Wisdom Will Protect You
1When you’ve been invited to dine with a very important leader,
consider your manners and keep in mind whom you’re with.
2Be careful to curb your appetite and catch yourself
before you fall into the trap of wanting all you see. # 23:2 Or “put a knife to your throat.” When you spend time with an important person, think about his needs, not your own, and favor will come on your life.
3Don’t crave their delicacies,
for they may have another motive in having you sit at their table.
4Don’t compare yourself to the rich. # 23:4 As translated from the Septuagint.
Surrender your selfish ambition and evaluate them properly.
5For no sooner do you start counting your wealth
than it sprouts wings and flies away like an eagle in the sky—
here today, gone tomorrow!
6Be sensible when you dine with a stingy man # 23:6 The Hebrew here literally means “an evil eye,” which is a metaphor for a stingy man.
and don’t eat more than you should. # 23:6 Or “don’t crave his delicacies.”
7For as he thinks within himself, so is he. # 23:7 The Aramaic, the Septuagint, and a few Hebrew manuscripts read “Eating with him is like eating with someone with a hair in his throat—his mind is not with you!”
He will grudgingly say, “Go ahead and eat all you want,”
but in his heart he resents the fact that he has to pay for your meal.
8You’ll be sorry you ate anything at all, # 23:8 Or “You’ll vomit up the little you’ve eaten.”
and all your compliments will be wasted.
9A rebellious fool will despise your wise advice,
so don’t even waste your time—save your breath!
10Never move a long-standing boundary line
or attempt to take land that belongs to the fatherless.
11For they have a mighty protector,
a loving redeemer, # 23:11 The Hebrew word here is goel, which means “kinsman-redeemer.” The Aramaic word means “Savior.” This shows powerfully how God will take up the grievances of the oppressed. who watches over them,
and he will stand up for their cause.
12Pay close attention to the teaching that corrects you,
and open your heart to every word of instruction.
13Don’t withhold appropriate discipline from your child.
Go ahead and punish him when he needs it. # 23:13 The Hebrew is “strike them with the rod.”
Don’t worry—it won’t kill him!
14A good spanking could be the very thing
that teaches him a lifelong lesson! # 23:14 Or “rescues him from death.” The Hebrew word is Sheol.
15My beloved child, when your heart is full of wisdom,
my heart is full of gladness.
16And when you speak anointed words, # 23:16 Or “speak what is right.”
we are speaking mouth to mouth! # 23:16 This is taken from the Septuagint, and it literally means “Your lips shall speak with my lips.” The Hebrew is “My kidneys [soul] will rejoice.” See Num. 12:6–8, which reveals that God spoke with Moses “mouth to mouth” (literal Hebrew).
17Don’t allow the actions of evil men
to cause you to burn with anger. # 23:17 The Hebrew word used here describes an emotion of intense passion. Many translate it “envy” (“Do not envy the sinner”), but that does not describe it fully. Another possible translation would be “zeal.”
Instead, burn with unrelenting passion
as you worship God in holy awe.
18Your future is bright and filled with a living hope
that will never fade away.
19As you listen to me, my beloved child,
you will grow in wisdom and your heart
will be drawn into understanding,
which will empower you to make right decisions. # 23:19 The Aramaic is “set up my doctrines in your heart.”
20Don’t live in the excesses of drunkenness or gluttony,
or waste your life away by partying all the time, # 23:20 Translated from the Aramaic and the Septuagint.
21because drunkards and gluttons sleep their lives away
and end up broke!
22Give respect to your father and mother,
for without them you wouldn’t even be here.
And don’t neglect them when they grow old.
23Embrace the truth # 23:23 The Hebrew word here literally means “create the truth” or “give birth to truth” or “possess the truth.” This Hebrew word is also used for God as the Creator. See Gen. 14:19, 22. and hold it close.
Don’t let go of wisdom, instruction, and life-giving understanding.
24When a father observes his child living in godliness,
he is ecstatic with joy—nothing makes him prouder!
25So may your father’s heart burst with joy
and your mother’s soul be filled with gladness because of you.
26My son, give me your heart
and embrace fully what I’m about to tell you.
27Stay far away from prostitutes
and you’ll stay far away from the pit of destruction.
For sleeping with a promiscuous woman is like falling into a trap
that you’ll never be able to escape!
28Like a robber hiding in the shadows
she’s waiting to claim another victim—
another husband unfaithful to his wife.
29Who has anguish? Who has bitter sorrow?
Who constantly complains and argues?
Who stumbles and falls and hurts himself?
Who’s the one with bloodshot eyes?
30It’s the one who drinks too much
and is always looking for a brew.
Make sure it’s never you!
31And don’t be drunk with wine # 23:31 As translated from the Septuagint.
but be known as one who enjoys the company
of the lovers of God, # 23:31 As translated from the Septuagint and a marginal reading of the Hebrew. The Aramaic is “Meditate on righteousness.” The Septuagint adds a line not found in Hebrew or Aramaic that describes the unflattering life of a drunk: “You will walk around naked as a pestle!”
32for drunkenness brings the sting of a serpent,
like the fangs of a viper # 23:32 Or “horned serpent” or “dragon.” This is an emblem of the poison of demonic power that can cause addictions and rule over the soul. spreading poison into your soul.
33It will make you hallucinate, mumble,
and speak words that are perverse.
34You’ll be like a seasick sailor being tossed to and fro,
dizzy and out of your mind.
35You’ll awake only to say, “What hit me?
I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck!”
Yet off you’ll go, looking for another drink!
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