Be not among winebibbers - There is much of this chapter spent in giving directions concerning eating, drinking, and entertainments in general.
The reasons, says Calmet, which induced the wise man to give these directions were,
4. The danger of contracting irregular habits, and of being induced to lead a voluptuous and effeminate life.
Another continuous exhortation rather than a collection of maxims.
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.
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.”
Or, For if there is an end (hereafter), thine expectations shall not be cut off. There is an implied confidence in immortality.
The three forms of evil that destroy reputation and tempt to waste are brought together.
Drowsiness - Specially the drunken sleep, heavy and confused.
Observe - Another reading gives, “let thine eyes delight in my ways.”
As for a prey - Better as in the margin.
The transgressors - Better, the treacherous,” those that attack men treacherously.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 297.3Read in context »