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A.  (:12) Priority of Personal Discipline and Appropriating Wisdom

Apply your heart to discipline,

And your ears to words of knowledge.

Richard Clifford: A new section (23:12–35) begins here, in which positive commands and an affectionate parental tone replace the admonitions of 22:22 – 23:11 (in which there were seven occurrences of the negative particle ’al). Allusions to Amenemope cease with this verse. The concern from now on is with issues associated with young people: finding role models (v. 17–18), restraining high sexual energy (vv. 26–27), and the dangers of alcohol (vv. 19–21 and 29–35). Though beginning a new section, this verse manages to sum up the immediately preceding verses: Avoid shabby self-promotion and self-importance; devote yourself purely to wisdom.

Paul Koptak: A renewed call to attention repeats the words “heart” and “ears” from 22:17, this time with a call to “apply” oneself to instruction and knowledge. The word for “instruction” (musar) is translated as “discipline” in 23:13, for both verbal teaching and the correction of the rod are considered instruction.

Lindsay Wilson: Readers are urged to ‘bring their heart’, that is, apply their mind to instruction (mûsār), a key word in Proverbs from the introduction (1:2, 3, 7) and constantly thereafter. It can mean ‘discipline’ (e.g. 15:10), but in parallel with words of knowledge (as also in 19:27) has the sense of being shaped and instructed by wisdom. Being shaped involves both discipline and instruction. The second half of the verse calls on them to listen carefully (apply or ‘bring’ covers both halves of the verse) to words of knowledge. While instruction is wider than verbal instruction, listening to the words of the teacher is clearly crucial.

Tremper Longman: This passage fits with others that also speak of the need to instruct young people. The fact that the rod is mentioned indicates that the sages had no illusions about young people. It is not a matter of trying to bring the best out of children. Wisdom had to be drummed into them, sometimes literally.

After an initial admonition to put oneself in a posture of learning by subjecting oneself to discipline and instruction, the text turns to the topic of young people. To withhold discipline, even physical discipline, is a matter of neglect. Coercing them to instruction is a lifesaving act. Again, the teaching is based on a paradox. If one doesn’t hit a youth, then that youth will die because he or she will not grow in wisdom but will become a fool. Hit children in the context of instruction, and they will live. The sage is not talking about a rigorous beating, but rather something equivalent to a spanking. This may be surmised from the matter-of-fact statement “They will not die” as well as this book’s general emphasis on moderation, kindness, and gentleness.

Caleb Nelson: Here we are, ten or twelve sayings into the thirty sayings of the wise, and we have a clear break. We looked last Sunday at the Ten Commandments of wealth management. Now, though, we return to an even earlier theme in Proverbs — the theme of the heart, of discipline, and the connection between a disciplined heart and a listening ear. Remember, the purpose of this whole book is to impart the discipline of wisdom. That’s the first sentence of the book, after the title in 1:1. And lest we forget that imperative, Solomon has repeated it in every chapter, sometimes multiple times, since then — either in a directly imperative command to listen, or by providing an illustration of the good things that befall the listener and the terrible things that come to the man who stops his ears. Clearly, brothers and sisters, if you’ve been paying attention to the book of Proverbs at all, then you know that discipline is important. You know that a wise life is a disciplined life. Remember, we defined discipline as “the training that makes punishment unnecessary.” It’s not just your child that needs it. YOU NEED IT!

And so, the wise tell us to apply our heart to discipline — literally, to bring our heart to discipline. What does that mean? It means bringing your heart to the place where it is ready and willing to learn the correct lesson from the circumstances of life, from the words of God, from the angry denunciation of an upset neighbor, and on and on and on. To apply your heart to discipline is to refuse to let it shy away from that discipline. It’s to refuse to let yourself off the hook, but to learn the lesson you need to learn instead. Brothers and sisters, these are the words of the wise! Only a fool would say, “My heart doesn’t need discipline.”

Charles Bridges: Observe the link between the heart and ears.  The heart that is otherwise open to sound advice may be shut against Christ and his teaching.  It may be closed up in unbelief, prejudice, indifference, and the love of pleasure.  A listless heart can, therefore, produce a careless ear.  But when the heart is graciously opened and enlightened, the ears instantly become attentive.  Awakened spiritual desire brings prayer, and prayer brings blessing.  And every work of knowledge is more precious than thousands of pieces of gold and silver (Psalm 119:72, 127).

