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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, "Eat and drink!" But his heart is not with you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Guest;   Hospitality;   Hypocrisy;   Thompson Chain Reference - Evil;   Heart;   Hypocrisy;   Mind, Carnal-Spiritual;   Religion;   Religion, True-False;   Social Duties;   Temperance;   Temperance-Intemperance;   Thoughts;   The Topic Concordance - Consideration;   Desire;  
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Heart;   Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Heart;   Proverbs, Book of;  
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Dainties;  

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Social-climbers and others (23:1-35)

Those who seek status like to mix with the upper classes and try to copy their habits. But because of their ignorance of how to eat fine foods, they make fools of themselves and so spoil their chances of progressing up the social ladder. The food they desire becomes the means of their downfall (23:1-3). The desire for wealth can lead to disappointment (4-5), and the efforts to win the favour of others may win only their disfavour. This may particularly be the case when the wealthy are miserly; for they may be thinking all the time of how much it is costing them to entertain those who seek their favour (6-8).
Trying to teach wisdom to fools is a waste of time (9). Exploitation of the poor is dangerous, for God is their protector (10-11). If people are keen to learn wisdom, and just as keen to train their children likewise, they will have deep satisfaction (12-16).
When the wicked prosper, the righteous should not envy them, but realize that God in his time will punish evil and reward good (17-18). Those who cannot control their eating and drinking habits only create trouble for themselves (19-21). Children should respect their parents. If from an early age they are taught the value of goodness and wisdom, they will bring joy to their parents in later life (22-25). Prostitution leads not only to personal ruin but also to social decay (26-28).
Among the fruits of drunkenness are sorrow, trouble, physical injury and bad health (29-30). Drinking may be enjoyable, but when drunkenness results, the person’s stomach, eyesight, mind, speech and ability to walk are all badly affected (31-34). Yet the drunkard declares that he suffers no ill effects from drink, and boasts that he is looking forward to more (35).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:7". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thinketh - The Hebrew verb is found here only, and probably means, “as he is all along in his heart, so is he (at last) in act.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Smith's Bible Commentary

Chapter 23

Now the next three verses are coupled together.

When you sit to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to your throat, if you be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat ( Proverbs 23:1-3 ).

So you don't go in and start scarfing up the hors d'oeuvres, you know. All of these dainty little fancy things, you know, and you go in and just start woofing them down. And never any way you're going to fill up on hors d'oeuvres. So when you sit with the ruler, just consider diligently what's put before you. And if you're given to appetite, better to just take your knife, put it to your throat. Don't be desirous of those little dainties. Keep your hands off. They're deceitful.

Labor not to be rich: cease from your own wisdom ( Proverbs 23:4 ).

The Bible says, "If riches increase... " Now it says, "Labor not." Don't let that be a goal of life. But, "If riches increase, set not your heart upon them" ( Psalms 62:10 ). God may see fit to increase riches. Just don't let your heart get set on them.

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 ).

The next three verses are coupled together.

Eat not the bread of him that hath an evil eye ( Proverbs 23:6 ),

Now, this isn't referring to the old superstition that there are some people that have an evil eye, that they can look on you with that evil eye and put a hex on you. It's almost humorous to watch the preliminaries of some of these boxing matches where they have these guys over in the corner, you know, to put the evil eye on the other boxer, and you see them trying to put this evil eye and hex, and you see the boxer deliberately avoiding, won't look and see that evil eye. But this is not at all a reference to some kind of a power that a person has to put a hex on you with an evil eye.

Actually, it is just referring to a person whose mind is evil, to an evil person. "Eat not the bread of him who is evil."

neither desire his dainty meats: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he ( Proverbs 23:6-7 ):

If he is thinking this evil in his heart, then he's an evil person.

Eat and drink, he says to you; but his heart is not with you. The morsel which you have eaten you will vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of your words ( Proverbs 23:7-9 ).

And again, we had in the last chapter.

Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their Redeemer is mighty; and he shall plead their cause with thee ( Proverbs 23:10-11 ).

In other words, God will take up the cause of the widow or of the orphan, of the poor. If you're a widow, if you're an orphan, you're poor, you got a fantastic ally. God will take up your cause.

