Proverbs 23
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

1When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
    observe carefully what[a] is before you,
2and put a knife to your throat
    if you have a big appetite.
3Do not desire the ruler’s[b] delicacies,
    for they are deceptive food.
4Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
    be wise enough to desist.
5When your eyes light upon it, it is gone;
    for suddenly it takes wings to itself,
    flying like an eagle toward heaven.
6Do not eat the bread of the stingy;
    do not desire their delicacies;
7for like a hair in the throat, so are they.[c]
    “Eat and drink!” they say to you;
    but they do not mean it.
8You will vomit up the little you have eaten,
    and you will waste your pleasant words.
9Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
    who will only despise the wisdom of your words.
10Do not remove an ancient landmark
    or encroach on the fields of orphans,
11for their redeemer is strong;
    he will plead their cause against you.
12Apply your mind to instruction
    and your ear to words of knowledge.
13Do not withhold discipline from your children;
    if you beat them with a rod, they will not die.
14If you beat them with the rod,
    you will save their lives from Sheol.
15My child, if your heart is wise,
    my heart too will be glad.
16My soul will rejoice
    when your lips speak what is right.
17Do not let your heart envy sinners,
    but always continue in the fear of the Lord.
18Surely there is a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.

19Hear, my child, and be wise,
    and direct your mind in the way.
20Do not be among winebibbers,
    or among gluttonous eaters of meat;
21for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
    and drowsiness will clothe them with rags.

22Listen to your father who begot you,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23Buy truth, and do not sell it;
    buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;
    he who begets a wise son will be glad in him.
25Let your father and mother be glad;
    let her who bore you rejoice.

26My child, give me your heart,
    and let your eyes observe[d] my ways.
27For a prostitute is a deep pit;
    an adulteress[e] is a narrow well.
28She lies in wait like a robber
    and increases the number of the faithless.

29Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes?
30Those who linger late over wine,
    those who keep trying mixed wines.
31Do not look at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup
    and goes down smoothly.
32At the last it bites like a serpent,
    and stings like an adder.
33Your eyes will see strange things,
    and your mind utter perverse things.
34You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
    like one who lies on the top of a mast.[f]
35“They struck me,” you will say,[g] “but I was not hurt;
    they beat me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake?
    I will seek another drink.”


  1. Proverbs 23:1 Or who
  2. Proverbs 23:3 Heb his
  3. Proverbs 23:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  4. Proverbs 23:26 Another reading is delight in
  5. Proverbs 23:27 Heb an alien woman
  6. Proverbs 23:34 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Proverbs 23:35 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb lacks you will say
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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