New English Translation
20 Do not spend time[a] among drunkards,[b]
among those who eat too much[c] meat,
21 because drunkards and gluttons become impoverished,
and drowsiness[d] clothes them with rags.[e]
22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
- Proverbs 23:20 tn Heb “do not be among,” but in the sense of “associate with” (TEV); “join” (NIV); “consort…with” (NAB).
- Proverbs 23:20 tn The verb סָבָא (savaʾ) means “to imbibe; to drink largely.” The participial construction here, סֹבְאֵי־יַיִן (soveʾe yayin), describes “drunkards” (cf. NLT) which is somewhat stronger than saying it refers to “people who drink too much” (cf. NIV, TEV).
- Proverbs 23:20 tn The verb זָלַל (zalal) means “to be light; to be worthless; to make light of.” Making light of something came to mean “to be lavish with; to squander,” especially with regard to food. So it describes “gluttons” primarily, but in the expression there is also room for the person who wastes a lot of food as well.
- Proverbs 23:21 tn Here “drowsiness” is a metonymy of effect or adjunct, put for the drunkenness and gluttony that causes it. So all of it, the drunkenness and the drowsiness that comes from it, brings on the ruin (cf. CEV “you will end up poor”). Likewise, “rags” is a metonymy of adjunct, associated with the poverty brought on by a dissolute lifestyle.
- Proverbs 23:21 sn This is the fourteenth saying, warning about poor associations. Drunkenness and gluttony represent the epitome of the lack of discipline. In the Mishnah they are used to measure a stubborn and rebellious son (m. Sanhedrin 8). W. G. Plaut notes that excessive drinking and eating are usually symptoms of deeper problems; we usually focus more on the drinking because it is dangerous to others (Proverbs, 241-42).