Thoughts on the Proverbs [Proverbs 23:1-11]

Proverbs 23:1-3 [Discomforts of Social Heights]

Proverbs 23:1 When you sit down to eat with someone important, keep in mind who he is. Proverbs 23:2 If you have a big appetite, restrain yourself. Proverbs 23:3 Don't be greedy for the fine food he serves; he may be trying to trick you.

Translations: RHM: if of great appetite; SPRL: restraint; AAT: if you be a man of keen appetite; MOF: when you are sitting down at a ruler’s table be careful how you eat; control yourself if you have a large appetite; JB: doubtful nourishment; BAS: the bread of deceit; ABPS: treacherous food; RSV: deceptive food; AAT: larded with deceit

CROSS REFERENCE: Galatians 5:23 = self -control

NOTES: The sin here warned against, is, luxury and sensuality, and the indulgence of the appetite in eating and drinking, a sin that easily besets us. God requires his rational creatures to be the lords, not the slaves, of animal appetites. His prohibitions only say to us, "Do thyself no harm." [HENRY]

Proverbs 23:4, 5 [Materialism]

Proverbs 23:4 Be wise enough not to wear yourself out trying to get rich. Proverbs 23:5 Your money can be gone in a flash, as if it had grown wings and flown away like an eagle.

Translations: YLT: labour not to make wealth; BER: do not toil to get wealth; surrender that personal ambition; NEB: cease to be concerned

CROSS REFERENCE: Proverbs 3:5; Proverbs 26:12; Proverbs 27:24; Proverbs 28:20; compare 1 Timothy 6:7-19 = determined to be rich; love of money

NOTES: "Wealth is no less elusive than social prestige." (KIDNER) "Possessions are sparrows in flight which can find no place to alight." (NIPPU)

Proverbs 23:6-8 [The Calculating Host]

Proverbs 23:6 Don't eat at the table of a stingy person or be greedy for the fine food he serves. Proverbs 23:7 "Come on and have some more," he says, but he doesn't mean it. What he thinks is what he really is. Proverbs 23:8 You will vomit up what you have eaten, and all your flattery will be wasted.

Translations: RV: an evil eye; MOF: he counts his dishes; RSV: do not eat the bread of the man who is stingy; BER: eat not the bread of him whose eye is selfish neither desire his delicacies for as one who inwardly figures the cost; SPRL: and war thy complimentary speeches; JB: find your compliments wasted

CROSS REFERENCE: Matthew 6:22, 23 = envious eye; Matthew 6:33 = God knows

NOTES: Meals can be very political and a host can have a hidden agenda in which your gluttony and drunkenness is his price for buying your soul. It is not worth the tasty meal and smooth expensive wine.

Proverbs 23:9 [Wisdom Wasted on the Fool]

Proverbs 23:9 Don't try to talk sense to a fool; he can't appreciate it.

Translations: MOF: never talk to a fool; NEB: hold your tongue in the hearing of a stupid man

CROSS REFERENCE: Proverbs 9:7 and Proverbs 26:4

NOTES: It is useless to talk of any serious issues with some persons.

Proverbs 23:10, 11 [Champion of the Fatherless]

Proverbs 23:10 Never move an old property line or take over land owned by orphans. Proverbs 23:11 The Lord is their powerful defender, and he will argue their case against you.

Translations: AAT: remove not the widow’s landmark nor enter the fields of orphans for their champion is strong and he will defend their cause against you

CROSS REFERENCE: Proverbs 22:8; James1:27

NOTES: To take advantage of a widow or orphan - those who can least protect themselves - either in fraud or extortion is among the most despicable acts. However, such selfishness and greed does not go unnoticed. A quick check of the word "poor" in the Scriptures will reveal how God feels about this afflicted group.

Friends of the Nazarene Publishing

Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

Back to Index to Biblical Articles