Proverbs 23:9
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words.

King James Bible
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

American Standard Version
Speak not in the hearing of a fool; For he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Speak not in the ears of fools: because they will despise the instruction of thy speech.

English Revised Version
Speak not in the hearing of a fool; for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Webster's Bible Translation
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Proverbs 23:9 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Proverbs 22:29, which speaks of a high position near the king, is appropriately followed by a hexastich referring to the slipperiness of the smooth ground of the king's court.

1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler,

   Consider well whom thou hast before thee.

2 And put thy knife to thy throat

   If thou art a man of good appetite.

3 Be not lustful after his dainties,

   Because it is deceitful food.

The ל of ללחום is that of end: ad cibum capiendum, thus as one invited by him to his table; in prose the expression would be לאכל לחם; לחם, to eat, is poet., Proverbs 4:17; Proverbs 9:5. The fut. תּבין clothes the admonition in the form of a wish or counsel; the infin. intens. בּין makes it urgent: consider well him whom thou hast before thee, viz., that he is not thine equal, but one higher, who can destroy thee as well as be useful to thee. With ושׂמתּ the jussive construction begun by תבין is continued. Zckler and Dchsel, after Ewald and Hitzig, translate incorrectly: thou puttest..., the perf. consec. after an imperf., or, which is the same thing, a fut. meant optatively (e.g., Leviticus 19:18 with לא, and also Leviticus 19:34 without לא) continues the exhortation; to be thus understood, the author ought to have used the expression שׂכּין שׂמתּ and not ושׂמת שׂכין. Rightly Luther: "and put a knife to thy throat," but continuing: "wilt thou preserve thy life," herein caught in the same mistake of the idea with Jerome, the Syr., and Targ., to which נפשׁ here separates itself. שׂכּין (סכּין) (Arab. with the assimilated a sikkı̂n, plur. sekâkı̂n, whence sekâkı̂ni, cutler) designates a knife (R. סך שך, to stick, vid., at Isaiah 9:10). לוע, from לוּע, to devour, is the throat; the word in Aram. signifies only the cheek, while Lagarde seeks to interpret בּלעך infinitively in the sense of (Arab.) bwlw'ak, if thou longest for (from wl'a); but that would make 2b a tautology. The verb לוּע (cf. Arab. l'al', to pant for) shows for the substantive the same primary meaning as glutus from glutire, which was then transferred from the inner organ of swallowing (Kimchi, בית הבליעה, Parchon; הוּשׂט, aesophagus) to the external. "Put a knife to thy throat, is a proverbial expression, like our: the knife stands at his throat; the poet means to say: restrain thy too eager desire by means of the strongest threatening of danger - threaten as it were death to it" (Fleischer). In בּעל נפשׁ, נפשׁ means, as at Proverbs 13:2, desire, and that desire of eating, as at Proverbs 6:30. Rightly Rashi: if thou art greedy with hunger, if thou art a glutton; cf. Sir. 34:12 (31:12), "If thou sittest at a great table, then open not widely thy throat (φάρυγγα), and say not: There is certainly much on it!" The knife thus denotes the restraining and moderating of too good an appetite.

In 3a the punctuation fluctuates between תתאו (Michlol 131a) and תתאו; the latter is found in Cod. 1294, the Erfurt 2 and 3, the Cod. Jaman., and thus it is also to be written at Proverbs 23:6 and Proverbs 24:1; ויתאו, 1 Chronicles 11:17 and Psalm 45:12, Codd. and older Edd. (e.g., Complut. 1517, Ven. 1515, 1521) write with Pathach. מטעמּות, from טעם, signifies savoury dishes, dainties, like (Arab.) dhwâkt, from dhâk (to taste, to relish); cf. sapores, from sapere, in the proverb: the tit-bits of the king burn the lips (vid., Fleischer, Ali's Hundred Proverbs, etc., pp. 71, 104). With והוּא begins, as at Proverbs 3:29, a conditioning clause: since it is, indeed, the bread of deceit (the connection like עד־כּחבים, Proverbs 21:28), food which, as it were, deceives him who eats it, i.e., appears to secure for him the lasting favour of princes, and often enough herein deceives him; cf. the proverb by Burckhardt and Meidani: whoever eats of the sultan's soup burns his lips, even though it may be after a length of time (Fleischer). One must come near to a king, says Calovius, hitting the meaning of the proverb, as to a fire: not too near, lest he be burned; nor too remote, so that he may be warmed therewith.

Proverbs 23:9 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Proverbs 9:7,8 He that reproves a scorner gets to himself shame: and he that rebukes a wicked man gets himself a blot...

Proverbs 26:4,5 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like to him...

Isaiah 36:21 But they held their peace, and answered him not a word: for the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not.

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet...

Acts 13:45,46 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul...

Acts 28:25-28 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word...


Luke 16:14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

John 8:52 Then said the Jews to him, Now we know that you have a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and you say, If a man keep my saying...

John 9:30-34,40 The man answered and said to them, Why herein is a marvelous thing, that you know not from where he is, and yet he has opened my eyes...

John 10:20 And many of them said, He has a devil, and is mad; why hear you him?

Acts 17:18,32 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some...

1 Corinthians 1:21-24 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God...

1 Corinthians 4:10-13 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honorable, but we are despised...

Cross References
Matthew 7:6
"Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:7
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Proverbs 14:7
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.

Proverbs 26:4
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.

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