|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-3 God's restraints of the appetite only say, Do thyself no harm. 4,5. Be not of those that will be rich. The things of this world are not happiness and a portion for a soul; those that hold them ever so fast, cannot hold them always, cannot hold them long. 6-8. Do not make thyself burdensome to any, especially those not sincere. When we are called by God to his feast, and to let our souls delight themselves, Isa 25:6; 55:2, we may safely partake of the Bread of life. 9. It is our duty to take all fit occasions to speak of Divine things; but if what a wise man says will not be heard, let him hold his peace. 10,11. The fatherless are taken under God's special protection. He is their Redeemer, who will take their part; and he is mighty, almighty.
Verse 2. - And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. "Stab thy gluttony," Wordsworth. Restrain thyself by the strongest measures, convince thyself that thou art in the utmost peril, if thou art a glutton or wine bibber (Ecclus. 34 :12). The LXX. gives a different turn to the injunction, "And apply (ἐπίβαλλε) thy hand, knowing that it behoves thee to prepare such things." This is like the warning of Siracides, in the chapter quoted above, where the disciple is admonished not to attend the banquets of rich men, lest he should be tempted to vie with them, and thus ruin himself by attempting to return their civilities in the same lavish manner. The earlier commentators have used the above verses as a lesson concerning the due and reverent partaking of the Holy Communion, thus: "When you approach the table of Christ, consider diligently what is represented by the elements before you, and have discernment and faith, lest you eat and drink unworthily; and after communicating walk warily, mortify all evil desires, live as in the presence of the Lord Jesus, the Giver of the feast."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And put a knife to thy throat,.... Refrain from too much talk at the table; give not too loose to thy tongue, but bridle it, considering in whose presence thou art; do not use too much freedom, either with the ruler or fellow guests; which, when persons have ate and drank well, they are too apt to do, and sometimes say things offensive to one or the other; it is good for a man to be upon his guard; see Ecclesiastes 5:2. Or restrain thine appetite; deny thyself of some things agreeable, that would lead thee to what might be hurtful, at least if indulged to excess: put as it were a knife unto thine appetite, and mortify it; which is the same as cutting off a right hand, or plucking out a right eye Matthew 5:29. Or while thou art at such a table, at such a sumptuous entertainment, consider thyself as in danger, as if thou hadst a knife at thy throat; and shouldest thou be too free with the food or liquor, it would be as it were cutting thine own throat;
if thou be a man given to appetite; there is then the more danger; and therefore such a person should be doubly on his guard, since he is in the way of temptation to that he is naturally inclined to. Or, "if thou art master of appetite" (r): so the Targum,
"if thou art master of thy soul;''
if thou hast power over it, and the command of it, and canst restrain it with ease; to which agrees the Vulgate Latin version: but the former sense is more agreeable to the Hebrew idiom.
(r) "dominus animae", Vatablus, Mercerus, Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. put a knife—an Eastern figure for putting restraint on the appetite.
Proverbs 23:2 Parallel Commentaries
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