Drunkenness Leads to All Kinds of Problems

This passage contains the strongest warning in proverbs against drunkenness. This is certainly a message for our generation where there are over 12 million alcoholics in our nation and millions more who are “problem drinkers.” At least 70% of these problem drinkers st … More


In Proverbs being wise in God’s view means being godly or righteous (vv. 24-25). Wise, godly living, in obedience to the parents’ discipline, not only benefits the child; it also benefits the parents.

Again the son was exhorted to follow his father’s teaching (vv. 26-28). The words give me your heart, appeal to the son’s thoughts and values so that his lifestyle will follow that of his father. The son’s eyes as well as his lips (22:18) and ears (23:12) are important. What one sees, says, and hears should be pleasing to the Lord. The urgency of the father’s appeal is related to the dangers of sexual waywardness. Two kinds of immoral women are in view, the unmarried (the prostitute) and the married (the wayward wife). Immoral women are like a deep pit (cf. 22:14) or a well in that they confine and trap men, making it impossible for them to escape the consequences. Men need to be on guard against wayward women who seek to seduce them, springing on them suddenly (cf. 7:7-10) like a bandit, adding to the number of their victims. The Bible also warns against men seducing women.

These verses present the longest and most articulate warning in Proverbs against drunkenness (vv. 29-35). Six questions call attention to emotional problems (woe and sorrow), social problems (strife and complaints), and physical problems (bruises-from beatings or bumping into things while staggering with bloodshot eyes) that stem from lingering long over wine. Wine seems attractive (Prov. 23:31); it is red, sparkling, and smooth in the senses of sight and taste. But it is as devastating and painful as a snake bite. Drunkenness also leads to mental problems (cf. 23:33): hallucinations and imagining confusing things. Also a drunkard is insensitive to pain when people hit him.


A Japanese proverb says: “First the man takes a drink; then the drink takes another drink; then the drink takes the man."  I thank the Lord for protecting me from ever taking the first drink of alcohol.

Proverbs 23:24-35 (English Standard Version)

The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind. Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. "They struck me," you will say, "but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink."

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