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Proverbs 23 Common English Bible (CEB)

23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
    carefully consider what is in front of you.
Place a knife at your throat
    to control your appetite.
Don’t long for the ruler’s delicacies;
    the food misleads.

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
    be smart enough to stop.
When your eyes fly to wealth
    it is gone; it grows wings
    like an eagle and flies heavenward.

Don’t eat food with stingy people;
    don’t long for their delicacies,
    because they are like a hair in the throat.[a]
They say to you, “Eat and drink!”
    but they don’t mean it.
You will eat scraps and vomit them out.
    You will waste your pleasant words.
Don’t speak in the ears of fools,
    for they will scorn your insightful words.

10 Don’t remove an ancient boundary marker;
    don’t invade the fields of orphans,
11     for their redeemer is strong.
    He will bring charges against you.

12 Bring your mind to instruction,
    your ear to knowledgeable sayings.

13 Don’t withhold instruction from children;
    if you strike them with a rod, they won’t die.
14 Strike them with a rod,
    and you will save their lives from the grave.[b]

15 My child, if your heart is wise,
    then my heart too will be happy.
16 My inner being will rejoice
    when your lips speak with integrity.

17 Don’t let your heart envy sinners,
    but fear the Lord constantly;
18         then you will have a future,
        and your hope won’t be cut off.

19 Listen, my child, and be wise!
    Keep your mind straight on the path.
20 Don’t hang out with those who get drunk on wine
    or those who eat too much meat,
21     because drunks and gluttons will be impoverished;
    their stupor will clothe them in rags.

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life;
    don’t despise your elderly mother.
23 Buy truth and don’t sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will be very happy;
    the one who gives life to the wise will rejoice.
25 Your father and your mother will rejoice;
    she who gave you birth will be happy.

26 My child, give your mind to me
    and let your eyes keep to my path.
27 A prostitute is a deep pit,
    and a foreign woman is a narrow well.
28 Indeed, she ambushes like a robber
    and increases the number of the faithless.

29 Who is suffering?
    Who is uneasy?
    Who has arguments?
    Who has complaints?
    Who has unnecessary wounds?
    Who has glazed eyes?—
30         those who linger over wine;
        those who go looking for mixed wine.
31 Don’t look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup,
    going down smoothly.
32 In the end, it bites like a snake
    and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your heart will speak distorted words.
34 You will be like one who lies down while out on the sea[c]
    or one who lies on top of a mast.
35 “Though hit, I feel no pain;
    though beaten up, I don’t know anything about it.
When I wake up,
    I’ll look for wine again!”


  1. Proverbs 23:7 LXX; Heb uncertain
  2. Proverbs 23:14 Heb Sheol
  3. Proverbs 23:34 Or in the heart of the sea
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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