Proverbs 23:2
And put a knife to your throat, if you be a man given to appetite.
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(2) And put a knife to thy throat.—Use the strongest methods to keep thine appetite in check, if thou art likely to give way to it, and then, overcome by meat and drink, to say or do anything to offend thy host.

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.i. e., "Restrain thy appetite, eat as if the knife were at thy throat." Others render the words "thou wilt put a knife to thy throat" etc., i. e., "indulgence at such a time may endanger thy very life." 2. put a knife—an Eastern figure for putting restraint on the appetite. Put a knife to thy throat; restrain and moderate thine appetite, as if a knife or some other thing stuck in thy throat, and hindered thee from swallowing what thou didst desire; or as if a man stood with a knife at thy throat ready to kill thee, if thou didst transgress; or though it be as irksome to thee to do so as if thou hadst a knife put to thy throat. So this is to be understood metaphorically, as that phrase of

cutting off the right hand, & c., Matthew 5:29,30. Or, For thou dost (or, lest thou shouldst, as the Syriac interpreter renders it; or, otherwise thou wilt or shouldst) put a knife to thy throat. So the sense is, When thou goest to their feasts, thou dost expose thyself to great and manifest hazards, to thy own intemperance, and to all its dangerous consequences, and to the ill effects of other men’s intemperance.

Given to appetite; prone to excess in eating and drinking. 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.

{b} And put a knife to thy throat, if thou art a man given to appetite.

(b) Bridle your appetite, as if by force and violence.

2. put a knife] i.e. Restrain forcibly thy appetite as with a knife held to thy throat. Others render, thou wilt put (R.V. marg.) and understand it to mean, that death may be the penalty of indulgence.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 [31]: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." Another tetrastich follows:

24 Have no intercourse with an angry man,

     And with a furious man go thou not;

25 Lest thou adopt his ways,

     And bring destruction upon thy soul.

The Piel רעה, Judges 14:20, signifies to make or choose any one as a friend or companion (רעה, רע); the Hithpa. התרעה (cf. at Proverbs 18:24), to take to oneself (for oneself) any one as a friend, or to converse with one; אל־תּתרע sounds like אל־תּשׁתּע, Isaiah 41:10, with Pathach of the closed syllable from the apocope. The angry man is called בּעל אף, as the covetous man בּעל נפשׁ, Proverbs 23:2, and the mischievous man בּעל מזמּות, Proverbs 24:8; vid., regarding בּעל at Proverbs 1:19 and Proverbs 18:9. אישׁ חמות is related superlat. to אישׁ חמה, Proverbs 15:18 (cf. Proverbs 29:22), and signifies a hot-head of the highest degree. לא תבוא is meant as warning (cf. Proverbs 16:10). בּוא את, or בוא עם, Psalm 26:4, to come along with one, is equivalent to go into fellowship or companionship with one, which is expressed by הלך את, Proverbs 13:20, as בוא ב means, Joshua 23:7, Joshua 23:12, to enter into communion with one, venire in consuetudinem. This בוא את is not a trace of a more recent period of the language. Also תּאלף, discas, cannot be an equivalent for it: Heb. poetry has at all times made use of Aramaisms as elegancies. אלף, Arab. אלף, ילף, Arab. âlifa, signifies to be entrusted with anything equals to learn (Piel אלּף, to teach, Job 15:15, and in Elihu's speeches), or also to become confidential with one (whence אלּוּף, companion, confidant, Proverbs 2:17); this אלף is never a Heb. prose word; the bibl. אלּוּף is only used at a later period in the sense of teacher. ארחות .reh are the ways, the conduct (Proverbs 2:20, etc.), or manner of life (Proverbs 1:19) which any one enters upon and follows out, thus manners as well as lot, condition. In the phrase "to bring destruction," לקח is used as in our phrase Schaden nehmen [to suffer injury]; the ancient language also represented the forced entrance of one into a state as a being laid hold on, e.g., Job 18:20, cf. Isaiah 13:8; here מוקשׁ is not merely equivalent to danger (Ewald, falsely: that thou takest not danger for thy soul), but is equivalent to destruction, sin itself is a snare (Proverbs 29:6); to bring a snare for oneself is equivalent to suffer from being ensnared. Whosoever comes into a near relation with a passionate, furious, man, easily accommodates himself to his manners, and, hurried forward by him and like him to outbreaks of anger, which does that which is not right before God, falls into ruinous complications.

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