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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Proverbs 23

 

 

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.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-23.html. 1919.

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