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Proverbs 23

Proverbs 23 Audio:

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

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

15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.

16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.

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

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

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

20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Sit. Saul sat at table, and the custom of lying down was adopted only a little while before the captivity. It was recent among the Romans. C. — Soliti patres considere mensis. Æn. vii. 170.

Ver. 2. Throat. Restrain intemperance and talkativeness. Eccli. xxxi. 12. Sept. “stretch forth thy hand, knowing that thou must prepare the like; but if thou be more insatiable, (3.) desire not his meats, for he has them of deceitful life.” They cannot afford real happiness, (H.) and to vie with the rich would only reduce them to poverty. Eccli. xiii. 2. S. Aug. (tr. xlvii. in Joan.) explains this text of the blessed Eucharist, observing, that we must give our life for our brethren, as Christ did for us. Before communion, we must slay the old man, and subdue our passions. C. — Power. Prot. “if thou be a man given to appetite.” The situation of a courtier is very critical. H. — Those who eat with the kings of Persia, were nicely observed by an eunuch, lest they should cast their eyes on any of his concubines. Lucian. de Merced.

Ver. 3. Deceit. Poison. He wishes to discover thy secret.

Ver. 4. Prudence. Be more solicitous for this, than to acquire riches. C. — Yet this wisdom must be sober. Rom. xii. 3. 1 Tim. vi. 9. Sept. “being poor, do not stretch forth thyself to the rich, but prudently retire. v. 2. H.

Ver. 5. Riches. Sept. “to him, the rich man, he no where appears. He has prepared,” &c. H. — Like. Heb. “as the eagle, it will fly,” &c. H. — We must therefore fix our hearts on more durable goods.

Ver. 6. Man. Heb. “eat not bread of an evil eye,” the envious, or rather the sordid miser.

Ver. 7. Like. Prot. “as he thinketh is his heart, so is he: eat,” &c. H. — He is still convinced that his guests will ruin him: or “like one guarding, or trembling for his soul.” Sept. “swallowing a hair, he saith,” &c. He is afraid of expense, and would allow himself as little as possible. — Diviner. Such endeavour to speak what may come to pass, but are full of anxiety; so the miser’s words are contrary to his real sentiments, (C.) as the diviner knows that he is imposing on mankind. H.

Ver. 8. Words. Thou wilt be disgusted, and repine. Eccli. xxxi. 25.

Ver. 10. Ones. Heb. and Sept. “ancient boundaries.”

Ver. 11. Kinsman. Heb. Gaal, “tutor, defendant, or redeemer,” the Lord (H.) himself. Lev. xxv. 25.

Ver. 16. Reins. Inmost affections.

Ver. 18. Thou. Prot. “surely there is an end.” Marg. “reward.” H. — The testimony of a good conscience affords the greatest comfort in death. Sept. “if thou observe these things, thou shalt have posterity.” Heb. “hopes.”

Ver. 20. Eat. Such feasts tend to corrupt the morals, and to misspend time.

Ver. 21. Rags. At death the insolent shall be exposed to shame.

Ver. 23. Sell. Acquire as much wisdom as possible, and keep it with care. C. — Sept. “do not drive wisdom from thee.”

Ver. 27. Pit. It is difficult to overcome this passion, when once it has got possession of the heart. We must therefore watch over it, and consecrate it in variably to wisdom. v. 26.

Ver. 28. Him. Prot. “increaseth the transgressors among men,” (H.) and like a harpy, kills all whom she can entrap.

Ver. 29. Whose father. S. Jerom has read ab avi, instead of abo, (C.) which is an interjection, (Boch.) alas! or it means, “trouble.” Sept. “drunkenness,” (Chal. C.) or “sorrow.” Prot. — Falls. Sept. “hath sorrows.” Heb. “babbling,” (Prot. H.) or discontents of mind. C. — Cause. Drunkards often fall upon their best friends, as Alexander did on Clytus. M.

Ver. 31. Yellow. Or bright, as it is said there is only one red wine in Palestine. — Pleasantly. Heb. “it goeth right,” and is excellent. C.

Ver. 32. Basilisk, (regulus). Heb. Tsiphoni, (H.) as asp. Cerastes, &c. Ps. xc. 13.

Ver. 33. Women. Wine excites to lust. C. See c. xx. 1. — Shall. Sept. “shall these.” H.

Ver. 34. When. Sept. “in a great wave.” Never is reason more wanted, nor less able to perform her duty.

Ver. 35. Drew. Chal. “plundered.” Sept. “mocked at me.” — Again. This is the woeful effect of drunkenness, that men are not deterred from it, though they be sensible of its dreadful consequences. M.