Proverbs 23:3 MEANING

Proverbs 23:3
(3) Deceitful meat.--Not offered out of friendship and love to thee; for an unguarded word spoken in the insecurity of the festive hour might bring ruin to thee.

Verse 3. - Be not desirous of his dainties. (For "dainties," see on ver. 6.) Be not too greedy of the bounties of the royal table, so as to forget discretion, and be led to say and do things which are inexpedient or unseemly. For they are deceitful meat. Oftentimes such entertainment is not offered for friendship's sake, but for some sinister purpose - to make a man expose himself, to get at a man's real character or secrets. Far from being a sign of favour and good will, the seeming honour is deceptive and dangerous. We all know Horace's lines, 'Ars Poet.,' 434, etc. -

"Reges dicuntur multi, urgere culullis
Et torquere mero, quem perspexisse laborant,
Au sit amicitia dignus."
Hitzig quotes the Eastern proverb, "He who eats of the sultan's soup burns his lips, even though it he after a length of time." We have too the Indian saying, "An epicure digs his grave with his teeth," which is true in more senses than one. "Keep thee far from the man that hath power to kill," says Siracides (Ecclus. 9:13); "so shalt thou not be troubled with fear of death: and if thou come unto him, commit no fault, lest he presently take away thy life; remember that thou goest in the midst of snares, and that thou walkest upon the battlements of the city." Then for the reasons which induce a ruler to ply a guest with wine, we have, "In vino veritas, quod est in corde sobrii, est in ore ebrii." Theognis writes -

Ἐν πυρὶ μὲν χρυσόν τε καὶ ἄργυρον ἴδριες ἄνδρες
Γιγνώσκους ἀνδρὸς δ οϊνος ἔδειξε νόον
Καὶ μάλα περ πινυτοῦ τὸν ὐπέρ μέτρον ἤρατο πίνων
Ωστε καταισχῦναι καὶ πρὶν ἐόντα σοφόν. The Septuagint combines the ending of ver. 2, "But if thou art more insatiable, desire not his victuals, for these appertain to (ἔχεται) a false life."

23:1-3 God's restraints of the appetite only say, Do thyself no harm. 4,5. Be not of those that will be rich. The things of this world are not happiness and a portion for a soul; those that hold them ever so fast, cannot hold them always, cannot hold them long. 6-8. Do not make thyself burdensome to any, especially those not sincere. When we are called by God to his feast, and to let our souls delight themselves, Isa 25:6; 55:2, we may safely partake of the Bread of life. 9. It is our duty to take all fit occasions to speak of Divine things; but if what a wise man says will not be heard, let him hold his peace. 10,11. The fatherless are taken under God's special protection. He is their Redeemer, who will take their part; and he is mighty, almighty.Be not desirous of his dainties,.... His savoury food, which is very grateful to the taste, his rich provisions and royal dainties; do not lust after them, as the word (s) signifies, in an immoderate way, as the Israelites lusted after the fleshpots in Egypt: these may be lawfully desired, but not sinfully lusted after; and in feeding on them nature may be satisfied, and not the sensual lusts gratified in such a manner they crave, which would be criminal;

for they are deceitful meat; or, "bread of lies" (t): through the pleasant and agreeable taste of them, they lead on to luxury and excess before a man is aware, and so deceive him; they promise him a great deal of pleasure, but, being too much indulged to, they produce sickness and nauseousness. Some think they are called so, from the intention and issue of them; being designed to draw out secrets, which men are very apt to divulge, when they have ate and drank freely. Some apply this to false doctrines, which are framed sometimes in a very plausible manner, and deceive the simple; are bread of lies, lies in hypocrisy, and are very pernicious; such words eat, as do a canker, instead of yielding solid nourishment.

(s) "ne concupiscas", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Schultens; "ne coucupiscito", Piscator. (t) "panis mendaciorum", Montanus, Munster, Vatablus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; "cibus mendaciorum", Piscator, Schultens.

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