corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.09.17
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Proverbs 23

 

 

Verses 1-3

Sixth Saying (Hexastitch) - Comments- Proverbs 23:1-3 forms a single proverbial thought using six lines, which is called a hexastitch.

Proverbs 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:

Proverbs 23:2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.

Proverbs 23:3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

Proverbs 23:3Comments- The Geneva Bible translation notes on Proverbs 23:3 read, "For oft times the rich when they bid their inferiors to their tables, it is not for the love they bear them, but for their own secret purposes." 127] For example, many times wealth people have gained their wealth by using and bribing people, by deceit and manipulation. Here, the verse is telling the one who has been brought into the presence of wealth and power, not to be overwhelmed by awesome appearance, but to be cautious and wise.

127] The Bible, That Isaiah , the Holy Scriptures Containing the Old and New Testament, Translated According to the Hebrew and Greek, and Conferred With the Best Translations in Divers Languages (London: Robert Barker, 1615), notes on Proverbs 23:3.


Verse 4-5

Seventh Saying (Pentastitch) - Proverbs 23:4-5 forms a single proverbial thought using five lines, which is called a pentastitch. This proverb warns us against setting our hearts upon material wealth because it is so easy to be deceived by such pursuits. It appears to bring someone to a place of satisfaction and Wisdom of Solomon , but in fact, it can leave one empty and foolish.

Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Proverbs 23:4"Labour not to be rich" - Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

1 Timothy 6:9-10, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Proverbs 23:4 "cease from thine own wisdom" - Scripture References- Note similar verse:

Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."

Proverbs 26:12, "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him."

Isaiah 5:21, "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!"

Romans 11:25, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."

Romans 12:16, "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits."

Proverbs 23:5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.

Proverbs 23:5 — "Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?" - Comments- The eye referred to in Proverbs 23:5 represents the heart of a man. Thus, a person who sets his heart upon riches will be misled by appearances.

Proverbs 23:5Illustration- Chasing riches is like chasing butterflies. They seem to be just at your finger tips, yet you cannot quite catch them.

Proverbs 23:5Illustration- In college a young student brought to me and my roommates two young baby birds which had been knocked out of their nest. We raised them up inside the apartment. I fed them berries and other foods. One small bird died quickly, but the other grew up healthy. Soon he was able to fly around the apartment. We would take him outside and he would fly back and forth to our hands and we would feed him. One day he flew into a tree. Then latter into another tree farther away and soon he was gone, forever.


Verses 6-8

Eighth Saying (Heptastitch) - Proverbs 23:6-8 forms a single thought using seven lines, which is called a heptastitch. It warns us not to share in the spoils of someone who is evil because his heart is not favorable to you so that he will turn against you at some point in this relationship.

Proverbs 23:6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

Proverbs 23:6Comments- Regarding the phrase, "an evil eye," the eye represents the heart of a man. Thus, this refers to a man with a wicked heart.

Proverbs 23:8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

Proverbs 23:8Comments- The Geneva Bible translation notes read, "He will not cease till he has done you some harm, and his flattering words will come to no use." 128]

128] The Bible, That Isaiah , the Holy Scriptures Containing the Old and New Testament, Translated According to the Hebrew and Greek, and Conferred With the Best Translations in Divers Languages (London: Robert Barker, 1615), notes on Proverbs 23:8.


Verse 9

Ninth Saying (Distitch) - Proverbs 23:9 forms a single proverbial thought using two lines, which is called a distitch.

Proverbs 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Proverbs 23:9Word Study on "wisdom" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "understanding" ( שֶׂכֶל) (H 7922) means, "understanding, intelligence, prudence." Strong says it means, "intelligence, success." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 16 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "understanding 7, Wisdom of Solomon 3, wise 1, prudence 1, knowledge 1, sense 1, discretion 1, policy 1."

Strong says ( שֶׂכֶל) (H 7922) comes from the primitive root ( שָׂכַל) (H 7919), which means, "to be circumspect, and hence, intelligent." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 63times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "understand 12, wise 12, prosper 8, wisely 6, understanding 5, consider 4, instruct 3, prudent 2, skill 2, teach 2, misc 7."

This Hebrew noun is a key word woven throughout in the book of Proverbs being used six times:

Proverbs 3:4, "So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man."

Proverbs 12:8, "A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised."

Proverbs 13:15, "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard."

Proverbs 16:22, "Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly."

Proverbs 19:11, "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression."

Proverbs 23:9, "Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words."

This word refers to the ability of a man to think straight in contrast to the person who has a twisted mind.

Proverbs 23:9Comments- In Matthew 7:1-6 Jesus teaches us about judging our neighbour. We are to avoid being critical of our neighbour ( Proverbs 7:1-4). Instead, we are to live a lifestyle of godliness so that we can speak words of wisdom and advice into the lives of others ( Proverbs 7:5). If they reject what we have to offer, we are not to push Christian teachings into their face, lest they become offended at God's Word and further bring judgment upon themselves ( Proverbs 7:6). Rather, we are to discern their hearts and help those who will accept our ministry ( Proverbs 7:6). This is why Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and told them that he that is spiritual is to judge (or discern) all things while not being found guilty of sin and judged by others ( 1 Corinthians 2:15). That Isaiah , we are supposed to live a godly lifestyle without sin by being mature enough to be able to discern between good and evil in our lives as well as those around us.

