Proverbs 23:1-35 (1) When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, (2) and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. (3) Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. (4) Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. (5) When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. (6) Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, (7) for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. (8) You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words. (9) Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words. (10) Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, (11) for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you. (12) Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. (13) Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. (14) If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. (15) My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. (16) My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right. (17) Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. (18) Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. (19) Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. (20) Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, (21) for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. (22) Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (23) Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. (24) The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. (25) Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (26) My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. (27) For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. (28) She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind. (29) Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? (30) Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. (31) Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. (32) In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. (33) Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. (34) You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. (35) “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.”
The pain of punishment, the reward of wisdom (verses 12-17, 22-26) – In chapter 23, Solomon tells us that punishment is part of the training of our kids. All discipline is not punishment, remember that. Discipline means training, so that includes teaching, encouragement, correction, etc. But sometimes you have to punish them in love. They will not die if you spank them. Regardless of what the culture today is trying to say, spanking is not the same as hitting or abusing your kids. When that punishment (spanking, grounding, time out, etc.) is joined with teaching, love and reassurance, it will produce godly fruit. That fruit is that generally speaking kids will learn to make wise choices in life. And Solomon says that when those kids grow up and make their own wise decisions, it just brings so much joy and peace to your heart.
Be careful about who you are eating around – Interesting concept, but twice in this concept Solomon says to be careful when you are eating around people. Two types of people are mentioned – Kings and stingy people (1-3,6-7). Solomon uses extreme imagery like putting a knife to our throat. We may want to indulge in a king’s nice things, but watch out…it is deceptive food. It comes with a higher cost that you thought. Also, watch out about taking the food, money and things of a stingy person, because as Solomon says, they like to calculate. They will constantly remind you of the cost. It would be better to do without and go hungry than to take that money and food from that stingy person.
Warnings about alcohol – Solomon said in 20:1 that wine can deceive us and lead the unwise astray. There is a time for wine, even Paul told Timothy to take some for his stomach and other infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23). But the warnings are aplenty in the Bible about what alcohol can do. In Proverbs 23, we see that alcohol can lead you to get into fights, it will give you great highs and you will feel like you are floating on the ocean. But it is a snake that has a deadly bite. Solomon warned about the addictive nature of alcohol here as well – “When I can have another drink?” A person will get themselves into a world of hurt because of drinking, but in the morning they start it all over again. So, watch out.