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Proverbs 23Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

23 When you sit down to dine with a ruler,
consider carefully what[a] is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you have a big[b] appetite;
don’t desire his choice food,
for that food is deceptive.

Don’t wear yourself out to get rich;
stop giving your attention to it.
As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears,
for it makes wings for itself
and flies like an eagle to the sky.

Don’t eat a stingy person’s bread,[c]
and don’t desire his choice food,
for it’s like someone calculating inwardly.[d]
“Eat and drink,” he says to you,
but his heart is not with you.
You will vomit the little you’ve eaten
and waste your pleasant words.

Don’t speak to[e] a fool,
for he will despise the insight of your words.

10 Don’t move an ancient boundary marker,
and don’t encroach on the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Redeemer is strong,
and He will take up their case against you.

12 Apply yourself to discipline
and listen to words of knowledge.

13 Don’t withhold discipline from a youth;
if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14 Strike him with a rod,
and you will rescue his life from Sheol.

15 My son, if your heart is wise,
my heart will indeed rejoice.
16 My innermost being will cheer
when your lips say what is right.

17 Don’t let your heart envy sinners;
instead, always fear the Lord.
18 For then you will have a future,
and your hope will never fade.

19 Listen, my son, and be wise;
keep your mind on the right course.
20 Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine
or with those who gorge themselves on meat.
21 For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor,
and grogginess will clothe them in rags.

22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
and don’t despise your mother when[f] she is old.
23 Buy—and do not sell—truth,
wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly,
and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him.
25 Let your father and mother have joy,
and let her who gave birth to you rejoice.

26 My son, give me your heart,
and let your eyes observe my ways.
27 For a prostitute is a deep pit,
and a stranger is a narrow well;
28 indeed, she sets an ambush like a robber
and increases those among men who are unfaithful.

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has conflicts? Who has complaints?
Who has wounds for no reason?
Who has red eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine,
those who go looking for mixed wine.
31 Don’t gaze at wine because it is red,
when it gleams in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a snake
and stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
and you will say absurd things.[g]
34 You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea
or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast.
35 “They struck me, but[h] I feel no pain!
They beat me, but I didn’t know it!
When will I wake up?
I’ll look for another drink.”


  1. Proverbs 23:1 Or who
  2. Proverbs 23:2 Lit you are the master of an
  3. Proverbs 23:6 Lit eat bread of an evil eye
  4. Proverbs 23:7 LXX reads it is like someone swallowing a hair in the throat
  5. Proverbs 23:9 Lit in the ears of
  6. Proverbs 23:22 Or because
  7. Proverbs 23:33 Or will speak perversities or inverted things
  8. Proverbs 23:35 LXX, Syr, Tg, Vg read me,” you will say, “But

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