Proverbs 20:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.

New Living Translation
Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth.

English Standard Version
Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.

New American Standard Bible
Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

King James Bible
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Food gained by fraud is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth is full of gravel.

International Standard Version
Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but later his mouth will be full of gravel.

NET Bible
Bread gained by deceit tastes sweet to a person, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He pledges security to a man with deceitful bread, and after that, his mouth will be filled with pebbles.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Food gained dishonestly tastes sweet to a person, but afterwards his mouth will be filled with gravel.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

King James 2000 Bible
Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

American King James Version
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

American Standard Version
Bread of falsehood is sweet to a man; But afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The bread of lying is sweet to a man: but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Darby Bible Translation
Bread of falsehood is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

English Revised Version
Bread of falsehood is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Webster's Bible Translation
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

World English Bible
Fraudulent food is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth is filled with gravel.

Young's Literal Translation
Sweet to a man is the bread of falsehood, And afterwards is his mouth filled with gravel.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

20:7. A good man is not liable to uneasiness in contriving what he shall do, or in reflecting on what he has done, as those who walk in deceit. And his family fare better for his sake. 8. If great men are good men, they may do much good, and prevent very much evil. 9. Some can say, Through grace, we are cleaner than we have been; but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. 10. See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten. 11. Parents should observe their children, that they may manage them accordingly. 12. All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him. 13. Those that indulge themselves, may expect to want necessaries, which should have been gotten by honest labour. 14. Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie. 15. He that prefers true knowledge to riches, follows the ways of religion and happiness. If we really believed this truth, the word of God would be valued as it deserves, and the world would lose its tempting influence. 16. Those ruin themselves who entangle themselves in rash suretiship. Also those who are in league with abandoned women. Place no confidence in either. 17. Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection. 18. Especially we need advice in spiritual warfare. The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point. 19. Those dearly buy their own praise, who put confidence in a man because he speaks fairly. 20. An undutiful child will become very miserable. Never let him expect any peace or comfort. 21. An estate suddenly raised, is often as suddenly ruined. 22. Wait on the Lord, attend his pleasure, and he will protect thee.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 17. - Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; Revised Version, bread of falsehood; i.e. bread gained without labour, or by unrighteous means (comp. Proverbs 10:2). This is agreeable because it is easily won, and has the relish of forbidden fruit. "Wickedness is sweet in his mouth" (Job 20:12). But afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel. He will find in his "bread" no nourishment, but rather discomfort and positive injury (comp. Job 20:14). The expression, "to eat gravel," is intimated in Lamentations 3:16, "He hath broken my teeth with gravel stones;" it implies grievous disappointment and unprofitableness. See here a warning against evil plesaures -

Φεῦγ ἡδονὴν φέρουσαν ὕστερον βλάβην

"Sperne voluptates: nocet empta dolore voluptas." Oort supposes that the gnome in the text is derived from a riddle, which asked, "What is sweet at first, but afterwards like sand in the mouth?"

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man,.... Which may be understood of sin in general, which is bread to the sinner, he eats it: it is called "the bread of wickedness", Proverbs 4:17; but it is but poor bread, no other than ashes Isaiah 44:20; it is "bread of deceit"; there is a deceitfulness in all sin; it is in appearance fair and pleasant to the eye, like the fruit our first parents ate of; or like the apples of Sodom, of which it is reported that they are very beautiful to look at, but when touched drop into ashes; sin promises pleasure, profit, honour, liberty, peace, and impunity, yet gives neither; but the reverse, pain, loss, shame, servitude distress, and destruction; and yet it is sweet to an unregenerate man, one of a vicious taste, or whose taste remains unchanged; it is natural to him and he takes as much delight in it as in eating and drinking; and especially such sins as are called constitution ones, which he is not easily prevailed upon to part with; wickedness is sweet in his mouth, he rolls it and keeps it as a sweet morsel under his tongue, and forsakes it not, Job 20:12. It may be applied to particular sins, as to adultery, as it is by Jarchi, and with which may be compared Proverbs 9:17; and to riches unlawfully gotten; see Job 20:15; and to the cruel usage and persecution of the people of God, called the bread of wickedness and wine of violence, which wicked men take as much delight in as in eating and drinking, Proverbs 4:17; particularly the cruelty of the church of Rome, who has made herself drunk with the blood of the saints, in which she delights, and will be bitter to her in the end, Revelation 17:6. It may be interpreted of false doctrine; so the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees is signified by leavened bread, Matthew 16:6; this is not true bread, does not strengthen, nourish, and refresh, as the Gospel does, but eats as a canker; it is not solid and substantial, but mere chaff, it is bread of falsehood and lying; false teachers lie in wait to deceive, their doctrines are lies in hypocrisy, and, yet these are sweet unto, and taken down greedily by carnal persons; particularly the doctrine of justification by works: this is the bread some men live on, but it is only husks which swine eat; it is feeding on wind, and filling the belly with east wind, which swells and vainly puffs up the fleshly mind; it is contrary to the, Gospel, and is not of the truth, and will deceive persons that trust to it; and yet it is sweet to a natural man; his own righteousness, and to trust to it, is natural to him; it is his own, and what he has laboured for, and is fond of; it affords room for boasting, and he does not care to part with it;

but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel; with that which will be ungrateful, uncomfortable, and distressing to him; the conscience of a sinner, who has been taking his fill of sin and pleasure in it shall be filled with remorse and distress; and with bitter reflections upon himself; with a dreadful sense of divine wrath, and fearful apprehensions of it now; and destruction and damnation will be his portion hereafter; and this will be the consequence of all false doctrine, and of a man's trusting to his own righteousness and despising Christ's; see 2 Peter 2:1.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

17. Bread … sweet—either as unlawfully (Pr 9:17) or easily obtained.

mouth … gravel—well expresses the pain and grief given at last.

Proverbs 20:17 Additional Commentaries
Context
Wine is a Mocker
16Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger; And for foreigners, hold him in pledge. 17Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. 18Prepare plans by consultation, And make war by wise guidance.…
Cross References
Proverbs 9:17
"Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!"

Proverbs 20:16
Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.

Lamentations 3:16
He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.
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Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

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