New English Translation
21 because drunkards and gluttons become impoverished,
and drowsiness[a] clothes them with rags.[b]
22 Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Acquire[c] truth and do not sell it—
wisdom, and discipline, and understanding.
- 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).
- Proverbs 23:23 tn Heb “buy” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NLT); CEV “Invest in truth.”sn The sixteenth saying is an instruction to buy/acquire the kind of life that pleases God and brings joy to parents. “Getting truth” would mean getting training in the truth, and getting wisdom and understanding would mean developing the perception and practical knowledge of the truth.