Proverbs 23

1 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you, 2 and put a knife to your throat if you are a man of {great} appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food.

Think of a ruler as someone who lives at a higher standard than you.

Just because you are getting an opportunity to eat better stuff than you normally eat it doesn’t mean that you should eat as much as you can. Control your appetite and don’t even wish that you could eat such food every day.

This is because life is more than food, and further, for all you know, the ruler himself does not each such good stuff every day.

4 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration {of it.} 5 When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For {wealth} certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies {toward} the heavens.

Don’t work extra hard to get rich. If you try to get rich when the blessing and favor of God is not on you whatever you earn will be taken from you and be given to someone else. First ensure that God’s blessing and favor is upon you. You will then find that whatever you earn will go much farther than normal.

To ensure that God’s favor is upon you, make sure that you have not cheated anyone (this includes the government, your employer, your relative, your neighbor, and your friend).

If you have cheated anyone pay them back.

6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” but his heart is not with you. 8 You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten, and waste your compliments.

Don’t take anything from someone who you sense doesn’t really want to give it to you even if he asks you to take it.

9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.

We tend to disperse the wisdom we have in the way that rain falls – to everyone we meet. This verse tells us that we need to disperse it like a fine jet of water instead – just to the people who will appreciate it.

10 Do not move the ancient boundary or go into the fields of the fatherless, 11 For their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you.

Don’t take advantage of the weak (e.g. the fatherless) and take what rightfully belongs to them just because you are stronger than them. God watches and He will repay you for that evil.

If you have done such a thing in the past then you need to repent and make restitution. That is, you need to go and apologize to those whom you have taken advantage of and pay them back (with interest). If you cannot find them then pay it back to the church. By doing this you will ensure that you have cleared your conscience in this matter.

12 Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge. 13 Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. 14 You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.

We need to be self-disciplined, and we also need to discipline our children.

Some people think that those who love their children should not discipline them, but the Bible says that we should.

15 My son, if your heart is wise, My own heart also will be glad; 16 and my inmost being will rejoice When your lips speak what is right.

17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but {live} in the fear of the LORD always. 18 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

When you see sinners get away with sin you might envy them and wish to sin too. This verse says that we should not think like that. Those who fear the Lord will always have a good future.

What does it mean to not have your hope cut off?

19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. 20 Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, {Or} with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe {one} with rags.

If you associate with people addicted to food or wine you will be poor. We need to take care to associate with the right kind of people.

22 Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 Buy truth, and do not sell {it,} {Get} wisdom and instruction and understanding. 24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

It is important to listen to your parents.

26 Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways. 27 For a harlot is a deep pit and an adulterous woman is a narrow well. 28 Surely she lurks as a robber, and increases the faithless among men.

Adultery is a thing that is very difficult to come out of. So don’t even get into it.

People who engage in adultery lose their faith.

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who linger long over wine, those who go to taste mixed wine. 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things and your mind will utter perverse things. 34 and you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. 35 ”They struck me, {but} I did not become ill; They beat me, {but} I did not know {it.} When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.”

People who allow themselves to be addicted to alcohol will find themselves in a lot of unnecessary sorrow.

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