Proverbs 23:1-3 “…Consider carefully what is before you…For they are deceptive food”
Speaks of food, but I think is referring to motives. Pay attention to what is happening, and guard your words. What is before you may look and taste wonderful, but there is an ulterior motive behind it.
4 “Do not overwork to be rich…”
Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers along the way. Don’t forget what is more important. Don’t waste all your time striving for things that don’t last.
6 “Do not eat the bread of a miser…”
Or one who has an evil eye. One who covets what you have. He appears to offer freely, but he really wants to keep what he’s offered. His apparent kindness is a lie. Any praise or words of appreciation you give will be wasted.
NOTE: If you take verses 1-5 as a section, they could be contrasted against verses 6-8 regarding behavior toward riches or those who have riches and those who don’t. Both groups are controlled by their wealth or lack of it. Verses 3 and 6, do not desire his delicacies and nor desire his delicacies. Don’t look at the wealthy and desire what you see, because riches aren’t the most important in life. All looks wonderful, but they are empty of true wealth and meaning. Don’t look at a poor miser and desire his apparent guise of well wishing. All looks like honesty and courtesy, but is really envy and covetousness. Both men appear to be offering something good, but both have ulterior motives. Don’t be like either.
9 “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool…”
Don’t waste your time or words.
10 “Do not remove the ancient landmark, Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;”
Moving the landmark for the purpose of cheating those who can’t protect themselves. Taking advantage of the misfortunate.
13-14 “Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.”
Best verses for corporal punishment. Spanking a child won’t kill him. Training in what is right and wrong will bring him to the point of being acceptable to salvation. On its face, the words seem to suggest good behavior keeps one out of hell. During the time of keeping the law and desiring to do what is right by God, that would make sense. Could also look at it as teaching a person about their need for a savior. Just as bad behavior has consequences, all have sinned which deserves hell. But God has provided a way of salvation. All that is needed is to admit the need and accept the gift.
18 “For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.”
Life after death. This is only the beginning.
21 “For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty…”
Waste all their resources on selfish consumption.
27 “…a harlot is a deep pit, And a seductress is a narrow well”
Using desire and sex for their purposes. May not reach the point of physical contact, but flattery and seduction can be just as deadly.
29-35 Excellent description of alcohol abuse. Looks good to start with, but in the end it is destructive. Hallucinations and lack of inhibition. Like the comparison of intoxication to being on a ship at sea. Sad part is the last line, always returning to it even after all the destruction.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.