B.  (:13-14) Purpose of Parental Discipline of Children

  1. (:13)  Inflicting Limited Physical Pain

Do not hold back discipline from the child,

Although you beat him with the rod, he will not die.

Richard Clifford: A young person will not die from instructional blows but from their absence, for (premature) death results from uncorrected folly.

Caleb Nelson: But discipline is not limited to the verbal, even though the verbal is the primary and most important arena of discipline. The rod — that is, some kind of infliction of physical pain at a level too high to be ignored but not so high as to be dangerous — is another tool of discipline that godly parents use. Different children need different doses of it. But the parent who says “We don’t discipline with the infliction of pain” has set himself up as wiser than God. Another way of saying this is that such a parent is a fool. You shall beat your child with the rod, say the sages. You shall cause him physical pain in order to teach him to fear God, which is the discipline of wisdom.

  1. (:14)  Immunizing from an Early Death and Spiritual Ruin

You shall beat him with the rod,

And deliver his soul from Sheol.

Lindsay Wilson: The goal is not for parents to let off steam, vent their anger or show their power or control. None of these is endorsed in the book. The purpose of discipline is to save their soul (nepeš, life) from an early death (Sheol, the place of the dead). This discipline is not meant to be cruel or vindictive, but rather life-giving.

George Mylne: But the fond hearts of parents will suggest several objections to this duty. They cannot bear the cries and sobs of their children; they are afraid they will die under their hands. There is no fear of this, answers the wise man, they only wish to frighten you by their complaints. They shall not die, but live. Punish them with the rod, for it is one of the means that God has appointed for delivering them from an untimely death in this world, and destruction in the eternal world.

What an idea does this give us, of the usefulness of the rod of correction! What parent who loves his child, and has any sense of the terrors of eternal punishment will spare his rod, after he has heard this saying of God? Would you not force your children to undergo an operation by the surgeon, if you saw it necessary for the preservation of their lives? Are their souls less precious than their bodies?

You think that gentle means are always the best but does not God tell you that this does not hold in every case? No doubt Eli and David wished well to their children, and their parental fondness told them that gentle admonitions and time, would correct all the disorders in their families. But they mourned at last over these children, who had been so much hurt by their indulgence.

Whether the disorders in David’s family were the occasion of Solomon’s making so many proverbs on this subject, I shall not say but after what he has said, and after what Eli and David suffered those parents who do not perform this duty, are more inexcusable than these godly men were. Your children may perhaps complain of your severity, when there is no ground for it. But this is easier to be borne, than it would be to hear them curse you, at the last day, and from the bottomless pit, for allowing them to take their course in sin.


A.  (:15-16) Wise Children Bring Joy to Their Parents

  1. (:15)  Cause and Effect Relationship between Wisdom and Joy

My son, if your heart is wise,

My own heart also will be glad;

Tremper Longman: A wise heart will lead to words of integrity, and from the words of integrity, the hearer can deduce a wise heart. Perhaps this passage is to be taken as words of inspiration to students who can make their teacher happy by pursuing wisdom and speaking with integrity.

  1. (:16)  Cause and Effect Relationship Restated

And my inmost being will rejoice,

When your lips speak what is right.

Lindsay Wilson: The willingness of the young to be shaped by wisdom leads to joy and delight in those who are training them.

Allen Ross: A wise heart is one that makes wise choices; the “right” (mêšārîm) speech refers to direct and honest speech, in which there is no discrepancy between the speech and the intentions. McKane, 387, summarizes: “[The] function of speech is then always to clarify and never to deceive”; to speak mêšārîm is to speak in contrast to deception that uses ambiguity to darken counsel.

B.  (:17-18) Wisdom Is Rooted in the Fear of the Lord which Banishes Envy

  1. (:17)  Command Regarding Present Focus

Do not let your heart envy sinners,

But live in the fear of the LORD always.

Richard Clifford: Peer groups exercise a strong influence on young people. The sage warns against becoming a member of the wicked, who, as a doomed group, will have no descendants (cf. 1:8–19). Rather, one should learn to admire those who revere Yahweh, a group that has a future. The advice not to envy or emulate the wicked was common (Ps. 37:1; Prov. 3:31; 24:1, 19). In Psalm 37 (esp. v. 1) the temptation to envy sinners is answered, as it is here, by assuring a blessed future to the righteous. The warning against envying the wicked is repeated within the section in 24:1–2, 19–20.

George Mylne: When we see the wicked flourishing in prosperity, and the people of God languishing under oppression we are sometimes tempted to doubt whether there is a divine providence, and whether the promises and threatenings of God are true or not and to grudge that there is not a present distribution of rewards and punishments, according to the works of men.

Unfit as we are for managing our own affairs, we are too much disposed to usurp God’s office of governing the world; and if he does not shower down blessings into the lap of those whom we esteem, and fire and brimstone upon the head of the wicked then we think that God cannot see things through the dark cloud, or is unfit to manage them.

But we are here directed to banish envy from our hearts, and as an antidote to this mischievous passion, to be in the fear of the Lord continually. Envy of the wicked is a great enemy to the fear of the Lord. Asaph’s feet had almost stumbled when he looked with a grudging eye at the prosperous circumstances of the wicked but by the fear of the Lord, he was preserved from falling, and was recovered from his dangerous situation. For a deep and heart-affecting impression of the infinite excellencies of the divine nature, will silence our murmurings and subdue the insurrections of our hearts. If we are deeply impressed with a sense of the righteousness and holiness of God, and of his wisdom and goodness we will believe that his ways are always right, and that there can be no unrighteousness in his administration, even when we cannot discern the reasons of it. “Clouds and darkness are round about him but righteousness and judgment are still the habitation of his throne.”

We are required to live in the fear of the Lord all the day long. Whether we are in prosperous or in adverse circumstances, and whether the wicked around us rise into affluence and power, or sink into insignificance and misery an impression of God’s perfection, and of the happiness that attends true religion, and the misery that follows sin must dwell upon our hearts, and govern our conduct.

This fear of God will banish from our minds impious reflections upon God, and dispose us to keep his way, even when wicked men are in power, and threaten to banish all religion out of the world. For still we shall believe that it will be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked, perhaps in this world but most certainly in the next.

  1. (:18)  Encouragement Regarding Future Hope

Surely there is a future,

And your hope will not be cut off.

Allen Ross: These lines advise us always to be zealous for the fear of the Lord rather than be envious of sinners. The contrast is between right and wrong envy; the one is spiritual exercise and the other a disease. The difficulty, of course, is that the sinful world seems more attractive. Thus the motivation provided is that the future belongs to the righteous. Kidner, 152, remarks that the remedy for envying sinners is to look up (“fear the LORD” in v.17) and look ahead (there is a “future hope,” v.18).

C.  (:19) Wisdom Comes from Assimilating Instruction

Listen, my son, and be wise,

And direct your heart in the way.

Tremper Longman: This passage begins with an exhortation to be wise. It is followed by another imperative admonishing the son to march in the way of his heart. What is surprising about this is that elsewhere it is assumed that the natural inclination of a person, particularly a youth, is negative. I think the best understanding of the dynamics of this verse is that it assumes that the son is on the path of wisdom through making a commitment to pursuing the right path. Once the decision to be wise is made, then the exhortation becomes one to continue in that way.

D.  (:20-21) Wisdom Comes from Avoiding Evil Companions

  1. (:20)  Prohibition – Avoid Drunkards and Gluttons

Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine,

Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;

Richard Clifford: To listen to one’s own mind (lit., “heart”) rather than to evil companions is difficult, especially for young people.

There are serious obstacles to acting out of one’s own convictions; two of these are alcohol and luxurious living. Excessive consumption of alcohol (and meat) symbolizes here a decadent style of living. In Deut. 21:18–21 the verbs “to quaff” and “to devour” describe a son who refuses to listen to his father and mother; he is judged deserving of death. There may be an allusion to that ancient law here, except that here not listening to father or teacher leads to poverty rather than death. Anyone trying to play at being rich by conspicuous consumption will end up poor.

George Mylne: We are forbidden, not only to be drunkards or gluttons but to be found in the company of such people. For bad company is the common temptation which the devil uses to draw men to these sins. By giving them our company, we are exposed to their solicitations, and many who were once sober, have been enticed by them to go to excess, and, by a repetition of the same rash conduct have been led on, step by step, to the greatest excesses, and the most confirmed habits of intemperance until they became senseless brutes, a burden to their friends, and fit only for being laid in the grave, and consigned to those regions which shall be the everlasting habitation of those who make their belly their God.

  1. (:21)  Rationale – Lack of Self Control and Overindulgence Lead to Poverty

For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,

And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

Paul Koptak: The warning combines fears of gluttony and laziness; the “drowsiness” may come from the wine or simply from love of sleep. Like the table scenes of Proverbs 23:1–11, this teaching calls for restraint when encountering food and drink that fail to nourish or satisfy, as well as independent thinking in the face of peer pressure.

Lindsay Wilson: Self-control is the missing virtue here, as the drunkard’s and glutton’s self-indulgence will only lead to further misery.

George Mylne: The drunkard or glutton may flatter himself with vain hopes that he shall escape poverty, and that tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant but reason and experience, as well as Scripture, confirm the truth in our text. For if the slothful man bring himself to poverty, the waster must do it much sooner, especially as luxury and reveling bring drowsiness and sloth in their train. For by a course of sensual indulgence, a man is indisposed to labor and prudent care; so that, while he throws away with one hand he gathers nothing with the other to supply his numerous needs. The slothful man is brother to him who is a great waster but when the great waster is likewise a slothful man, as is generally the case, poverty is coming to him with hasty steps, and with resistless force.

Tremper Longman: Elsewhere the rationale for criticizing getting drunk has to do with clouding one’s ability to think and make decisions. In other words, it disrupts one’s wisdom. The same can apply to overeating, which would lead to lethargic behavior, not the kind of diligent work so frequently encouraged in the book. However, the explicit motive given here against overdrinking and eating is that such overindulgence would lead to poverty.  [Ed: However, not just because of the excessive costs of the indulgent activities but also because of the resultant poor decision making.]


A.  (:22-25) Supreme Value of Wisdom

  1. (:22-23) Make Wisdom a Priority

a.  (:22)  Gain Wisdom from Parental Counsel

Listen to your father who begot you,

And do not despise your mother when she is old.

Allen Ross: Because of parents’ position and experience, their wise counsel should be heeded. The idea of honoring here takes on the precise nuance of listening to instructions (Toy, 436).

b.  (:23) Get Wisdom at All Costs

Buy truth, and do not sell it,

Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Tremper Longman: Verse 23 adopts a commercial metaphor to emphasize the importance of wisdom and its associated qualities of truth, discipline, and understanding. The son should buy (acquire) wisdom but not sell it. After all, as we have seen in many places in Proverbs, there is no amount of wealth that would be worth parting company with wisdom.

Allen Ross: Getting truth means acquiring training in the truth, and gaining understanding means developing the perception and practical knowledge of the truth (Toy, 436).

George Mylne: We must show the same sacred regard to wisdom, and instruction, and understanding, which are inseparably connected with the truth. For we have no true hold of the truth, however clear our apprehensions of it are, or however zealously we profess it if we are not made wise, and led in the way of duty by its influence. That wisdom and understanding which is not grounded in truth is but cunning craftiness and splendid ignorance. That instruction which is not according to truth, is poison to the soul. Truth is to be received into the mind and heart, and rule our conduct. Those only are wise unto salvation, who receive the truth in the love of it, and hold it forth in their profession, and walk in it until they reach the end of their course.

  1. (:24-25) Make Your Parents Rejoice over Your Spiritual Maturity

a.  (:24)  Joy of the Parents of the Righteous

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,

And he who begets a wise son will be glad in him.

b.  (:25)  Joy of the Parents Reemphasized

Let your father and your mother be glad,

And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.

George Mylne: Can you resist the wishes of your parents, and blast their hopes of gladness, when the joy they expect from you is no selfish pleasure but that pure and unselfish joy which arises from your own happiness? Can you bear the thoughts of embittering their old age, when it is attended with so many unavoidable pains and griefs which will be sweetened by your good behavior? Will you be the wretched instruments of bringing down the gray hair of your parents with sorrow to the grave?

B.  (:26-28) Seduction of Illicit Sex

  1. (:26) Temptations Are Governed by the Heart and Eyes

Give me your heart, my son,

And let your eyes delight in my ways.

Tremper Longman: Again, the father appeals to his son to pay attention to his teaching. He desires that his son follow his instruction and thus stay on the right path.  The path is a metaphor for the course of one’s life and derives from the idea that life is a journey, with a beginning, middle, and end. This metaphor is rather extensively used throughout Proverbs, but particularly in chaps. 1–9.

Lindsay Wilson: Keeping our eyes (focus, attention, what we look at) on wisdom and her ways is a key to the warnings that follow about the loose woman. Sexual unfaithfulness often has its origin in what we look at, and where our heart is. Two examples of loose women are given in verse 27: the prostitute and the adulteress. The adulteress is literally a ‘foreign’ or ‘strange’ woman, but it is a term that is characteristically used of an adulteress in the foundational chapters of the book (2:16; 5:20; 6:24; 7:5). The prostitute is also used in chapters 1 – 9 as a clear example of folly in practice (6:26; 7:10).

  1. (:27-28)  Temptress of Illicit Sex Exposed as Extremely Dangerous

a.  (:27)  Deep Pit and Narrow Well

For a harlot is a deep pit,

And an adulterous woman is a narrow well.

Richard Clifford: The danger of the prostitute is expressed by the metaphor of a deep pit and narrow opening, which in 22:14 and elsewhere may have a sexual connotation.

b.  (:28)  Robber and Destroyer

Surely she lurks as a robber,

And increases the faithless among men.

George Mylne: The profligate woman is not only a deep pit but a robber. For a single comparison is insufficient to show the numberless harms occasioned by her seductions. She lies in wait, not to rob men of a few pounds but to rob them of all their substance and credit, of their health and comfort, of their bodies and souls! And those who voluntarily comply with her alluring insinuations, are confederates with her and the devil, against God and themselves. She increases the transgressors among men. For she spreads her nets and entangles those unwary men, of whom better things might have been reasonably expected, if they had escaped her. And when she has them fast, she blindfolds them, and leads them on through the ways of sin and folly, until she plunges them into the gulf of eternal perdition! She is not only a servant, but an emissary of the wicked one, drawing as many as she can into his snares. Therefore if we love our own souls, we must avoid the doors of her house. Would we be preserved from this mischievous enchantress, who has been the instrument of drowning such multitudes in destruction and perdition? Let us turn our hearts to the divine instructions of this book, and call wisdom our sister, and understanding our kinswoman. Let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

C.  (:29-35) Seduction of Strong Drink

  1. (:29-30)  Brings Self-Inflicted Consequences

a.  (:29)  Rhetorical Questions Highlighting Problems

Associated with Strong Drink

Who has woe?

Who has sorrow?

Who has contentions?

Who has complaining?

Who has wounds without cause?

Who has redness of eyes?

Paul Koptak: Another warning about drunkenness (cf. 23:20–21) takes the form of a satire, using key words from the chapter (“eye”; “beat” or “punish,” 23:13–14, 35; “end,” aḥarit, 23:18, 32) to make a summary point. A series of rhetorical questions begins with general descriptions of woe and sorrow and ends with the hangover problem of eyes that are bloodshot (or bleary, cf. 23:29). If we have a riddle in 23:29, the answer is provided: The person who has these problems is the one who lingers over wine.

Tremper Longman: This proverb warns against the dangers of alcoholism by providing a frightening picture of the grip of addiction. The passage begins with a series of questions that are easily answered by reading the remainder of the text, particularly v. 30.  Alcoholics cry “woe” and “alas” because of the pain and distress the compulsion brings to their lives. Alcoholics get into conflicts and fights that produce bruises because under the influence of drink they lose all sense of propriety. They say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing at the wrong time, and this gets them into trouble. Alcohol brings a literal glaze to their eyes, but this may also speak metaphorically to an inability to properly see circumstances correctly. They do not see clearly, think clearly, and act rightly under the influence.

b.  (:30)  Relevant Answer

Those who linger long over wine,

Those who go to taste mixed wine.

Lindsay Wilson: Mixed wine is not diluted wine, for it was common to mix rich spices with the wine to bring out a richer flavour.

Allen Ross: The sage gives a vivid picture of the one who drinks too much: he raves on and on, picks quarrels and fights, poisons his system with alcohol, gets bloodshot eyes, loses control, is confused, is unable to speak clearly, imagines things, and is insensitive to pain. While alcoholism is a medical problem, it is also a moral problem because it involves choices and endangers other people.

  1. (:31-34)  Brings Deceptive Pain and Destructive Disorientation

a.  (:31-32)  Deceptive Pain

Do not look on the wine when it is red,

When it sparkles in the cup,

When it goes down smoothly;

32 At the last it bites like a serpent,

And stings like a viper.”

