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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary

Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 23

Mishlei - Proverbs - Chapter 23

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Chapter 23

1If you sit down to dine with a ruler, you should understand well who is in front of you,   אכִּֽי־תֵ֖שֵׁב לִלְח֣וֹם אֶת־מוֹשֵׁ֑ל בִּ֥ין תָּ֜בִ֗ין אֶת־אֲשֶׁ֥ר לְפָנֶֽיךָ:
If you sit down to dine: Heb. ללחום, to eat.  
you should understand well: Give thought to know who he is, whether he is stingy or generous.  
2and you shall put a knife into your jaw if you are a man with a hearty appetite.   בוְשַׂמְתָּ֣ שַׂכִּ֣ין בְּלֹעֶ֑ךָ אִם־בַּ֖עַל נֶ֣פֶשׁ אָֽתָּה:
and you shall put a knife into your jaw: Heb. בלועך, into your jaw. If you see that he is stingy, do not eat of his [food].  
if you are a man with a hearty appetite: If you are a glutton and long to eat, it is better that you thrust a knife between your teeth. Our Sages expounded this as referring to a disciple sitting before his teacher. If he knows that his teacher will give him an answer for everything he asks, let him investigate the subtle points and ask concerning his tradition, but if not, let him keep his peace.  
3Do not desire his delicacies, for it is bread of lies.   גאַל־תִּ֖תְאָו לְמַטְעַמּוֹתָ֑יו וְ֜ה֗וּא לֶ֣חֶם כְּזָבִֽים:
Do not desire his delicacies: but leave him and go [to study] before a competent teacher, and do not embarrass him with questions, since he does not know what to answer.  
4Do not weary yourself to grow rich; cease from your own understanding.   דאַל־תִּיגַ֥ע לְֽהַעֲשִׁ֑יר מִֽבִּינָתְךָ֥ חֲדָֽל:
Do not weary yourself to grow rich: To make your learning into bundles because you will ultimately forget it.  
5Should you blink your eyes at it, it is not here; for it will make wings for itself, like the eagle, and it will fly toward the heavens.   ההֲתָ֤עִוף הֲתָ֤עִיף עֵינֶ֥יךָ בּ֗וֹ וְֽאֵ֫ינֶ֥נּוּ כִּ֤י עָשֹ֣ה יַעֲשֶׂה־לּ֣וֹ כְנָפַ֑יִם כְּ֜נֶ֗שֶׁר וָע֥יּף יָע֥וּף הַשָּׁמָֽיִם:
Should you blink your eyes at it: The moment you blink your eyes to close them, that study will no longer be found with you. התעיף, like “and you shall fold” (Ex. 26: 9), which Onkelos renders: ותעיף.  
6Do not dine upon the bread of a stingy person and do not desire his delicacies;   ואַל־תִּלְחַ֗ם אֶת־לֶ֖חֶם רַ֣ע עָ֑יִן וְאַל־תִּ֜תְאָ֗ו תִּתְאָ֗יו לְמַטְעַמֹּתָֽיו:
7for it is as though it poured gall into his friend, so is he. He will tell you to eat and drink, but his heart is not with you.   זכִּ֤י כְּמוֹ־שָׁעַ֥ר בְּנַפְשׁ֗וֹ כֶּ֫ן־ה֥וּא אֱכֹ֣ל וּ֖שְׁתֵה יֹ֣אמַר לָ֑ךְ וְ֜לִבּ֗וֹ בַּל־עִמָּֽךְ:
for it is as though it poured gall: שער. This שער is vowelized half with a “patach” and half with a “kamatz,” and the accent is at the end of the word; therefore, it is a verb and not a noun; for were it a noun, it would be [vowelized completely with] a “pattah” and the accent would be at the beginning of the word, like every שער in Scriptures. Its meaning is that it as though this food poured gall into the soul of this stingy man, so it is.  
gall: Heb. שער, from the expression of (Jer. 29: 17): “the loathsome (השערים) figs,” the bitter ones.  
8You will vomit out your morsel that you ate, and you will lose your sweet words.   חפִּֽתְּךָ־אָכַ֥לְתָּ תְקִיאֶ֑נָּה וְ֜שִׁחַ֗תָּ דְּבָרֶ֥יךָ הַנְּעִימִֽים:
your morsel: that you ate in his house, you will ultimately vomit because of embarrassment.  
and you will lose your sweet words: The gratitude that you extended and spoke to him tender words-you lost everything.  
9Do not speak into the ears of a fool, for he will despise the sense of your words.   טבְּאָזְנֵ֣י כְ֖סִיל אַל־תְּדַבֵּ֑ר כִּֽי־יָ֜ב֗וּז לְשֵֹ֣כֶל מִלֶּֽיךָ:
10Do not remove an ancient boundary, and do not enter the fields of the orphans-   יאַל־תַּ֖סֵּג גְּב֣וּל עוֹלָ֑ם וּבִשְׂדֵ֥י יְ֜תוֹמִ֗ים אַל־תָּבֹֽא:
and… the fields of the orphans: The gleanings, the forgotten sheaves, and the corner that is due them.  
