Proverbs 23:1-18 - Outline of Proverbs (Book Notes menu page)
Warnings - About the dangers of worldly Friendships

Proverbs chapters 10 - 22 contain a multitude of individual proverbs which touch on a wide variety of subjects. There is great profit in understanding and applying the wisdom of each of these proverbs (which are typically just one or two verses in length). However, the broad range of topics covered in each chapter does not lend itself to a coherent study of these chapters. The reader is encouraged to do a topical study on the individual proverbs, by comparing the numerous proverbs which speak about a specific subject (eg., pride... greed... slothfulness... marriage... business... etc.). The editor has chosen to limit the Book Notes studies to the narrative sections of the book of Proverbs. The narrative sections are chapters 1-9, chapter 23, and chapters 30-31.

23:1-8 - A warning regarding friendship with the world.
Sharing a meal, in response to a powerful individual's (a ruler) invitation, would seem to be a good thing which might provide opportunities for witness, or for business. But beware...
  • Consider {discern}... what is before thee {HB=paniym, the face}...-
    What is behind the friendly face that offers hospitality?
  • Be not desirous {ie., craving} of his dainties {ie., delicacies}-
    Through fleshly appetites, your guard may be let down, and you will become ingratiated or indebted to him. The food which he has set before you is deceitful, because he has provided it, not out of kind hearted friendship, but with an ulterior motive.
         Have you ever received a mailing from a business, inviting you to a free banquet, along with a "no obligation" presentation of amazing opportunities (eg., in investments, or tourism, or real estate)? Such free meals are profitable to those companies, because their 'delicacies,' on the table, are a 'gift' or a bribe, which causes you to set aside your better judgment, out of a sense of obligation. The more you indulge, the more obligated you become.
         "Put a knife to thy throat..."You would be better off to end your days now, rather than to spend the rest of your life in bondage to debt or to a deal, from which there is no escape.
  • Labor not to be rich (v.4,5)-
    Of course, the danger is compounded, if you have an appetite for the worldly wealth and goodies that they promise. The meal is only an introduction. But if you have a hunger for money, you will be even more susceptible to their business venture, and may be blinded to untruthful claims and/or dishonest schemes. 1Tim 6:9,10
  • Eat not the bread of him that hath an evil eye... -
    An 'evil eye' is an eye set on selfish and malicious purposes, with wicked and/or harmful intentions. The term is used of those crazed with starvation in a besieged city (Deu 28:52-58). Also see Psa 141:3,4; Pro 28:22; Mat 6:20-24. In contrast, the 'bountiful eye' is generous (Pro 22:8,9).
         The dainty meats (ie., delicacies), provided by the host who harbors an harmful agenda, convey a false impression of his generosity and benevolence. But you cannot see the thoughts and intents of his heart (v.7). Beware, lest your relationship to him make you sick.
23:9-11 - A warning against joining sinners in their mischief (Pro 1:10-16)
23:12-14 - "Apply {bow} thy heart unto instruction {discipline, chastening, correction}..."-
(in contrast to fools, v.9)
"...and thine ears to the words of knowledge (instruction, discernment, understanding)."
The man who humbles himself to learn when he is chastened (9:9,10), is prepared to raise his own children... and ought not to withhold chastening when it is due.
     Chastening delivers from 'hell' {HB= sheol, the grave, hell, the pit} in that it provides a preview of God's displeasure toward sin, as a warning of His wrath, upon continued disobedience. The purpose of chastening (whether of a child or an adult) is to turn a sinner, from the ways of wicked men and strange women, which lead to destruction, to the way of the Lord, in whom is Life. Eph 6:1-4; Pro 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 29:15,17; (Also see, in the context of chastening adults: 1Cor 5:5; 11:32)
23:15-18 - The delight of a father, in a son...

Click here to continue the study, in the second narrative section, in Proverbs 23:19-35
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