Proverbs 23:31
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) When it giveth its colour.—Or sparkles.

When it moveth itself aright.—Or, when it glides easily down the throat.

Proverbs 23:31-32. Look not thou upon the wine — Earnestly, so as to inflame thine appetite toward it; in which sense men are forbidden to look upon a woman, Job 31:1; Matthew 5:28. When it is red — Which was the colour of the best wines in that country, which therefore are called blood, Genesis 49:11; Deuteronomy 32:14; and such were used by them in the passover. Red wine, it appears, is still more esteemed in the East than white. And, according to Olearius, in his account of his travels, it is customary with the Armenian Christians, in Persia, to put Brazil wood or saffron into their wine, to give it a higher colour, when it is not so red as they wish, as they make no account of white wine. At the last it biteth like a serpent, &c. — It hurts the body in many respects, impairs the vigour of the mind, wastes the estate, stains the character, wounds the conscience, and, without repentance, destroys the soul. “Remember,” says Bishop Patrick, in his paraphrase here, “that the pleasure will be attended at last with intolerable pains; when it works like so much poison in thy veins, and casts thee into diseases as hard to cure as the biting of a serpent, or the stinging of a basilisk;” for so the word צפעני, here rendered adder, properly signifies.

23:29-35 Solomon warns against drunkenness. Those that would be kept from sin, must keep from all the beginnings of it, and fear coming within reach of its allurements. Foresee the punishment, what it will at last end in, if repentance prevent not. It makes men quarrel. Drunkards wilfully make woe and sorrow for themselves. It makes men impure and insolent. The tongue grows unruly; the heart utters things contrary to reason, religion, and common civility. It stupifies and besots men. They are in danger of death, of damnation; as much exposed as if they slept upon the top of a mast, yet feel secure. They fear no peril when the terrors of the Lord are before them; they feel no pain when the judgments of God are actually upon them. So lost is a drunkard to virtue and honour, so wretchedly is his conscience seared, that he is not ashamed to say, I will seek it again. With good reason we were bid to stop before the beginning. Who that has common sense would contract a habit, or sell himself to a sin, which tends to such guilt and misery, and exposes a man every day to the danger of dying insensible, and awaking in hell? Wisdom seems in these chapters to take up the discourse as at the beginning of the book. They must be considered as the words of Christ to the sinner.His color - literally, "its eye," the clear brightness, or the beaded bubbles on which the wine drinker looks with complacency.

It moveth itself aright - The Hebrew word describes the pellucid stream flowing pleasantly from the wineskin or jug into the goblet or the throat (compare Sol 7:9), rather than a sparkling wine.

31. when … red—the color denoting greater strength (compare Ge 49:11; De 32:14).

giveth … cup—literally, "gives its eye," that is, sparkles.

moveth … aright—Perhaps its foaming is meant.

Look not thou upon the wine earnestly, so as to inflame thine appetite towards it; in which sense men are forbidden to look upon a woman, Job 31:1 Matthew 5:28.

When it is red; which was the colour of the best wines in that country, which therefore are called blood, Genesis 49:11 Deu 32:14; and such were used by them in the passover.

When it moveth itself aright; when it sparkleth and frisketh, and seems to smile upon a man.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red,.... Or, "because it is red" (r); or shows itself red. Which was the only wine used in the land of Canaan, or, however, the most esteemed of, and that most of art which had the best colour; when it had a good, bright, red colour, or sparkled, and looked bright and beautiful, so the word signifies; and then it should not be looked upon: not that it is unlawful to look upon the colour of wine, and thereby judge of its goodness; but it should not be looked upon with a greedy eye, so as vehemently to desire it, which will lead to an intemperate use of it; just as looking upon a woman, so as to lust after her, is forbidden, Matthew 5:28;

when it giveth his colour in the cup: or, its eye in the cup (s); such a bright, brisk, and beautiful colour, as is like a bright and sparkling eye. Here is a various reading; it is written in the text, "in the purse" (t); it is read in the margin, "in the cup"; and Jarchi's note takes in both,

"he that drinks wine sets his eye on the cup; and the vintner sets his on his purse;''

when it moveth itself aright; sparkles in the glass, or goes down the throat pleasantly; or rather looks well to the eye, and appears right and good, and promises a great deal of satisfaction and delight.

(r) "quia", some in Mercerus, Gejerus. (s) "oculum suum", Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (t) "in crumena, vel marsupio", Mercerus.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. moveth itself aright] So R.V. marg.; but R.V. text, goeth down smoothly, as the same expression is rendered in Song of Solomon, Song of Solomon 7:9 [Hebrews 10], A.V. and R.V.

Verse 31. - Look not thou upon the wine when it is red. Be not attracted by its beautiful appearance. The wine of Palestine was chiefly "red," though what we call white wine was not unknown. The Vulgate flavescit points to the latter. When it giveth his colour in the cup. For "color" the Hebrew has "eye," which refers to the sparkling and gleaming which show themselves in wine poured into the cup. It is as though the cup had an eye which glanced at the drinker with a fascination which he did not resist. When it moveth itself aright. Having warned against the attraction of sight, the moralist now passes to the seduction of taste. Hebrew, when it goeth by the right read. This may refer to its transference from the jar or skin to the drinking cup; but it mere probably alludes to the drinker's throat, and is best translated, "when it glideth down smoothly." Vulgate, ingreditur blande. The wine pleases the palate, and passes over it without roughness or harshness (comp. Song of Solomon 7:9). The LXX. has enlarged on the original thus: "Be ye not drunk with wine, but converse with just men, and converse in public places (ἐν περιπάτοις). For if thou set thine eyes on goblets and cups, afterwards thou shalt walk more bare than a pestle (γύμνοτερος ὐπέρου)." This last expression, pistillo nudior, is a proverb. Regarding the danger of looking on seductive objects, the Arab, in his sententious language, says, "The contemplation of vice is vice." Proverbs 23:31The author passes from the sin of uncleanness to that of drunkenness; they are nearly related, for drunkenness excites fleshly lust; and to wallow with delight in the mire of sensuality, a man, created in the image of God, must first brutalize himself by intoxication. The Mashal in the number of its lines passes beyond the limits of the distich, and becomes a Mashal ode.

29 Whose is woe? Whose is grief?

     Whose are contentions, whose trouble, whose wounds without cause?

     Whose dimness of eyes?

30 Theirs, who sit late at the wine,

     Who turn in to taste mixed wine.

31 Look not on the wine as it sparkleth red,

     As it showeth its gleam in the cup,

     Glideth down with ease.

32 The end of it is that it biteth like a serpent,

     And stingeth like a basilisk.

33 Thine eyes shall see strange things,

     And thine heart shall speak perverse things;

34 And thou art as one lying in the heart of the sea,

continued...

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