“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: and put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” Proverbs 23:1-8 (KJB)
Wisdom and Discernment – Proverbs 23:1-35
Verses 1 – 3; 6 – 8 — Be alert and aware when people in places of authority and power invite you to their table. The discerning one will be sickened by what the powerful is or was trying to do.
Verses 4 – 5 — The wise and discerning will not make seeking wealth and riches their life pursuit.
“Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: for their Redeemer is mighty; He shall plead their cause with thee. Proverbs 23:9-11
Verse 9 — The wise will know when to be silent around the foolish individual. Remember the words of Jesus “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.” (Matthew 7:6).
Verses 10 – 11 — (Prov. 22:28; Deut 15:9) Further confirms this teaching. In these verses, however, there is reference to orphans. Someone seizing the land of an orphan or orphans will have the Redeemer defend the orphan against the land grabber.
“Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine. Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things. Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.” Proverbs 23:12-19
Verses 12 – 16, 19 — It is good to teach others [our children] to pursue instruction and knowledge. The Bible does teach corporal punishment (vv. 13-14). There is rejoicing within parents when their child is a success in life; especially in Christian parents when they see their child following the LORD.
Verses 17 – 18 — The Christian discerner should make godliness the prime search and pursuit of his/her life. The Christian has no right to envy “sinners”. If the Christian is living for God and His Son Jesus Christ the sinner will desire Christ too.
“Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy 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 begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit. She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.
Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath 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, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 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. 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 23:20-35
Verses 20 – 26 — Wise words from parents guide children in life, living righteously; education, labor; learning truth and its value. Children also learn from the example of parents (v. 26).
Verses 27 – 35 — In a world with the rebellious, feel good, party attitude, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”; the wisdom of God warns of the perils of licentious (unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral), rebellious, iniquitous living.