On Life and Conduct

23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
Consider carefully [a]what is before you,
And put a knife to your throat
If you are a (A)person of great appetite.
Do not (B)desire his delicacies,
For it is deceptive food.

(C)Do not weary yourself to gain wealth;
[b](D)Stop dwelling on it.
[c]When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For (E)wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

(F)Do not eat the bread of [d]a (G)selfish person;
Or desire his delicacies;
For as he [e]thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But (H)his heart is not with you.
You will (I)vomit up [f]the morsel you have eaten
And waste your [g]compliments.

(J)Do not speak [h]to be heard by a fool,
For he will (K)despise the wisdom of your words.

10 Do not move the ancient boundary
Or (L)go into the fields of the fatherless,
11 For their (M)Redeemer is strong;
(N)He will plead their case against you.
12 Apply your heart to discipline,
And your ears to words of knowledge.

13 (O)Do not withhold discipline from a child;
Though you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
14 You shall strike him with the rod
And (P)rescue his soul from Sheol.

15 My son, if your heart is (Q)wise,
My own heart also will be glad,
16 And my [i]innermost being will rejoice
When your lips speak (R)what is right.

17 (S)Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But live in [j]the (T)fear of the Lord [k]always.
18 Certainly there is a [l](U)future,
And your (V)hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and (W)be wise,
And (X)direct your heart in the way.
20 Do not be with (Y)heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with (Z)gluttonous eaters of meat;
21 For the (AA)heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And (AB)drowsiness will clothe one with rags.

22 (AC)Listen to your father, who fathered you,
And (AD)do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 (AE)Buy truth, and do not sell it,
Get wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And (AF)he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
25 Let your (AG)father and your mother be glad,
And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

26 (AH)Give me your heart, my son,
And let your eyes [m](AI)delight in my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a (AJ)deep pit,
And a [n](AK)strange woman is a narrow well.
28 Certainly she (AL)lurks as a robber,
And increases the treacherous among mankind.

29 Who has (AM)woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has red eyes?
30 Those who (AN)linger long over wine,
Those who go to [o]taste (AO)mixed wine.
31 Do not look at wine when it is red,
When it [p]sparkles in the cup,
When it (AP)goes down smoothly;
32 In the end it (AQ)bites like a snake
And stings like a (AR)viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things
And your [q]mind will (AS)say perverse things.
34 And you will be like one who lies down in the [r]middle of the sea,
Or like one who lies down on the top of a [s]mast.
35 “They (AT)struck me, but I did not become [t]ill;
They beat me, but I did not know it.
When will I awake?
I will (AU)seek [u]another drink.”


  1. Proverbs 23:1 Or who
  2. Proverbs 23:4 Lit Refrain from your understanding of it
  3. Proverbs 23:5 Lit Will your eyes fly upon it and it is not?
  4. Proverbs 23:6 Lit an evil eye
  5. Proverbs 23:7 Lit reckons in his soul
  6. Proverbs 23:8 Lit your
  7. Proverbs 23:8 Lit pleasant words
  8. Proverbs 23:9 Lit in the ears of a
  9. Proverbs 23:16 Lit kidneys
  10. Proverbs 23:17 Or reverence for
  11. Proverbs 23:17 Lit all the day
  12. Proverbs 23:18 Lit latter end
  13. Proverbs 23:26 Another reading is observe
  14. Proverbs 23:27 Lit foreign
  15. Proverbs 23:30 Or search out
  16. Proverbs 23:31 Lit gives its eye
  17. Proverbs 23:33 Lit heart
  18. Proverbs 23:34 Lit heart
  19. Proverbs 23:34 Or lookout
  20. Proverbs 23:35 I.e., from the effect of wounds
  21. Proverbs 23:35 Lit it yet again

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