Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Proverbs-Chapter 23

Prov 23.1-35 continues with the “Words of the Wise.”

v 1…When you sit down to dine with a ruler (any person of power), consider carefully what is before you (don’t be intimidated by the atmosphere of power and eat and drink in moderation; also observe who else is there and what you say),

v 2…And put a knife to your throat (control yourself) if you are a man of appetite (for food or lust of any kind).

v 3…Do not desire his delicacies (crave what he has), for it is deceptive food (the ruler wants something from you, don’t be seduced by the atmosphere and get into things you will regret).

v 4…Do not weary yourself (get anxious over) to gain wealth (it is vanity, no purpose), cease from your consideration (your own wisdom to gain riches).

v 5…When you set your eyes on it, it is gone (no substance to it) for wealth certainly makes itself wings (it is temporary), like an eagle that flies towards the heavens (and you can’t capture them, once gone they are gone).

v 6…Do not eat the bread of a selfish man (“ein ra” or evil eye=Prov 28.22; Matt 6.23; Deut 15.9), or his delicacies (because he is not generous, these things are bait and have a hidden purpose).

v 7…For as he thinks within himself (reckons in his soul), so he is (his true nature is on the inside, calculating). He says to you, “Eat and drink!” but his heart (desires, thoughts, intentions) is not with you (his politeness is not sincere. This can be discovered by his looks and actions-Prov 27.19).

v 8…You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten (pay for it after finding out about the lies and phoniness of the host) and waste your compliments (on his false hospitality).

v 9…Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words (not appreciate them).

v 10…Do not move the ancient boundary (see 22.28) or go into the fields of the fatherless (to carry off the increase found there and to possess them).

v 11…For their redeemer is strong; he will plead their case against you (and he is also the judge against those who oppress the poor, widow and orphan).

v 12…Apply (bring in) your heart to discipline (instruction, correction), and your ears to words of knowledge (wisdom can be dispensed but it must be received first to have any good).

v 13…Do not hold back discipline (instruction, correction) from the child (it belongs to him, to not correct a child is to withhold it). Although you beat him with the rod (branch), he will not die.

v 14…You shall beat (smite) him with the rod (branch) and deliver his soul from Sheol (stopping him now will be a blessing and keep him from “death” later).

v 15…My son, if your heart is wise, my own heart also will be glad (that his children have increased his teaching).

v 16…And my inmost being (Hebrew “kilyoti” or “kidneys”) will rejoice, when your lips speak what is right (evidence that they have learned wisdom).

v 17…Do not let your heart envy sinners (because their present times look prosperous or happy but their prosperity will end in judgment), but live in the fear (reverence) of Yehovah always (have an eternal perspective).

v 18…Surely there is a future (latter end, a Yom Ha Din or “Day of Judgment”), and your hope (expectation) will not be cut off (our hopes, based on Yehovah’s word, are a sure thing and will be fulfilled).

v 19…Listen (shema), my son, and be wise, and direct your heart (mind, soul, spirit, kidneys, bowels, thoughts, intentions, desires) in the way (the Torah).

v 20…Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, or with guttonous eaters of meat (both give a bad example).

v 21…For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty (wasted their money), and drowsiness (laziness that they sink into) will clothe a man with rags (they wont prosper).

v 22…Listen (hear and obey) to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old (by not listening to her counsel because of her age).

v 23…Buy truth (no matter the cost or labor to gain it-Rev 3.18) and sell it not (because it is too valuable), get wisdom (Hebrew “chachmah” which is knowing what to do when you have an understanding of the facts) and instruction and understanding (Hebrew “binah” or comprehension of the meaning of the facts).

v 24…The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice (because his child is a blessing) and he who begets a wise son will be glad in him.

v 25…Let your father and your mother be glad (a reason for a child to gain wisdom) and let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

v 26…Give me your heart (desires), my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways (get an overall perspective).

v 27…For a harlot is a deep pit (a trap for those who are seduced and fall in), and an adulterous woman is a narrow well (be hard to escape from).

v 28…Surely she lurks (lies in wait) as a robber (looking for prey), and increases the faithless among men (there are many who yield to their seduction).

v 29…Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contention? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?

v 30…Those who linger long over wine, those who go to search out mixed wine (with other ingredients like spices to make stronger or taste better, etc).

v 31…Do not look on the wine when it is red (with greedy eyes, to long for its tempting color), when it sparkles (“gives its eye”) in the cup (how it looks), when it goes down smoothly (tasty in the throat).

v 32…At the last (eventually) it bites like a serpent (ruins your life), and stings like a viper (with poisonous venom).

v 33…Your eyes will see strange things (numbs your senses) and your mind (heart, desires, thoughts) will utter perverse things (stupid talk)

v 34…And you will be like one who lies down in the heart of the sea (in a ship, tossed and reeling about), or like one who lies down on the top of a mast (a lookout where the rocking of the ship is greatest).

v 35…They have struck me, but I did not become ill (did not feel the adverse affects), they beat me, but I did not know it (was not aware of it). When shall I awake (he is passed out and is anxious to get over the negative effect)? I will seek another drink (he is addicted and will do it again).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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