Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Proverbs 23:20

King James Version (KJV)
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Be not among winebibbers - There is much of this chapter spent in giving directions concerning eating, drinking, and entertainments in general.

  1. he pupil is directed relative to the manner in which he is to conduct himself in his visits to the tables of the rich and great.
  • Relative to the covetous and his intercourse with them. And
  • To public entertainnlents, where there were generally riot and debauch.
  • The reasons, says Calmet, which induced the wise man to give these directions were,

    1. The useless expense.
  • The loss of time.
  • The danger from bad company. And
  • 4. The danger of contracting irregular habits, and of being induced to lead a voluptuous and effeminate life.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible
    Verses 15-35

    Another continuous exhortation rather than a collection of maxims.

    Proverbs 23:16

    The teacher rejoices when the disciple‘s heart Proverbs 23:15 receives wisdom, and yet more when his lips can utter it.

    Reins - See Job 19:27 note.

    Proverbs 23:17

    Envy sinners - Compare in Psalm 37:1; Psalm 73:3; the feeling which looks half-longingly at the prosperity of evil doers. Some connect the verb “envy” with the second clause, “envy not sinners, but envy, emulate, the fear of the Lord.”

    Proverbs 23:18

    Or, For if there is an end (hereafter), thine expectations shall not be cut off. There is an implied confidence in immortality.

    Proverbs 23:20

    Riotous eaters of flesh - The word is the same as “glutton” in Proverbs 23:21 and Deuteronomy 21:20.

    Proverbs 23:21

    The three forms of evil that destroy reputation and tempt to waste are brought together.

    Drowsiness - Specially the drunken sleep, heavy and confused.

    Proverbs 23:26

    Observe - Another reading gives, “let thine eyes delight in my ways.”

    Proverbs 23:28

    As for a prey - Better as in the margin.

    The transgressors - Better, the treacherous,” those that attack men treacherously.

    Proverbs 23:29

    Woe … sorrow - The words in the original are interjections, probably expressing distress. The sharp touch of the satirist reproduces the actual inarticulate utterances of drunkenness.

    Proverbs 23:30

    Mixed wine - Wine flavored with aromatic spices, that increase its stimulating properties Isaiah 5:22. There is a touch of sarcasm in “go to seek.” The word, elsewhere used of diligent search after knowledge Proverbs 25:2; Job 11:7; Psalm 139:1, is used here of the investigations of connoisseurs in wine meeting to test its qualities.

    Proverbs 23:31

    His color - literally, “its eye,” the clear brightness, or the beaded bubbles on which the wine drinker looks with complacency.

    It moveth itself aright - The Hebrew word describes the pellucid stream flowing pleasantly from the wineskin or jug into the goblet or the throat (compare Proverbs 23:32

    Adder - Said to be the Cerastes, or horned snake.

    Proverbs 23:34

    The passage is interesting, as showing the increased familiarity of Israelites with the experiences of sea life (compare Psalm 104:25-26; Psalm 107:23-30).

    In the midst of the sea - i. e., When the ship is in the trough of the sea and the man is on the deck. The second clause varies the form of danger, the man is in the “cradle” at the top of the mast, and sleeps there, regardless of the danger.

    Proverbs 23:35

    The picture ends with the words of the drunkard on waking from his sleep. Unconscious of the excesses of the night, his first thought is to return to his old habit.

    When shall I awake … - Better, when I shall awake I will seek it yet again.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    The gracious Saviour who purchased pardon and peace for his people, with all the affection of a tender parent, counsels us to hear and be wise, and is ready to guide our hearts in his way. Here we have an earnest call to young people, to attend to the advice of their godly parents. If the heart be guided, the steps will be guided. Buy the truth, and sell it not; be willing to part with any thing for it. Do not part with it for pleasures, honours, riches, or any thing in this world. The heart is what the great God requires. We must not think to divide the heart between God and the world; he will have all or none. Look to the rule of God's word, the conduct of his providence, and the good examples of his people. Particular cautions are given against sins most destructive to wisdom and grace in the soul. It is really a shame to make a god of the belly. Drunkenness stupifies men, and then all goes to ruin. Licentiousness takes away the heart that should be given to God. Take heed of any approaches toward this sin, it is very hard to retreat from it. It bewitches men to their ruin.
    Ellen G. White
    Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 297.3

    Passion Destroys Everything—The words of Christ should ever be borne in mind: “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank” (Luke 17:26, 27). Appetite bears sway over mind and conscience in this age. Gluttony, winebibbing, liquor drinking, tobacco using prevail, but Christ's followers will be temperate in eating and drinking. They will not indulge appetite at the expense of health and spiritual growth. 1MCP 297.3

    Read in context »