14

The implication is that the son will not only survive but that he will survive because of the discipline. These verses show that people were afraid to discipline for fear of hurting the child. Caution and control have to be exercised with the discipline, Proverbs 23:14, because it will show that the teacher succeeded in their job.

‘Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.’ Proverbs 23:17-18

Saying 15

It’s easy to envy sinners because they have so much but we must remember that we’re not living our lives to please others or ourselves, we’re to live a life which pleases God, Ecclesiastes 12:9.

‘Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.’ Proverbs 23:19-21

Saying 16

Solomon says there is only one way and that is the right way. Notice that there are crowds involved with eating, Philippians 3:19, and drinking, Ephesians 5:18, why is this the wrong crowd? The answer is obvious, we become like them.

‘Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well. The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!’ Proverbs 23:22-25

Saying 17

Children should always try to please their parents. Truth, wisdom, instruction and insight are all priceless and all should be taught by parents to their children. These are all invaluable treasures to help us through life.

‘My son give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well. Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.’ Proverbs 23:26-28

Saying 18

The teacher, that is the parent again, calls for their son’s undivided attention. The parents are also offering themselves as examples, 1 Corinthians 11:1 / Ephesians 5:1. A deep pit is a place where you might become stuck firmly in its mud. This is the consequence of neglecting God’s ways.

‘Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. ‘They hit me,’ you will say, ‘but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?’ Proverbs 23:29-35

Saying 19

Notice that they mixed wine with water and honey, this implies that they didn’t intend to become drunk. The wine was red, which implies it’s attractive to the eye, it’s also smooth, which implies it’s attractive to the taste. The truth about those who are drunk is that they often say things they wouldn’t normally say.

Notice that the drunk person ‘feels no pain’. Even in those days, alcohol easily became an addiction, hence why it’s the first thing on their mind when they wake up.

‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.’ Ephesians 5:18

Go To Proverbs 24


"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."