What does Proverbs 23:6 mean?
ESV: Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies,
NIV: Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies;
NASB: Do not eat the bread of a selfish person; Or desire his delicacies;
CSB: Don’t eat a stingy person’s bread, and don’t desire his choice food,
NLT: Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies.
KJV: Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
NKJV: Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies;
Verse Commentary:
An earlier teaching (Proverbs 23:1–3) cautioned about taking hospitality for granted. There is danger in appearing greedy, as well as in failing to recognize when one is being bribed. Here, Solomon gives further advice about those who give with ill intent. That might mean those who give bitterly, holding a grudge, or those making an overt attempt to buy someone's favor. Verses 6 through 8 warn about this kind of host.

The Hebrew phrase ra' ā'yin can be literally translated as "an evil eye." This figure of speech only appears here and in Proverbs 28:22, as well as its mirror image in Proverbs 22:9. The wording implies someone who gives with ulterior motives or cynicism. This kind of host might be obsessed with how much his generosity costs. Or he's offering hospitality with the explicit goal of getting something in return. Many a business deal is transacted over lunch. While that's not immoral in and of itself, it's spiritually dangerous if the host treats his guest so that he can gain his business. It is hard to disappoint the host by refusing a proposal; this pressure is often part of the "game" of modern business.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul asked, "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?" (Galatians 3:1). He believed false teachers had placed them under the spell of an evil eye. They had done this by flattering the Galatians only to draw them away from the truth and captivate them with a false gospel (Galatians 1:6–7; 4:17).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 23:1–11 continues a set of wise sayings recorded by Solomon (Proverbs 22:17–21). This passage contains many wise sayings framed mainly as negative commands: beginning with the words, "Do not." These statements are longer than the succinct suggestions which make up most of the book of Proverbs. Solomon addresses matters such as cautious skepticism towards one's host, avoiding addiction to work, and integrity before both men and God.
Chapter Summary:
This portion of wise sayings (Proverbs 22:17–21) starts with the sixth of thirty mentioned in chapter 22. These include advice on presenting oneself well to a host, while not being unduly influenced by such hospitality. The passage also speaks on the right time to share wisdom, ethics, discipline, and the joys associated with godly children. Also included are warnings about relationships and those who lack self-control. The chapter ends with the Bible's most strident warning about the dangers of alcohol abuse; this is the eighteenth of the thirty promised teachings.
Chapter Context:
This chapter continues Solomon's collection of the sayings of wise men (Proverbs 22:17–21). These lessons continue through Proverbs 24:34. Here, Solomon addresses his "son," perhaps meaning a student, with warnings about money, gluttony, speaking in the company of a fool, dishonesty, withholding discipline from a child, keeping company with drunkards, and the abuse of alcohol. The description of alcohol's risks is the most extensive such caution given in Scripture.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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