Proverbs 23 continues a numbered list of wise sayings from chapter 22; that is, the “thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge” (22:20). Thus, chapter 23 encompasses saying 6 to saying 18 (for more info check out the ESV Study Bible) outlined below.
Verse #’s, “saying” #, & Topic.
1–3, saying 6, Warning of the deceptiveness of the wealthy.
4–5, saying 7, Warning of the danger of overwork and pursuit of wealth.
6–8, saying 8, Warning of receiving gifts from a manipulator.
9, saying 9, Warning of a fool’s obstinacy.
10–11, saying 10, Warnings for those who would take advantage of orphans or the weak, God is their Redeemer.
12, saying 11, Pursue wisdom.
13–14, saying 12, Correct and discipline your children in order that they may pursue the Lord’s mercy.
15–16, saying 13, The result of a child raised with discipline is wisdom that brings joy to the parent.
17–18, saying 14, Warning that sinners should not be envied because their future is doom.
19–21, saying 15, Warning of a lack of self-control, over eating and heavy drinking.
22–25, saying 16, The greatest gift a parent can receive is child whose life illustrates wisdom.
26–28, saying 17, Parents must provide an example because sin (especially sexual sin) can ensnare.
29–35, saying 18, Warnings about too much alcohol.
Life is full of danger, and we must step with care. We can all learn from our own mistakes, but are we wise, humble, and aware enough to learn from the mistakes of another? Proverbs 23 sounds a lot like a person who has made plenty of mistakes and learned from them. We have the chances as we meditate on these wise sayings and learn from an example—an example of perfect wisdom from the Lord—and navigate the pitfalls of life.
What sticks out to you from these wise sayings? Do you need to hear that the relentless pursuit of wealth is a vanishing trap? Do you need the reminder of the fact that it is foolish to envy sinners, that the consequences of their sin will ultimately catch up with them? Let us know in the comments.
For myself, my wife and I not only entered the stage of “terrible two’s” with our first daughter, but we also just welcomed our second child into the world. Newborns represent a unique challenge, but we’ve been through this before and, aside from the normal tiredness, things are going pretty well. What I needed more than anything was sayings 12 & 16—as we attempt parenting a two-year old, we must ask ourselves if our efforts, our discipline strategy, reflect the Lord and point our toddler toward righteousness.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate