Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 23

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-35

Proverbs 23:1-3 . It is possible to take these three verses together as a warning against treachery lurking in the dainties of a royal table. In that case, in Proverbs 23:1 we should render “ consider diligently what ( mg.) is set before thee,” and in Proverbs 23:2 continue, “ For thou wilt put” ( mg.) . But possibly the general interpretation represented by RV is more suitable, and Proverbs 23:3 has come in by error from Proverbs 23:6, where it more naturally belongs.

Proverbs 23:4 f. The uncertainty of riches. The general sense is clear, but the text is in disorder, as RVm shows.

Proverbs 23:6-8 . Against eating with a grudging host. This was apparently a double quatrain in its original form, but has suffered in transmission like many of the quatrains in this section. The last line is restored from Proverbs 23:3 b. The Heb. of Proverbs 23:7 a is very doubtful and evidently defective. Toy conjectures “ as he deals with himself (that is, grudgingly), so he deals with thee.” Proverbs 23:8 b probably belongs to the next quatrain.

Proverbs 23:9 . The uselessness of teaching a fool. Here also the quatrain may be restored by supplying Proverbs 23:4 b for the second line, and Proverbs 23:8 b for the fourth line. It will then run: “ Speak not in the hearing of a fool, cease from thy wisdom, for he will despise the wisdom of thy sayings, and thou wilt lose thy pleasant words.”

Proverbs 23:10 f. Against removing the landmark of the poor. Possibly in Proverbs 23:10 we should read the landmark of the widow.

Proverbs 23:11 . redeemer: cf. Ruth 2:20 *, Ruth 4:3 f.; Leviticus 25:25 f. The conception passes over to God ( cf. Job 19:25).

Proverbs 23:17 f. A quatrain on the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 23:17 b is defective in Heb., and is unjustifiable. A slight change gives the imperative “ fear thou Yahweh,” etc.

Proverbs 23:18 a also appears to be in disorder. The Heb. words rendered “ for surely” always indicate a strong adversative. Either one word must be dropped, giving “ for there is an end,” or a verb must be inserted with the LXX, “ but if thou keep her (wisdom) there is,” etc. Although Toy does not admit it, “ end” may refer to a future life, since some aphorisms of Pr. may represent the Pharisaic individualistic eschatology, with its hope of a future life in the Messianic kingdom, as well as the purely national eschatology of the earlier type.

Proverbs 23:19-21 . A six-line strophe containing two positive commands to exercise prudence, two prohibitions against drunkenness and gluttony, and two statements of the effects of these vices.— drowsiness ( Proverbs 23:21 b): the general benumbing of the faculties following on excess.

Proverbs 23:22-26 . A series of exhortations to wisdom and attention to parental advice. This section interrupts the series of aphorisms and seems rather to form an introduction to a collection similar to those introducing the discourses in Proverbs 23:2-6.

Proverbs 23:27 f. The subject of the harlot is resumed.

Proverbs 23:28 b. Possibly we should read “ and she multiplies treacheries against men,” gaining a better parallelism.

Proverbs 23:29-35 . A short poem of five quatrains depicting vividly the effects of drunkenness.

Proverbs 23:29 a. Lit. “ Who has Oh! who has Alas!”

Proverbs 23:29 c. redness: or “ dulness” ( cf. Genesis 49:12 *).

Proverbs 23:30 b. “ Those who go to test mixed wine” ( cf. mg.) are connoisseurs.

Proverbs 23:31 c. Lit. “ it goes straight”— i.e. probably, “ it goes down smoothly,” as RV. The clause destroys the quatrain, and may have been a marginal note from Ca. Proverbs 7:9.

Proverbs 23:34 . upon the top of a mast is a conjecture. LXX “ as a pilot in a heavy sea” may represent the original text.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 23". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.