Proverbs chapter 23 and meaning

Today we bring you Proverbs 23 from the Bible King James Version along with an explanation of each verse of Proverbs 23.

In this article you will learn how you should behave in the face of materialism, money, education and vices according to the Christian religion and surely many of your doubts will be clarified. Don’t miss it!

Proverbs 23 complete in current language

The Holy Bible - Proverbs Chapter 23 (KJV)

As usual, we will begin by introducing Proverbs 23 with a spoken version of it. You will see that it is a chapter that uses harsh words and may seem archaic, but, as we will analyze later, its meaning transcends the physical words and we have to understand it all with a metaphorical tone.

Make yourself comfortable and enjoy these great biblical proverbs that are so needed in the world! If you want, you can follow the audio with the text you have in the following section and you won’t miss anything.

Proverbs 23 of the complete Bible, in English and large print

We leave here the version of Proverbs 23 written in large print for easy reading.

You will see that the verse chosen to head this article is verse 12, which stands out for the beauty of its meaning. Even so, many other verses in this chapter could serve as headings, since their meaning is equally or more powerful.

We hope you like it and that you can share some of the chapter’s teachings with your loved ones!

1 When you sit down to eat with a gentleman,

Consider well what is in front of you,

2 And put a knife to your throat,

If you have a big appetite.

3 Do not covet their delicate delicacies,

Because it is deceptive bread.

4 Don’t strive to get rich;

Be prudent, and desist.

5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon riches, being no riches?

Because they will become wings

Like eagle’s wings, and they will fly to heaven.

6 Do not eat bread with the miser,

Nor covet their delicacies;

7 For what is his thought in his heart, such is he.

Eat and drink, he will tell you;

But his heart is not with you.

8 Thou shalt vomit up the part thou hast eaten,

And you will lose your soft words.

9 Speak not in the ears of a fool,

Because he will despise the prudence of your reasons.

10 Do not cross the old boundary,

Nor enter into the inheritance of the fatherless;

11 For their defender is the Strong One,

Who will judge their cause against you.

12 Apply your heart to teaching,

And your ears to words of wisdom.

13 Do not refuse to correct the boy;

For if you punish him with a rod, he will not die.

14 You shall punish him with a rod,

And you will deliver his soul from Sheol.

15 My son, if your heart is wise,

My heart will be glad too;

16 My loins also shall rejoice

When your lips speak straight things.

17 Let not your heart be envious of sinners,

But rather persevere in the fear of the LORD at all times;

18 For surely there is an end,

And your hope will not be cut off.

19 Hear, my son, and be wise,

And straighten your heart to the path.

20 Do not be with the wine drinkers,

Nor with meat eaters;

21 For the drinker and the glutton will impoverish,

And the dream will make you wear torn dresses.

22 Hearken unto thy father, to him that begat thee;

And when your mother grows old, do not despise her.

23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it;

Wisdom, teaching and intelligence.

24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice,

And he that begetteth wise shall rejoice with him.

25 Let your father and mother rejoice,

And let her who bore thee rejoice.

26 Give me, my son, your heart,

And let your eyes behold my ways.

27 For the harlot is a deep abyss,

And narrow well misses her.

28 She also, like a robber, lies in wait,

And multiplies among men those who prevaricate.

29 For whom shall the woe be? For whom the pain? Who are the quarrels for?

Who are the complaints for? For whom wounds in vain?

For whom are his eyes bruised?

30 For those who dwell too much on wine,

For those who are looking for mistura.

31 Do not look at the wine when it reddens,

When its color shines in the glass.

It is entered smoothly;

32 But in the end he will bite like a serpent,

And as an asp it will give pain.

33 Your eyes will look at strange things,

And your heart will speak perversities.

34 You shall be like one lying in the midst of the sea,

Or as the one at the top of a mast.

35 And thou shalt say, I was wounded, but it hurt me not;

They whipped me, but I didn’t feel it;

When I wake up, I will still look for it again.

Meaning and Explanation of Proverbs 23

Next, we are going to analyze the meaning of Proverbs 23 by thematic blocks, because as you will see, many of the verses are related to the contiguous verses. We will also quote those proverbs that we find most beautiful so that you can easily share them with your loved ones.

  • Proverb 23 1-3

The first three verses explain to us that we should take precautions when sitting with someone influential, since it could be that he might try to bribe us or use us for his purposes. We are also told not to be envious of their material goods.

