Proverbs 23
New King James Version Par ▾ 

Listen to Your Father

1When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
2And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
3Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food.

4Do not overwork to be rich;
Because of your own understanding, cease!
5[a]Will you set your eyes on that which is not?
For riches certainly make themselves wings;
They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.

6Do not eat the bread of a[b] miser,
Nor desire his delicacies;
7For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
“Eat and drink!” he says to you,
But his heart is not with you.
8The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up,
And waste your pleasant words.

9Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
For he will despise the wisdom of your words.

10Do not remove the ancient [c]landmark,
Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;
11For their Redeemer is mighty;
He will plead their cause against you.

12Apply your heart to instruction,
And your ears to words of knowledge.

13Do not withhold correction from a child,
For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14You shall beat him with a rod,
And deliver his soul from [d]hell.

15My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself;
16Yes, my [e]inmost being will rejoice
When your lips speak right things.

17Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
18For surely there is a [f]hereafter,
And your hope will not be cut off.

19Hear, my son, and be wise;
And guide your heart in the way.
20Do not mix with winebibbers,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
21For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

22Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.

23Buy the truth, and do not sell it,
Also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

24The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who begets a wise child will delight in him.
25Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice.

26My son, give me your heart,
And let your eyes observe my ways.
27For a harlot is a deep pit,
And a seductress is a narrow well.
28She also lies in wait as for a victim,
And increases the unfaithful among men.

29Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
30Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
31Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it [g]swirls around smoothly;
32At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
33Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
34Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the [h]midst of the sea,
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
35“They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?


  1. Proverbs 23:5 Lit. Will you cause your eyes to fly upon it and it is not?
  2. Proverbs 23:6 Lit. one who has an evil eye
  3. Proverbs 23:10 boundary
  4. Proverbs 23:14 Or Sheol
  5. Proverbs 23:16 Lit. kidneys
  6. Proverbs 23:18 Future, lit. latter end
  7. Proverbs 23:31 goes around
  8. Proverbs 23:34 Lit. heart
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

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