Proverbs 23:32

ESV In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.
NIV In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
NASB In the end it bites like a snake And stings like a viper.
CSB In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper.
NLT For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper.
KJV At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

What does Proverbs 23:32 mean?

Sin often comes with immediate, short-term pleasures, followed by drastically larger consequences. Drunkenness is among the worst in this regard (Proverbs 23:29–30). Countless lives have been altered by accidents, violence, careless words, and poor decisions fueled by alcohol. Here, Scripture compares the initial pleasures of drinking (Proverbs 23:31) to the end results it can bring (Proverbs 16:25). The imagery here is that of a snakebite: a sudden, unexpected moment that quickly leads to death and ruin.

Serpents and adders, in this context, are deadly snakes (Acts 28:1–6). Just as no one wants to risk being bitten by a venomous snake, no one should treat alcohol with a careless attitude. Scripture does not prohibit all consumption of alcohol (Psalm 104:14–15; Proverbs 3:10; John 2:3–10). Yet it condemns drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18) and offers several warnings to that effect (Proverbs 20:1; Genesis 19:30–38). Most modern cultures offer easier access, and more powerful drinks, than were available in the ancient world; these warnings are arguably more applicable now than they were then.
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