  • Proverb 23 4-5

Verses 4 and 5 show us with a beautiful metaphor the fragility of material wealth. Money can go as fast as it has come and, when we die, it will be of no use to us to enter the Kingdom of God. We see this with the metaphor of the wings in verse 5:

“Wilt thou set thine eyes upon riches, being no riches?

Because they will become wings

Like eagle’s wings, and they shall soar to heaven.”

  • Proverb 23 6-9

From verses 6 to 9, we must understand that we do not need to be part of the circles of people who have achieved fortune or success in a selfish and greedy way. The truly successful people are those who manage to do good things with humility and love, and those are the ones who should be supported.

  • Proverb 23 10-12

Moving to verse 12, we find one of the most beautiful verses of this chapter. It reminds us of the importance of teaching our knowledge and experiences with love and, above all, the importance of listening to others. In a world where everyone has a free opinion, it is necessary to listen to all possible opinions and learn to distinguish which of them are the most valid and which are not.

“Apply your heart to teaching,

And your ears to words of wisdom.”

  • Proverb 23 13-16

In the next four verses, the tone may seem rather violent, although it is a metaphor, indicating that children should be raised without fear, as they may find themselves in situations far worse than a quarrel if they are not guided in some way. We are also reminded that we should rejoice and show that joy to our children when they do well.

13 Do not refuse to correct the boy;

For if you punish him with a rod, he will not die.

14 You shall punish him with a rod,

And you will deliver his soul from Sheol.

15 My son, if your heart is wise,

My heart will be glad too;

16 My loins also shall rejoice

When your lips speak straight things.

  • Proverb 23 17-18

In verses 17 and 18, the author makes us think about how easy it is to fall into the temptation of envy for those who show an apparently happy life living in sin and away from the way of the Lord. Time in this life is limited and we should focus on doing well for ourselves and not be so dependent on the actions of others.

  • Proverb 23 19-21

The next three drive us to perform actions, the effects of which reward us in the long term, since ephemeral actions will usually induce short-lived pleasure and worse consequences in the future.

  • Proverb 23 22

Verse 22 reminds us of the importance of listening to and loving our parents and verse 23 to always be on the side of truth and justice. We leave it here for you to see its beauty:

“Buy the truth, and don’t sell it;

Wisdom, teaching and intelligence.”

  • Last verses of Proverbs 23

The last part of Proverbs 23 insists again on the message of the volatility of the material and the importance of the spiritual and ends with a message of moderation with alcohol, which can bring so many social and health problems.

Proverbs 23 Explained

Contextualizing Proverbs 23

Proverbs are a series of biblical texts collected in the Book of Proverbs of the Old Testament. All of them, pretend to give in a poetic way some moral teaching according to the Christian tradition, although we must understand that they were written many years ago and society has changed and evolved.

From them, we can extract what has not changed over time and contextualize it to our current situation, since in the purest essence of the human being there is behavior that transcends the passage of time.

As you have read and heard, Proverbs 23 is intended to educate society about the relationship one should have with everything material so as not to stray from God’s path. It is clear that we all have needs to survive, but often the line between need and vice is blurred. For this reason, we need someone to remind us of the way forward.

Moreover, in today’s world, money and luxuries are highly valued; being for many the only goal and driving force of their lives. As Christians, we must remind society that happiness is found in God’s Word and in his love and mercy; acting accordingly.

Final reflection on Proverbs 23

We live in a world in which material things have become very important in everyone’s life, especially for young people. Social networks promote the display of lives full of luxury, uncontrolled parties and all kinds of material pleasures, turning users into products.

This whole maelstrom is far removed from Christian values and, we believe that it is possible to give another use to social networks by sharing more words of love and the teachings of Our Lord. Thanks to the Internet, everyone can know the Word of God and share in his love and work.

As you have seen, from Proverbs 23 we can receive different lessons on how to behave in the face of different temptations very present in today’s world, which will help you to stand firm in God’s way.

So, as we have seen, we must maintain that delicate balance between need and greed, ambition and envy.

In our day-to-day lives, we will be driven by advertising and social networks to buy material objects that we do not really need, when we could dedicate this time and economic effort to charity and prayer. This is the way to lead a truly happy life.

We hope you have enjoyed this new article of Your Online Bible and found it helpful. Now apply all that you have learned today and share God’s teachings with your loved ones!

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