|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.
Verse 35. - The drunkard is represented as speaking to himself. The LXX. inserts, "and thou shelf say" as the Authorized Version does: They have stricken me, shall thou say, and I was not sick; or, I was not hurt. The drunken man has been beaten (perhaps there is a reference to the "contentions," ver. 29), but the blows did not pain him; his condition has rendered him insensible to pain. He has some vague idea the he has suffered certain rough treatment at the hands of his companions, but it has made no impression on him. They have beaten me, and I felt it not; did not even know it. Far from recognizing his degradation and profiting by the merzed chastisement which he has incurred, he is represented as looking forward with pleasure to a renewal of his debauch, when his drunken sleep shall be over. When shall I awake? I will seek it (wine) yet again. Some take מָתַי (mathai) as the relative conjunctive: "When I awake I will seek it again;" but it is always used interrogatively, and the expression thus becomes more animated, as Delitzsch observes. It is as though the drunkard has to yield to the effects of his excess and sleep off his intoxication, but he is. as it were, all the time longing to be able to rouse himself and recommence his orgies. We have had words put into the mouth of the sluggard (Proverbs 6:10). The whole verse is rendered by the LXX thus: "Thou shalt say, They smote me, and I was not pained, and they mocked me, and I knew it not. When will it be morning, that I may go and seek those with whom I may consort?" The author of the 'Tractutus de Conscientia' appended to St. Bernard's works, applies this paragraph to the cuss of an evil conscience indurated by wicked habits and insensible to correction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick,.... Or "grieved not" (x); or was not wounded or skin broken (y); see Jeremiah 5:3. The drunken man is here represented as saying, that though his companions, with whom he quarrelled and fought in his drunken frolics, beat him very much, yet he was not sensible of the pain and smart; and it had left no sickness nor disorder upon him; he did not find himself much the worse for it;
they have beaten me; as with hammers (z); battered and bruised him terribly, laying very hard and heavy strokes upon him;
and I felt it not; or "knew it not" (a); did not perceive it, was not sensible of it, when the blows were given, or who gave them; and thus feeling no more, and coming off so well, as he thinks, he is so far from being reclaimed from this vice, that he is more strengthened in it, and desirous of it;
when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again: that is, the wine and his boon companions, though he has been so used. So the Vulgate Latin version, "when shall I awake, and again find wines?" being heavy with sleep through intemperance, and yet thirsty, is desirous of shaking off his sleep, that he may get to drinking again, and "add drunkenness to thirst", Deuteronomy 29:19; so the Septuagint version,
"when will it be morning, that going I may seek with whom I may meet?''
(x) "non dolui", Tigurine version, Michaelis. (y) Schultens Orig. Heb. l. 1. c. 9. s. 20. (z) "contuderunt me, velut malleis", Michaelis; so Grotius. (a) "non cognovi", Pagninus, Montanus; "non novi", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
35. awake—that is, from drunkenness (Ge 9:24). This is the language rather of acts than of the tongue.
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