Apply thine heart unto instruction, thine ears to the words of knowledge. And withhold not correction from the child: for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die ( Proverbs 23:12-13 ).

You'll get arrested.

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

Now, as we mentioned this morning, "Train up a child in the way he should go." In the Hebrew literally is, "Train up a child according to his way." That is, recognize that there is a vast difference in the character, in the personalities of children. And there are some children where spanking is excellent discipline. There are other kids you can beat all day and it's not going to do any good. So learning that children have different temperaments, you're training then is according to their temperament. "Train up a child according to his way." And there's no sense of wailing on a kid that doesn't do any good. Find another form of discipline. You can find an effective form of discipline. Maybe the depravation of certain privileges or desires that the child has is an excellent form of discipline for particular children. But I don't advocate child beating, and neither do I believe that the scriptures advocate that. But for some kids, a good wailing once in a while isn't a bad idea.

As I said, several years ago I knew much more about raising children than I do now. In our first pastorate, small little church, sort of a one-room church, and for Sunday school we just had curtains to divide off the auditorium into the classrooms. It wasn't an ideal situation at all. In fact, it was a very difficult situation, especially because the lady who was teaching the high school class had a little girl that she never disciplined. And a child left to itself will bring reproach to its parents. And because this little girl was never disciplined, she would just start screaming, and because we were all in the same room only divided by curtains, it would disrupt the whole Sunday school. And, of course, I was very young and very new to pastoring, and I didn't have any children so I had all the answers for raising children and everything else.

So the second Sunday that we were in this church and the same procedure started again as this mother started to teach the class, her little girl started screaming and yelling. I went up to her and graciously offered to take her little girl for a walk. I would never do it now. But I spanked that little gal when I got her outside. Got her about a block away and then I applied some psychology where I thought it would do the most good. It worked. I don't advocate it, but it worked. I'll tell you, from then on whenever that little girl would start to scream, I'd look at her and she'd go.

Several years ago, I was directing a summer camp in Arizona and this nice looking young lady about eighteen years old came up to me and said, "Do you know who I am?" And I looked at her and I said, "Well, no, I don't." She said, and she gave me her name, and I said, "Oh, no." She grew up to be a very lovely young lady. I don't know that my spanking had anything to do with that, but I'd like to think that it did.

These next few are coupled together.

My son, if your heart is wise, my heart shall rejoice. Yes, my reins shall rejoice, when your lips speak right things ( Proverbs 23:15-16 ).

Now the reins are really the kidneys. And they felt that the deepest emotions of a person are not really felt in your heart, Valentine's Day notwithstanding, but the deepest emotions of a person are felt down in the stomach region. When you really feel an emotion extremely deep, you feel it in the region of the stomach. That's why in the New Testament you have "bowels of compassion" ( 1 John 3:17 ). As the deepest area of feeling is way down and we say, "I had a gut-level feeling, you know." And we're trying to describe a feeling that is more than just an emotional moment. But where I feel something very deeply. So here is the father talking to his son. "My heart will rejoice. Yea, even deeper than that. If you're a wise son and you speak wise things and right things, down in the deepest area I rejoice."

Let not your heart envy sinners: but reverence the LORD all day long. For surely there is an end; and your expectation shall not be cut off. Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the way ( Proverbs 23:17-19 ).

Again, there is an end. Look down the road. Consider the end result. There is an end to all things. That is, of this life, and then I'm going to stand before God. So consider that.

Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of meat: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. Hearken unto your father that begat thee, and despise not your mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begets a wise child shall have the joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bore thee shall rejoice. My son, give me your heart, let your eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lies in wait as for a prey, and increases the transgressors among men ( Proverbs 23:20-28 ).

Now this next portion is all together to the end of the chapter and it's just extremely interesting.

Who has woe? who has sorrow? who has contentions? who has babblings? who has wounds without cause? who has redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, or when it moveth itself aright ( Proverbs 23:29-31 ).

Or when it moves by itself. Some believe that this is talking of the fermentation process. And after the fermentation has taken place, then you should avoid it. In other words, they did have non-fermented types of wines. And once the wine moves of itself in the cup, the fermentation process, then leave it alone.