Lindsay Wilson: The expression it sparkles in the cup is literally ‘it gives [puts forth] its spring in the cup’, a way of describing the wine bubbling up like mineral springs.  It seems full of life and fun. It tastes rich and mellow in that it goes down smoothly, so it is tempting by both its appearance and its taste. Ironically, smoothly translates the Hebrew word mêšārîm, used in verse 16 in its normal sense of righteousness, but it is also used of wine going down smoothly in Song 7:9 (7:10 Heb.). Verse 31 indicates that drinking can often be an enjoyable – even enticing – experience at the time, but the rest of the passage then sets out the forgotten consequences of excessive drinking.

b.  (:33-34)  Destructive Disorientation

Your eyes will see strange things,

And your mind will utter perverse things.

And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast.”

Richard Clifford: The description begins with the visual and tactile sensations that the wine produces and develops the effects of the drink in images:

  • the bite of a snake,
  • the sway of the sea,
  • and the nausea of a sailor.

The author cites the foolish thinking of the drunkard. Isaiah 5:11 paints a similar picture: “Ho, you who rise early in the morning to pursue liquor, who tarry in the evening, inflamed by wine.”

Tremper Longman: But before it kills, it disorients. It blurs the vision, so the drunk sees things that are not there. How can one react with wisdom if one cannot know the reality of a situation? Also, the mouth starts speaking things that are offensive. Again, this goes counter to the wisdom enterprise. The metaphors of v. 34 well capture the sickening lack of balance of a drunk. In a sense, one even loses the ability to physically orient oneself. It softens pain in an unhelpful way. If one does not feel pain, then there is no motivation to remove oneself from the source of pain. In such circumstances, there will be plenty of pain once the “anesthetic” wears off.

Matthew Henry:

It makes men impure and insolent, v. 33.

(1.)  The eyes grow unruly and behold strange women to lust after them, and so let in adultery into the heart. Est Venus in vinis—Wine is oil to the fire of lust. Thy eyes shall behold strange things (so some read it); when men are drunk the house turns round with them, and every thing looks strange to them, so that them they cannot trust their own eyes.

(2.)  The tongue also grows unruly and talks extravagantly; by it the heart utters perverse things, things contrary to reason, religion, and common civility, which they would be ashamed to speak if they were sober. What ridiculous incoherent nonsense men will talk when they are drunk who at another time will speak admirably well and to the purpose!

It stupefies and besots men, v. 34. When men are drunk they know not where they are nor what they say and do.

(1.)  Their heads are giddy, and when they lie down to sleep they are as if they were tossed by the rolling waves of the sea, or upon the top of a mast; hence they complain that their heads swim; their sleep is commonly unquiet and not refreshing, and their dreams are tumultuous.

(2.)  Their judgments are clouded, and they have no more steadiness and consistency than he that sleeps upon the top of a mast: they drink and forget the law (ch. 31:5): they err through wine (Isa. 28:7), and think as extravagantly as they talk.

(3.)  They are heedless and fearless of danger, and senseless of the rebukes they are under either from God or man. They are in imminent danger of death, of damnation, lie as much exposed as if they slept upon the top of a mast, and yet are secure and sleep on.

Lindsay Wilson: The inner thoughts (heart) of excessive drinkers will be expressed in perverse or twisted speech (v. 33b), presumably as they lose self-control. They will put themselves in situations of reckless danger (v. 34, lying down in the sea; sleeping on top of a mast or rigging – a hapax so its precise meaning is not certain, but it is clearly foolish). They may be physically injured or beaten up, but not aware of the damage done (v. 35a). The pain will certainly be felt after they have sobered up. The lack of direction in life is seen in that when they wake up from their drunken stupor, all they can think about is the next drink. There is no further purpose in life beyond this downward spiral.

  1. (:35) Brings a Downward Cycle of Unending Addiction

They struck me, but I did not become ill;

They beat me, but I did not know it.

When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.”

Tremper Longman: The tragedy of addiction, however, is that despite the horrible experience of being drunk, once one sobers up, there is a frantic search for the next drink.

Charles Bridges: Though we see the whole nature so depraved in taste, so steeped in pollution, we ask, is anything too hard for the Lord?  May his name be praised for a full deliverance from the enslavement to sin – to all sins and to every individual sin – and even from the chains of this giant sin.  The drunkard becomes sober, the unclean holy, the glutton temperate.  The love of Chrit overpowers the love of sin.  Pleasures are then enjoyed without a sting, for no serpent or adder can live in his presence, and the newly planted principle transforms the whole man into the original likeness to God.  See 1 John 3:9; 5:18.