Proverbs 23:17-35

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Proverbs 23

17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.

Envying sinners is senseless because sinners have no hope. The fear of the Lord keeps one going in the right direction in his life. The one who fears the Lord has the hope of heaven because he is saved.

Living in constant fellowship with the Lord is better than envying the prosperity of the wicked. Communion or fellowship with God should be our aim in life.

18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

There is an end of life followed by judgment. The expectation of believers will never be taken away. However, the expectation of the wicked will be cut off, and they will find themselves in the lake of fire.

19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.

Listening to a father's instruction will aid the son in being wise and guiding him throughout life. Regardless of what others may do, an obedient son should listen to his father's instruction, be wise, and guide his heart in the way the Lord would have him go.

20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous (i.e. gluttonous) eaters of flesh (meat):

A wise son will steer clear of drunkards and gluttons.

21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Drunkenness causes drowsiness which results in laziness and results in poverty.

22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.

Children have a tendency to go their own ways when they get older. They are well advised to pay attention to parental instruction and advice. They should welcome the advice they receive from their fathers or mothers rather than treating their advice with contempt by disregarding their advice.

Wise children respect their parents when their parents are old. To despise means to hold in contempt.

23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Buying the truth and not selling it suggests spending whatever energy and resources are necessary to acquire it and holding on to it. The same is true with wisdom, with instruction (or discipline), and with understanding. We should be willing to pay a great price for truth, for wisdom, and for understanding, but unwilling to sell them for any price. In other words, we should never compromise or neglect the truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.

If one wants to please his father and his mother, he should live a godly life. This is far better than Christmas presents, Father's Day gifts or cards, Mother's Day gifts or cards, and birthday gifts or cards.

25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.

26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Give me thine heart suggests pay careful attention to me and observe the wise counsel I give you by the way I have lived. This statement introduces warnings against immorality and drunkenness.

27 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.

A whore is a prostitute. A strange woman is an immoral woman. A deep ditch is a deep pit, and a narrow pit is a well. Both are used for confining and trapping men, making it impossible to escape the consequences.

28 She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.

Men need to be on their guard against wayward women who seek to seduce them, springing on them suddenly, adding to the number of their victims. The Bible also warns against men seducing women.

29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?

Verse 29 introduces a long warning against drunkenness.

30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

Mixed wine is wine mixed with other things to enhance its flavor.

31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.

The drunkard is pictured as being fascinated by the clear red wine, by its brilliant sparkle, and by the way it swirls around smoothly.

32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder (i.e. a cobra).

33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women (i.e. things = hallucinations), and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

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.

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.

Alcohol controls him. He is a slave to it. He cannot wait to get another drink.