For at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder. [As the result] Your eyes will behold strange women ( Proverbs 23:32-33 ),

You will lose your inhibitions.

your heart shall utter perverse things ( Proverbs 23:33 ).

Things that you would not normally say. Things that you would not normally do. But now that you're under the influence, your inhibitions have been loosed, you're going to do all kinds of weird and stupid things.

Yea, thou shalt be as he that lies down in the middle of the sea ( Proverbs 23:34 ),

Doing just really dumb things.

or as one who lies on the top of a mast. They have stricken me, you will say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, but I didn't feel it ( Proverbs 23:34-35 ):

You'll wake up with all the bruises and cuts and you don't know how you've got them.

when shall I awake? ( Proverbs 23:35 )

And then what happens?

I'll go right back and seek it yet again ( Proverbs 23:35 ).

The tragic effects of alcoholism described quite graphically here in Proverbs.


Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:7". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

It is better to decline a dinner invitation from a miser because, if you accept, you will only have a miserable experience. Kidner paraphrased Proverbs 23:8 as follows: "It takes away the relish . . . to have one’s grudging host . . . doing mental arithmetic (Proverbs 23:7 a) with each dish." [Note: Kidner, p. 151.]

"The seventh saying [Proverbs 23:1-3] warns about the greed of the gluttonous guest and the ninth saying [Proverbs 23:6-8] about the greed of the stingy host. At their center stands the eighth saying [Proverbs 23:4-5], prohibiting the quest for riches, for they are a false security. All three sayings warn that things are not as they appear." [Note: Waltke, The Book . . . 31, p. 237.]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:7". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.

Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For as he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he,.... He is not the man his mouth speaks or declares him to be, but what his heart thinks; which is discovered by his looks and actions, and by which he is to be judged of, and not by his words;

eat and drink, saith he to thee, but his heart [is] not with thee; he bids you eat and drink, but he does not desire you should, at least but very sparingly; it is only a mere compliment, not a hearty welcome.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:7". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

      6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:   7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.   8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

      Those that are voluptuous and given to appetite (Proverbs 23:2; Proverbs 23:2) are glad to be where there is good cheer stirring, and those that are covetous and saving, that they may spare at home, will be glad to get a dinner at another man's table; and therefore both are here advised not to be forward to accept of every man's invitation, but especially not to thrust themselves in uninvited. Observe, 1. There are those that pretend to bid their friends welcome that are not hearty and sincere in it. They have a fair tongue, and know what they should say: Eat and drink, saith he, because it is expected that the master of the feast should so compliment his guests; but they have an evil eye, and grudge their guests every bit they eat, especially if the eat freely. They would seem to be liberal in making the entertainment, and would have the credit of it, but they have so great a love to their money, and so little to their friends, that they cannot have the comfort of it, nor any enjoyment of themselves or their friends. The miser's feast is his penance. If a man be so very selfish, and sordid, and mean that he cannot find in his heart to bid his friends welcome to what he has, he ought not to add to that the guilt of dissimulation by inviting them, but let him own himself to be what he is, that the vile person may not be called liberal nor the churl bountiful,Isaiah 32:5. 2. One can have no comfort in accepting the entertainments that are given grudgingly: "Eat not thou the bread of such a man; let him keep it to himself. Do not sponge upon those that are bountiful, nor make thyself burdensome to any; but especially scorn to be beholden to those that are paltry and not sincere. Better have a dinner of herbs, and true welcome, than dainty meats without it. Therefore," (1.) "Judge of the man as his mind is. Thou thinkest to pay thy respect to him as a friend, so thou takest him to be, because he compliments thee, but as he thinks in his heart so is he, not as he speaks with his tongue." We are that really, both to God and man, which we are inwardly; and neither religion nor friendship is worth any thing further than as it is sincere. (2.) "Judge of the meat as the digestion is and as it agrees with thee. He bids thee eat freely, but, first or last, he will discover his sordid covetous humour, and as he thinks in his heart so will he look, and give thee to understand that thou art not welcome, and then the morsel thou hast eaten thou shalt vomit up; the very thought of that will make thee even to vomit the meat thou hast eaten, and eat the words thou has spoken in returning his compliments and giving him thanks for his civilities. Thou shalt lose thy sweet words, which he has given thee and thou has given him."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 23:7". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.