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Proverbs 23:6-8

Context

23:6 Do not eat the food of a stingy person, 1 

do not crave his delicacies;

23:7 for he is 2  like someone calculating the cost 3  in his mind. 4 

“Eat and drink,” he says to you,

but his heart is not with you;

23:8 you will vomit up 5  the little bit you have eaten,

and will have wasted your pleasant words. 6 

1 tn Heb “an evil eye.” This is the opposite of the “good eye” which meant the generous man. The “evil eye” refers to a person who is out to get everything for himself (cf. NASB, NCV, CEV “selfish”). He is ill-mannered and inhospitable (e.g., Prov 28:22). He is up to no good – even though he may appear to be a host.

2 tc The line is difficult; it appears to mean that the miser is the kind of person who has calculated the cost of everything in his mind as he offers the food. The LXX has: “Eating and drinking with him is as if one should swallow a hair; do not introduce him to your company nor eat bread with him.” The Hebrew verb “to calculate” (שָׁעַר, shaar) with a change of vocalization and of sibilant would yield “hair” (שֵׂעָר, sear) – “like a hair in the throat [נֶפֶשׁ, nefesh], so is he.” This would picture an irritating experience. The Instruction of Amenemope uses “blocking the throat” in a similar saying (chapt. 11, 14:7 [ANET 423]). The suggested change is plausible and is followed by NRSV; but the rare verb “to calculate” in the MT would be easier to defend on the basis of the canons of textual criticism because it is the more difficult reading.

3 tn The phrase “the cost” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the verb; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

4 tn Heb “soul.”

5 sn Eating and drinking with a selfish miser would be irritating and disgusting. The line is hyperbolic; the whole experience turns the stomach.

6 tn Or “your compliments” (so NASB, NIV); cf. TEV “your flattery.”

sn This is the eighth saying; it claims that it would be a mistake to accept hospitality from a stingy person. He is always thinking about the cost, his heart is not in it, and any attempt at pleasant conversation will be lost.



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