“Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. 'Eat and drink!' he says to you, but his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words.” Proverbs 23:6-8
After getting back home from a long week-end away with her daddy, my daughter said to me, “I am tired of all the store bought food I have been eating.” I think with those words still resting in my mind, as I came upon the verses from Proverbs above they caught my eye. But in reading through them multiple times in a few different bible translations, I still didn't quite understand what these verses were all about. Next I went to the study notes and cross-reference tools in my bible, but again I felt I was coming up short on the truth held in this text.
So, out came my Hebrew word study of the Old Testament and my word hunting began. Below are all the words I looked up and their meanings. Also at the end you will find I have put them back together to reflect an expanded version of the text from Proverbs 23:6-8. As the whole thing came together with these extended meanings, I received a much better understanding of this text. I hope you are able to see as I did how it is applicable theses words are to the life of a believer.
Here are the words:
bread (3899) - “lechem”, meaning food in general
miser (7451,5869) - “ra'”, meaning evil plus “'ayin”, meaning eye
desire (183) – “'âvâh”, meaning to wish for or covet
delicacies (4303) - “mat'am”, meaning a dainty or savory meat
thinks (8176) – “shâ'ar”, meaning open. But, this word written in its perfect tense as a whole or complete action, eludes to a person as a sort of gate keeper to his/her mind and when thinking taking in this manner all that is said is open to being perceived as truth
heart (5315) - “nephesh”, meaning mental or bodily sense
heart (3820) - “lêb”, meaning the feelings, will, and even intellect of an individual
with you (5973) -“'im”, meaning equally with
morsel (6595) - “path”, meaning meat
eaten (398) – “'âkal”, meaning to devour. But this word is written in its perfect tense and therefore it would infer to a gluttonous behavior while eating
waste (7843) - “shâchath”, meaning to corrupt or let spoil
pleasant (5273) - “nâ'îym”, meaning delightfully sweet
words (1697) - “dâbâr”, meaning a spoken answer or word given to someone
“Do not eat the food of a person who has his eye set on evil; nor covet his expensive cuts of meat; for in the manner a person allows complete abandon in opening their mind, led by their stomach or any other indulgent desire, to accepting all things as truth, what he takes in is what he will become.
'Eat and drink', he says to you, but everything about him is not for you it is only looking out for his interests. The meat you have devoured in a gluttonous manner, you will throw back up, and those answers of truth which used to dwell in your heart and your mind will no longer be there for you to pull from because where they once dwelled is now a space filled with corrupt and spoiled things.” Proverbs 23:6-8
What this proverb really gets to the point at is the fact that when we open ourselves up to others who do not live in truth and are enticed by the lives they lead over taking notice of the false truths they live by, we open ourselves up to corrupting the real truth which we have within our hearts and minds. And in the end, this decay in the end leads to the corruption of our souls.
Maybe you do not have the opportunity to mingle with the rich and famous and this whole teaching seems far off to you. But what about the television personalities or authors you may take wisdom from and whom you admire for what they have accomplished in this life? These individuals are also ones who have lives our society likes to model itself after no matter how far away they are from speaking and living in godly truth. These are the type of people we all must be warned not to falling prey to and wishing we had what they are able to indulge in.
This proverb is a warning to all of us that we need to be careful not to corrupt our souls in seeking something better from those who seem to have it better here on earth. Most times their “better” is just a cloak of deception meant to take us off the course of seeking truth in God alone. A good reminder to us all is that this world is not the place where we will find the things which will satisfy the cravings we have inside us. God alone gives us the peace to live without the things of this world so in Him alone we can be satisfied and at the same time not sell our souls short for the delicacies of this world and lose His truth within us in the process.