1 Corinthians 2:15, "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."

Solomon made a similar statement in Proverbs 9:8, "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise Prayer of Manasseh , and he will love thee." We are to correct those who are in error. If they are rebellious, the burden to correct them is not upon us. However, we are to have enough discernment to recognize when someone is receptive to correction, and offer such in a spirit of love. Solomon as well said, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." ( Proverbs 27:6) If we speak the truth in love when correcting others, we may initially wound someone's heart, but such wounds in the lives of the humble will quickly heal.

Proverbs 23:9Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Proverbs 9:8, "Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise Prayer of Manasseh , and he will love thee."

Matthew 7:6, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."


Verse 10-11

Tenth Saying (Tetrastitch) - Proverbs 23:10-11 forms a single proverbial thought using four lines, which is called a tetrastitch. This proverb warns us not to mistreat the fatherless lest God take vengeance upon their oppressor.

Proverbs 23:10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:

Proverbs 23:10Comments- The Mosaic Law made provisions for preserving the ancient boundary marks set by the founding fathers of the nation of Israel ( Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:17). These boundary marks were originally set during the time of Joshua during the allotment of the land to the twelve tribes of Israel immediately after the conquest of the Promised Land ( Joshua 13:1 to Joshua 21:45). During the course of the nation's history, land was lost because of poverty, or the need to sell one's land; it was lost by marauding groups from neighbouring countries; it was taken by corruption ( Job 24:2). For example, King Ahab killed Naboth and took possession of his land ( 1 Kings 21:1-16). Today in many countries, the office of land registry is corrupted, so that government officials change land titles through bribes, or land owners simply encroach out of their boundaries and steal portions of neighbouring land.

Deuteronomy 19:14, "Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour"s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it."

Deuteronomy 27:17, "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour"s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen."

Job 24:2, "Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof."

Scripture References- Note a similar proverb:

Proverbs 22:28, "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."

Note a similar verse:

Proverbs 22:22-23, "Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them."

Proverbs 23:11 For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.

Proverbs 23:11Comments- Regarding the phrase, "their redeemer, " note Leviticus 25:25, "If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold."


Verses 12-14

Eleventh Saying (Hexastitch) - Proverbs 23:12-14 forms a single proverbial thought using six lines, which is called a hexastitch. This proverb exhorts us to be ready to discipline your children despite the pain they suffer because it will deliver them from a greater pain if they go to Hell. This proverb also tells us that a child who is not properly disciplined is on his way to Hell.

Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 23:12-14Comments - Child Discipline- Discipline should be motivated by love ( Hebrews 12:6).

Hebrews 12:6, "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."


Verse 15-16

Twelfth Saying (Tetrastitch) - Comments- Proverbs 23:15-16 forms a single proverbial thought using four lines. This proverb tells us that our parents, our superiors as well as our Heavenly Father rejoice when we walk in wisdom and speak words of righteousness. In contrast, we grieve them when we do not walk upright.


Verse 17-18

Thirteenth Saying (Tetrastitch) - Proverbs 23:17-18 forms a single proverbial thought using four lines. This proverb warns us not to envy the sinner because God is faithful to reward His children. We will again be warned about envying the wicked in Proverbs 24:1-2.

Proverbs 24:1-2, "Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief."

Illustration- We also find an example of this proverb in Psalm 73, a psalm of Asaph, of how he envied the wicked until he went into the sanctuary of God and his mind became clear enough to reflect upon their end.

Psalm 73:3, "For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

David also warned against this type of envy in Psalm 37 by reminding us that he will soon be cut off.

Psalm 37:1-2, "Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb."

Proverbs 23:18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 23:18 — "and thine expectation shall not be cut off" - Comments- In hell, there is no longer any hope. All hope is cut off.


Verses 19-21

Fourteenth Saying (Hexastitch) - Proverbs 23:19-21 forms a single proverbial thought using six lines, which is called a hexastitch. It warns us against a life of fleshly indulgence and slothfulness, which leads to poverty.


Verses 22-25

Fifteenth Saying (Octastitch) - Proverbs 23:22-25 serves as the only example of an eight-line proverb, which is called an octastitch. These four verses form a single thought. It is similar to Proverbs 23:15-16 in that it says our parents, our superiors as well as our Heavenly Father will rejoice when we walk in wisdom and speak words of righteousness. In contrast, we grieve them when we do not walk upright.


Verses 26-28

Proverbs 23:26 My Song of Solomon , give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Proverbs 23:26Comments- Give to God our heart first, then our eyes will observe God's ways. We will begin to see God's blessings and curses, and begin to see His ways of working in our lives and those lives around us ( 1 Corinthians 2:14).

1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."


Verses 29-35

Seventeenth Saying (An Ode) - Proverbs 23:29-35 forms a single proverbial thought using twenty lines. This proverb warns us against drinking alcohol and drunkenness. It perverts the heart and lead to woes and sorrows. Yet, a person will continue in it because he is in bondage to this sin.

Proverbs 23:35 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.

Proverbs 23:35 — "I will seek it yet again" - Comments- This is a clear example of a stronghold. The Geneva Bible translations notes read, "Though drunkenness makes them more insensible then beasts, yet they can not refrain." 129]

129] The Bible, That Isaiah , the Holy Scriptures Containing the Old and New Testament, Translated According to the Hebrew and Greek, and Conferred With the Best Translations in Divers Languages (London: Robert Barker, 1615), notes on Proverbs 23:35.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/proverbs-23.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology