Proverbs 23:33

ESV Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things.
NIV Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things.
NASB Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will say perverse things.
CSB Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things.
NLT You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things.
KJV Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.

What does Proverbs 23:33 mean?

This continues the Bible's most detailed warning about the dangers of drunkenness. Earlier verses noted troubles that come from excess drinking (Proverbs 23:29–32). They also introduced the idea that alcohol tends to be attractive, at first, only to strike like a poisonous snake, with deadly results. It is tragically common to hear about accidents, mistakes, fights, or other life-changing events happening because of the effects of alcohol.

One of the consequences mentioned here are hallucinations. Those mired in addiction, especially, can experience drastic changes in their perception thanks to alcohol. Even those who are "only" drunk experience confusion, a lack of self-control, and poor decision-making. They become numb to their surroundings (Proverbs 23:34). Those effects often combine to lead a drunk person to commit acts they would never have done while sober. Sadly, many who choose to drink attempt to blame the alcohol for their errors—though they were the ones who chose to drink in the first place. Lot's example is one of the most horrific. He was depicted as a righteous man who detested the sensual conduct of the wicked (2 Peter 2:7). Yet when his daughters conspired to get him drunk, he committed incest (Genesis 19:30–38).

The apostle Paul strongly condemns drunkenness in Romans 13:13. He writes: "Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy." In 1 Corinthians 5:11, he told believers "not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one." Paul's words emphasize how serious drunkenness is. While alcohol, itself, is not universally prohibited, Scripture commands believers not to become intoxicated (Ephesians 5:18).
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