Proverbs 25:17

ESV Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.
NIV Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house-- too much of you, and they will hate you.
NASB Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor’s house, Or he will become weary of you and hate you.
CSB Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house; otherwise, he'll get sick of you and hate you.
NLT Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.
KJV Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

What does Proverbs 25:17 mean?

The prior lesson noted the importance of moderation (Proverbs 25:16). Even a good thing becomes bad—even nauseating—when one has too much of it. Here, Solomon (Proverbs 25:1) applies this same idea to taking undue advantage of another person's hospitality. A common English expression for this is "wearing out one's welcome;" this is when someone exploits a host's good will and becomes a nuisance. Company is good, but even good company becomes an irritation when it's overdone.

Solomon's culture placed immense importance on hospitality. Hosts were expected to be gracious, generous, and helpful to visitors. As this proverb notes, that does not mean a host will always enjoy those obligations. Even when the visitor is as sweet as honey, a neighbor can soon become "sick" of having them around. Solomon wisely advises a guest to visit only occasionally to avoid angering his neighbor.

Scripture condones neighborliness and hospitality. Under many circumstances, visiting neighbors and others is commendable. James writes, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (James 1:27). Yet the Bible also notes that spending too much time in a neighbor's house is not good for either guest or host. Paul warned Timothy about those who spent undue time flitting from one neighbor's house to another: "They learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not" (1 Timothy 5:13). Instead of haunting a neighbor's house, one should use proper discernment and know when to allow the neighbor to enjoy personal space.
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