11for their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause with you.   יאכִּֽי־גֹאֲלָ֥ם חָזָ֑ק הֽוּא־יָרִ֖יב אֶת־רִיבָ֣ם אִתָּֽךְ:
12Bring your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.   יבהָבִ֣יאָה לַמּוּסָ֣ר לִבֶּ֑ךָ וְ֜אָזְנֶ֗ךָ לְאִמְרֵי־דָֽעַת:
13Do not withhold discipline from a child; when you strike him with a rod, he will not die.   יגאַל־תִּמְנַ֣ע מִנַּ֣עַר מוּסָ֑ר כִּֽי־תַכֶּ֥נּוּ בַ֜שֵּׁ֗בֶט לֹ֣א יָמֽוּת:
14You shall strike him with a rod, and you will save his soul from the grave.   ידאַתָּה בַּשֵּׁ֣בֶט תַּכֶּ֑נּוּ וְ֜נַפְשׁ֗וֹ מִשְּׁא֥וֹל תַּצִּֽיל:
15My son, if your heart has grown wise, my heart too will rejoice.   טובְּנִי אִם־חָכַ֣ם לִבֶּ֑ךָ יִשְׂמַ֖ח לִבִּ֣י גַם־אָֽנִי:
16And my reins shall rejoice when your lips speak right things.   טזוְתַעְלֹ֥זְנָה כִלְיוֹתָ֑י בְּדַבֵּ֥ר שְׂ֜פָתֶ֗יךָ מֵישָׁרִֽים:
when your lips speak right things: since your heart has grown wise.  
17Let your heart not envy the sinners, but fear of the Lord all day-   יזאַל־יְקַנֵּ֣א לִ֖בְּךָ בַּֽחַטָּאִ֑ים כִּ֥י אִם־בְּיִרְאַת־יְ֜הוָ֗ה כָּל־הַיּֽוֹם:
Let your heart not envy the sinners: their success, to be wicked like them.  
18for because of this, there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.   יחכִּי אִם־יֵ֣שׁ אַחֲרִ֑ית וְ֜תִקְוָתְךָ֗ לֹ֣א תִכָּרֵֽת:
for because of this, there is a future: Heb. כי אם. This [word] אם is used as an expression of “that”; i.e., for because of this there is a future and hope for you.  
19Hear you, my son, and grow wise, and walk in the way of your heart.   יטשְׁמַע־אַתָּ֣ה בְנִ֣י וַחֲכָ֑ם וְאַשֵּׁ֖ר בַּדֶּ֣רֶךְ לִבֶּֽךָ:
Hear you, my son, and grow wise, and walk in the way of your heart: Since you will grow wise, you will be able to walk in the ways of your heart, for the heart of a wise man will not entice you to sin.  
20Do not be among wine-guzzlers, among gluttonous eaters of meat for themselves,   כאַל־תְּהִ֥י בְסֹֽבְאֵי־יָ֑יִן בְּזֹלֲלֵ֖י בָשָֹ֣ר לָֽמוֹ:
21for the guzzler and the glutton will become impoverished, and slumber will clothe [you] with tatters.   כאכִּי־סֹבֵ֣א וְ֖זוֹלֵל יִוָּרֵ֑שׁ וּ֜קְרָעִ֗ים תַּלְבִּ֥ישׁ נוּמָֽה:
for the guzzler and the glutton will become impoverished: Heb. יורש, will become impoverished.  
and slumber will clothe [you] with tatters: Laziness and slumber will clothe you with tattered clothing.  
22Hearken to your father; this one begot you, and do not despise your mother when she has grown old.   כבשְׁמַ֣ע לְ֖אָבִיךָ זֶ֣ה יְלָדֶ֑ךָ וְאַל־תָּ֜ב֗וּז כִּֽי־זָקְנָ֥ה אִמֶּֽךָ:
23Buy truth and do not sell; [also] wisdom, discipline, and understanding.   כגאֱמֶ֣ת קְ֖נֵה וְאַל־תִּמְכֹּ֑ר חָכְמָ֖ה וּמוּסָ֣ר וּבִינָֽה:
Buy truth: If you do not find to learn for nothing, learn for pay [pay to learn], but do not say, “Just as I learned for pay, so will I teach it for pay.”  
24The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly, and he who begets a wise son will have joy with him.   כדגִּ֣ול גִּ֣יל יָ֖גִול יָ֖גִיל אֲבִ֣י צַדִּ֑יק יוֹלֵ֥ד וְיוֹלֵ֥ד חָ֜כָ֗ם ויִשְׂמַח־יִשְׂמַח־בּֽוֹ:
25May your father and mother rejoice, and may she who bore you have joy.   כהיִֽשְׂמַח־אָבִ֥יךָ וְאִמֶּ֑ךָ וְ֜תָגֵ֗ל יֽוֹלַדְתֶּֽךָ:
26My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes keep my ways.   כותְּנָֽה־בְנִ֣י לִבְּךָ֣ לִ֑י וְ֜עֵינֶ֗יךָ דְּרָכַ֥י תִּרֹֽצְנָה תִּצֹּֽרְנָה:
27For a harlot is like a deep ditch and a foreign woman like a narrow well.   כזכִּֽי־שׁוּחָ֣ה עֲמֻקָּ֣ה זוֹנָ֑ה וּבְאֵ֥ר צָ֜רָ֗ה נָכְרִיָּֽה:
a narrow well: (etroitte in French, in German, eng, schmal.)  
