|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:29-35 Solomon warns against drunkenness. Those that would be kept from sin, must keep from all the beginnings of it, and fear coming within reach of its allurements. Foresee the punishment, what it will at last end in, if repentance prevent not. It makes men quarrel. Drunkards wilfully make woe and sorrow for themselves. It makes men impure and insolent. The tongue grows unruly; the heart utters things contrary to reason, religion, and common civility. It stupifies and besots men. They are in danger of death, of damnation; as much exposed as if they slept upon the top of a mast, yet feel secure. They fear no peril when the terrors of the Lord are before them; they feel no pain when the judgments of God are actually upon them. So lost is a drunkard to virtue and honour, so wretchedly is his conscience seared, that he is not ashamed to say, I will seek it again. With good reason we were bid to stop before the beginning. Who that has common sense would contract a habit, or sell himself to a sin, which tends to such guilt and misery, and exposes a man every day to the danger of dying insensible, and awaking in hell? Wisdom seems in these chapters to take up the discourse as at the beginning of the book. They must be considered as the words of Christ to the sinner.
Verses 29-35. - Here follows a mashal ode or song on the subject of drunkenness, which is closely connected with the sin mentioned in the previous lines. Verse 29. - Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? Hebrew, lemi oi, lemi aboi, where oi and aboi are interjections of pain or grief. So Venetian, τίνι αι} τίνι φεῦ; Revised Version margin, Who hath Oh? who hath Alas? The Vulgate has stumbled at the second expression, which is an ἄπαξ λεγόμενον, and resolving it into two words, translates, Cujus patri vae? Contentions; the brawling and strife to which drunkenness leads (Proverbs 20:1). Babbling; שִׂיחַ (siach) is rather "meditation," "sorrowful thought" showing itself in complaining, regret for lost fortune, ruined health, alienated friends. Others render "misery,....penury." St. Jerome's foveae is derived from a different reading. The LXX. has κρίσεις, "lawsuits," ἀηδίαι καὶ λέσχαι, "disgust and gossipings." Wounds without cause; wounds which might have been avoided, the result of quarrels in which a sober man would never have engaged, Redness of eyes. The Hebrew word chakIi-luth is commonly taken to mean the flashing of eyes occasioned by vinous excitement. The Authorized Version refers it to the bloodshot appearance of a drunkard's eyes, as in Genesis 49:12, according to the same version. but Delitzsch, Nowack, and many modern commentators consider that the word indicates "dimness of sight," that change in the power of vision when the stimulant reaches the brain. Septuagint, "Whose eyes are livid (πελιδνοί)?" The effects of intemperance are described in a well known passage of Lucretius, 'De Rer. Nat.,' 3:475, etc. -
"Denique, cor hominum quota vini vis penetravit
Acris, et in venas discessit diditus ardor,
Consequitur gravitas membrorum, praespediuntur
Crura vacillanti, tardescit lingua, madet mens,
Nant oculei; clamor, singultus, jurgia gliscunt." We may refer to the article in Jeremy Taylor's 'Holy Living' on "Evil Consequents to Drunkenness," and to Ecclus. 34 (31):25, etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who hath woe?.... In this world and in the other, in body and soul; diseases of body, distress of mind, waste of substance, and all manner of evils and calamities; if any man has these, the drunkard has: from whoredom, the Holy Ghost proceeds to drunkenness, which generally go together; and dissuades from it, by observing the mischiefs that come by it;
who hath sorrow? through pains of body, with the headache, &c. or through the agonies of the mind, and tortures of conscience, for sin committed; or through poverty and want, so Aben Ezra derives the word from one that signifies "poor"; and so it may be rendered, "who hath poverty" (n)? the drunkard; see Proverbs 23:21;
who hath contentions? quarrels and lawsuits, which often come of drunken bouts;
who hath babbling? or "loquacity" (o)? which drunkards are subject to; much vain babbling, foolish talk, scurrilous language, scoffs, jeers, especially at religion and religious men; and sometimes such men are full of talk about religion itself, and make great pretensions to it, and the knowledge of it, in their cups, when out of them they think and talk nothing about it;
who hath wounds without cause? from words, oftentimes, drunkards go to blows upon the most frivolous accounts; fight with one another for no reason at all, and get themselves beaten and bruised for nothing;
who hath redness of eyes? the drunkard has, inflamed with wine or strong drink; which, drank frequently and to excess, is the cause of sore eyes, as well as of weakening the sight; or, however, leaves a redness there, and in other parts of the face, whereby those sons of Bacchus may be known: so it is observed (p) of Vitellius the emperor, that his face was commonly red through drunkenness. Hillerus renders it, "blackness of eyes"; such as comes from blows received; taking the word to be of the same signification with the Arabic word which so signifies: this agrees with the preceding clause; and is countenanced by the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.
(n) "cui egestas", Montanus, Amama; "cuinam penuria", Vatablus. (o) "loquacitas", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus; so the Targum. (p) Sueton. Vita ejus, c. 17.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29, 30. This picture is often sadly realized now.
mixed wine—(Compare Pr 9:2; Isa 5:11).
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