111-135 Proverbs Chapter 23
Verses 1-3 is six lines of poetry that concerns the mundane matter of table manners. This teaching is for the training of young men in gentlemanly behavior, or manners. First they are to observe who is at the table and what has been set upon the table. They are to partake in moderation and not eat as gluttons. They are warned not to be deceived by the king’s food as there may be a price for his wining and dining.
Verses 4-5 is the next saying. It is a warning against deceitfulness of riches. In later time Jesus warned against the temporariness of wealth. (Matthew 6:19-21) How many have experienced this, the wealth they have suddenly takes wings, it flies as the eagle toward the heavens. (5)
Verses 6-8 admonishes the youth of becoming enticed by a stingy man’s offer of a banquet. He is just setting them up for something. They are warned that his heart is not with them. In verse 8 we learn the unpleasant consequence of this deception. “Vomit up the morsels” may be literal or it may mean the favors the neighbor has given them.
Verse nine is a warning to not waste time talking to the foolish. In the second line of verse 10 the Lord is called the redeemer. A redeemer is an honored role in the Hebrew culture. The redeemer is the avenger, a rescuer. (Job 19:25) Verse 12 tells the youth they are to be diligent in their learning. Verses 13-14 states the belief that discipline and punishment are necessary in good teaching and learning.
Second Collection 23:15 to 24:22
Verses 15-16 is a reflection of the joy of the teacher’s successful learning by his students. Verses 17-28 are an admonition to not let the success of the wicked to create envy in the hearts of the youth. The success in life while ignoring God will surely be short lived. There is a future and the righteous will not lose their reward.
Verses 19-21 admonishes the youth against excess of eating and drinking. The drunkard and the glutton who have devoted themselves to their appetites. This would make their god their stomachs. (Philippians 3:19) Poverty comes from self-indulgence, in part because excess brings on drowsiness. (21)
In verse 22-25 we see an appeal to the youth to make their parents happy by earnestly seeking the truth. “Buy” suggest that life is a collection of transactions in which time, energy, and devotion are traded for good we see as valuable. The highest good is wisdom and the chief part of wisdom is reverence for the Lord.
Verses 26-28 brings a stern warning of being entangled by the prostitute. Immoral sex was denounced as self-destructive sin. Verses 29-35 is a sharp argument against the abuse of alcohol that could be imagined. There are 6 questions in verse 29. Each of these questions indicates the dire effects upon those who are locked into the abuse of alcohol. These effects are graphically described in the rhetorical questions. The effects are woe, sorrow, strife, needless hurts, and bloodshot eyes. Who can expect such experiences? The one who is engaged in long term hard drinking. Those who tarry long at their drinking will finally fall into drunkenness. Mixed means to lace the wine with spices to make it more exotic and more potent. Gloating over the redness of the wine means that the drinker has become entranced by the sparkle of the wine. As he looks upon it he becomes lost in fascination and becomes captivated. He has lost his self-control, has become hooked on the alcohol. He has become an alcoholic as he is no longer able not to drink.
Verses 32-35 is a description of the sad results from a life of alcoholism. It has a good taste and is so much fun when going down but the results of the alcohol are tragic. The vision has been distorted and speech has been muddled. One will see things that are not really there. And then fails to see what is actually there. Their speech would shame them if they were sober. They become completely out of control in their drunken condition. The ground upon which they rest will not be still and when they walk the ground is as the sea. The drunkard is beaten but is unable to feel the pain until he awakes and finds himself in a miserable state. But it does not drive him from drink as that is the first thing he will seek when he has awoken.