Proverbs 23:30

ESV Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.
NIV Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
NASB Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine.
CSB Those who linger over wine; those who go looking for mixed wine.
NLT It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks.
KJV They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.

What does Proverbs 23:30 mean?

Scripture does not prohibit all consumption of alcohol. However, the Bible is noticeably clear about the dangers of drunkenness. Those warnings are especially meaningful in the modern era; alcoholic drinks tend to be more potent and more easily acquired than in the ancient world. The prior verse (Proverbs 23:29) listed various maladies; this verse associates those with drinking to excess.

To "tarry" is to delay or spend excessive time on something. Too much drinking leads to drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18) and all the problems it brings. When drinking becomes a routine part, even a necessary aspect, of one's lifestyle, that should be a cause for concern (1 Corinthians 6:12). Many teachings in the book of Proverbs warn about drunkenness (Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:29–35). Other books give similar advice (Isaiah 5:22; Habakkuk 2:15; 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:3). This section of chapter 23 is the Bible's most detailed, direct caution about this subject.

Other Scriptures contain vivid examples of the consequences of drunkenness. Noah's excess drinking led to family shame and a curse (Genesis 9:20–25). Lot's daughters used alcohol to conceive children with their own father (Genesis 19:30–38). Several questionable decisions in the Bible are associated with those made "merry" with alcohol (Judges 16:25; Esther 1:10; 1 Samuel 25:35–38; 2 Samuel 13:28). Those charged with certain responsibilities were advised to nearly or completely abstain from drinking (Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:3; Proverbs 31:4).

The concept of "mixed wine" is not clearly explained in Scripture. The literal phrase found here is seen in Isaiah 65:11. References to the same idea appear in Proverbs 9:2, Proverbs 9:5, and Song of Solomon 7:2. Most likely, this means drinks mingled with other substances to change the taste, or even to make them more intoxicating.
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