Proverbs 23

The Word Made Fresh

1If you are invited to sit down to dinner with a king,
pay careful attention to what has been placed before you,
2and keep your knife near your throat
to avoid a huge appetite.
3And don’t desire the king’s delicacies,
for such food may be sharp to the taste.
4Don’t spend yourself poor getting rich;
those who are wise know how to desist.
5When you see something you desire
it will quickly be gone as if taking wing,
flying off toward heaven like an eagle.
6Don’t eat the food of those who are stingy;
refrain from even tasting what they offer,
7for it will be like a hair caught in the throat.
“Eat and drink and be merry,” they’ll say, but won’t mean it.
8You will spit out the little you have eaten
and that conversation will be worthless.
9Don’t waste your words on fools,
for they will only have contempt for what you say.
10Don’t remove an ancient landmark,
and don’t trespass on the fields of orphans,
11for they have a strong redeemer
who will plead their case against you.
12Learn! Apply yourself to study
and pay attention to words of knowledge.
13Don’t neglect to discipline your children.
If you correct them with the rod they won’t die.
14Indeed, correcting them with the rod
may save their lives from the grave.
15If my children have hearts of wisdom
my heart, too, will rejoice.
16I will rejoice for you
whenever you speak the truth.
17Never let yourself be jealous of sinners;
always act with deep respect for the LORD.
18Remember there will always be a future,
and your hope will never be taken away from you.
19Listen, children; be wise,
and focus on the way ahead.
20Don’t hang out with drunkards
nor with gluttons.
21The drunkard and the glutton will both come to poverty
and their drowsiness will clothe them with rags.
22Listen to your father who begot you
and your mother even when she is old.
23Purchase truth, but never sell it.
Purchase wisdom, teaching, and understanding.
24The father of a good son will rejoice,
and the father of a wise son will take pride in him.
25May your father and mother always be glad
that you were born and rejoice over you.
26My child, give me your heart and love me,
and pay attention to the way I live.
27Remember that a prostitute is a dark pit;
an adulterer but a narrow well.
28They both lie in wait like a thief,
and corrupt any number who are faithless.
29Who suffers woes and is sorrowful? Who has troubles and is complaining?
Who has red eyes because they have been wounded for no reason?
30Those who linger over their wine
and continue to mix their wines together.
31Don’t even look at red wine when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly into the throat.
32As it passes it will bite like a snake
and sting like an adder.
33It will make your eyes see strange things
and your mind consider wicked things.
34You will be like someone who lies down in the sea,
or dangles from the rigging.
35“Oh, they struck me,” you’ll say, “but I was not hurt.
I didn’t even feel it when they beat me.
How long have I been asleep?
I need a drink!”


1-8: Restraint and moderation are definitely virtues.

12-28: These verses are a collection of parental advice. Much of it is still applicable today, although we now know of the psychological damage that can result from carelessly applied or mean punishment.

29-35: Some of the reasons given here for not drinking are reasons some people drink!


The book of Proverbs is repetitive and can be tedious, but engaging the scripture is like mining for gold; keep it up!