28She, too, will suddenly lurk, and she will increase the faithless among men.   כחאַף־הִ֖יא כְּחֶ֣תֶף תֶּֽאֱרֹ֑ב וּ֜בוֹגְדִ֗ים בְּאָדָ֥ם תּוֹסִֽף:
suddenly: Heb. כחתף, suddenly.  
and she will increase the faithless among men: She increases in Israel those who are faithless to God. He is referring to apostasy.  
29Who cries, "Woe!" Who, "Alas!" He who has quarrels. He who talks too much. Who has wounds without cause? Who has bloodshot eyes?   כטלְמִ֨י א֥וֹי לְמִ֪י אֲב֡וֹי לְמִ֤י מִדְוָנִ֨ים מִדְיָנִ֨ים לְמִ֥י שִֹ֗יחַ לְ֖מִי פְּצָעִ֣ים חִנָּ֑ם לְ֜מִ֗י חַכְלִל֥וּת עֵינָֽיִם:
Who cries, “Woe!” Who, “Alas!”: An expression of crying and yelling.  
He who has quarrels. He who talks too much: To him who has quarrels with the people and talks too much, woe and alas, for transgression does not stop with much speech.  
Who has bloodshot eyes?: From drinking much wine, the eyes become red, and that is embarrassing.  
30Those who sit late over wine, those who come to search for mixed wine.   ללַֽמְאַחֲרִ֥ים עַל־הַיָּ֑יִן לַ֜בָּאִ֗ים לַחְקֹ֥ר מִמְסָֽךְ:
for mixed wine: [as translated,] for mixed wine; this word is a noun, like ממכר, merchandise.  
to search for mixed wine: Who search and hunt where good wine is sold.  
31Do not look at wine when it is red; when he puts his eye on the cup, it goes smoothly.   לאאַל־תֵּ֥רֶא יַיִן֘ כִּ֪י יִתְאַ֫דָּ֥ם כִּֽי־יִתֵּ֣ן בַּכֹּ֣יס בַּכּ֣וֹס עֵינ֑וֹ יִ֜תְהַלֵּ֗ךְ בְּמֵישָׁרִֽים:
Do not look at wine when it is red: Do not put your eye on it.  
when he puts his eye on the cup, it goes smoothly: Whoever is habitually drunk-all transgressions appear to him to be straight; all ways appear straight.  
on the cup: Heb. בכוס. The masoretic text reads: בכיס, on the pocket; i.e., the drinker puts his eye on the cup, and the storekeeper puts his eye on this one’s pocket.  
32Ultimately, it will bite like a serpent, and sting like a viper.   לבאַחֲרִיתוֹ כְּנָחָ֣שׁ יִשָּׁ֑ךְ וּֽכְצִפְעֹנִ֥י יַפְרִֽשׁ:
and sting: Heb. יפרש, an expression of stinging (pointe in French, in German stechend). (Jud. 3:31): “With an ox-goad” is translated into Aramaic as בפרש תורי, and in the Gemara (Baba Mezia 80a): “The one who holds the colter (פרשא),” aiguillon in Old French, in German stachel, Gewohneisen, and so in Jud. 3:31, II Sam. 8:1, and Jer. 31:18. Others interpret the word to mean that it separates him from life.  
33Your eyes will see strange women, and your heart will speak confusedly.   לגעֵינֶיךָ יִרְא֣וּ זָר֑וֹת וְ֜לִבְּךָ֗ יְדַבֵּ֥ר תַּהְפֻּכֽוֹת:
Your eyes will see strange women: When you will become drunk, they will burn in you and entice you to ogle harlots.  
34And you shall be like one lying in the midst of the sea and like one lying at the top of a mast.   לדוְהָיִיתָ כְּשֹׁכֵ֣ב בְּלֶב־יָ֑ם וּ֜כְשֹׁכֵ֗ב בְּרֹ֣אשׁ חִבֵּֽל:
And you shall be: mad like one lying in the midst of the sea.  
and like one lying at the top of a mast: The mast of a ship sways to fall from it.  
35"They struck me but I did not become ill; they beat me but I did not know it. When will I awaken? I will continue; I will seek it again."   לההִכּ֥וּנִי בַל־חָלִיתִי֘ הֲלָמ֗וּנִי בַּל־יָ֫דָ֥עְתִּי מָתַ֥י אָקִ֑יץ א֜וֹסִ֗יף אֲבַקְשֶׁ֥נּוּ עֽוֹד:
“They struck me but I did not become ill, etc.”: When he sobers himself up from his wine, he does not feel any of the evils that passed over him, and he drinks again.  
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