Proverbs 23:6-8

As He Thinketh… So Is He


1. This is the 8th of 30 wise sayings in this section.

2. Verses 1 and 2 in this chapter have been about eating, at least indirectly.

a. Vs. 1 – When you eat with a ruler of the people, consider who is before you. Don’t make a fool of yourself gorging yourself with the dainties.

b. Vs. 2 – Exhibit self restraint. And beware of the motives of the host. He may be just buttering you up to GET something from you. Beware.

3. Verses 6-8 also give a warning concerning eating—only in a different setting.

The Command: Do not eat! (vs.6)

1. The command is twofold:

a. Don’t eat his dainties!

b. Don’t desire his dainties!

2. Dainties

a. Tasty or savory food; delectable food; gourmet food; expensive food; a delicacy.

b. Food that is very pleasant to the taste.

c. Gen. 27:4 – Isaac used this word when he asked Esau to go make him some food. (“And make me savoury meat, such as I love…”)

3. The setting

a. In verses 1-2, the author warned about gorging oneself with food in the presence of a ruler of the people.

b. Here the setting is different. It may be a ruler, but in particular, he mentioned a man with an “evil eye.”

c. The question is, what does “evil eye” mean in this context?

4. Evil eye…

a. This term for evil eye occurs only twice in the Old Testament: here and in Prov. 22:9.

b. Prov. 28:22 – Here the evil speaks of a greedy man… a man who covets material things.
• He is in a hurry to get rich and to accumulate “things.”
• When you are in a haste to accumulate wealth, you often cut corners and do whatever it takes to get rich.
• This kind of man is often dishonest.

c. The evil eye is contrasted in Proverbs with its opposite: the good eye.
• Prov. 22:9 – the “good eye.”
» Bountiful is a very general term for GOOD.
→ It has MANY shades of meaning which are to be determined by the context.

» In that sense it is very much like our word “good.”
→ A good pie could mean tasty or healthy.
→ A good man could mean kind or honest.
→ A good grade could mean superior grade—A+
→ A good job could mean a well paying job; a job well done; a desirable job; etc.
→ A good day could mean your candidate won the election; no rain; pleasant day; things are going well.
→ The context really has to determine the exact meaning.

» In Prov. 22:9, good clearly means “generous” or “bountiful” because the next phrase explains what he means: he gives of his bread to the poor.
» The man with a “good eye” is the man who is generous, considerate of others, and DELIGHTS in sharing what he has.
• The opposite of a good eye is an “evil eye.”
» This man is not generous and considerate of others.
» This man loves his material goods. He doesn’t like to share with others. He would rather hoard it all and keep it for himself.

d. For this reason, many translations have translated “evil eye” as stingy.

• ESV: Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy
• Holman: Don’t eat a stingy person’s bread
• NET: Do not eat the food of a stingy person
• NASB: Do not eat the bread of a selfish man
• NIV: Do not eat the food of a stingy man
• NKJV: Do not eat the bread of a miser
• In each case, the translators did seem to capture the meaning of the author. However, their translation went beyond translation and interpreted it for you.
• Out of 18 translations I consulted, the only texts that translated rather than interpreted were the KJV, Young’s, and Darby’s.
• The text SAYS, “evil eye.” I prefer to interpret the text myself.
• Handling the text this way might not seem so bad if you agree with their interpretation, but what if you don’t? You would have no way of knowing from the translation whether you agreed or not. It was predetermined by the translators.

The Reason: His heart is not with you! (vs. 7)

1. What he SAYS:

a. “Eat and drink!” “Take as much as you like!”

b. He puts on a front as if he was a generous man and as if he truly delighted in sharing his dainties with others.

2. What he IS:

a. He is a man with an evil eye.

b. That means (in this setting) that he is covetous. He loves his material goods. He is selfish and stingy.

c. He doesn’t really like to share… he would much prefer to keep all his dainty foods (delicacies) to himself.

d. But he is not only selfish and stingy, he is also DISHONEST.

e. He is dishonest because what he says on the outside and what he thinks on the inside are two different things. That is hypocrisy.

f. Of course a man with an evil eye doesn’t want anyone to KNOW that he has an evil eye. He doesn’t want anyone to KNOW that he is stingy and cheap.

g. Thus, he puts on a big front – pretending to be generous and have a good or a bountiful eye, when in reality he does not.

h. This man is a stingy, self centered, dishonest hypocrite.

3. “His heart is not with you.”

a. He SAYS, “eat up… enjoy yourself. Take as much as you like.”

b. But he doesn’t mean it. His heart is not in what he says.

c. His mouth tells you to eat up and enjoy yourself at his expense.

d. But inwardly, his heart is saying something very different.
• His heart is saying something like, “Look at how much he took! Doesn’t he know how much that costs? There will be nothing left when these people are done. Why did I put out such good food for these animals… these ingrates?”

e. He says pleasant things to his guests, but inwardly he begrudges their being there… and eating up his expensive food.

f. Perhaps there were some folks who came to his feast that he hoped would not come… but they did.

g. He may not mind spending lavishly on his close friends (his inner clique) but didn’t expect others outside that inner circle to come.

h. He is forced to be nice… but he doesn’t mean it.

4. “As he thinketh in his heart… so IS he.”

a. “Thinketh” = to calculate; to estimate; reasons; thinks.

b. In other words, this man is NOT as he says. What he says is good and generous… but that is not an accurate assessment of what kind of a person he is.

c. A more accurate assessment of the kind of person we are dealing with here comes from what is NOT said… what he is thinking in his heart or soul… on the inside.

d. We as mere mortals, are unable to know what goes on in a man’s heart—so God tells us here.

e. God through Solomon warns us that this kind of person EXISTS, so be warned: some people are not as they appear… or as they sound…

f. And this is the GREATER principle to be gleaned from this passage.
• This principle applies to much more than stingy men at feasts.
• In all walks of life there are men (women and children too) who say one thing, but inwardly THINK something very different.
• People (all of us) have the tendency to put on a good front because we don’t want to “look bad” before others.
• Nobody WANTS others to think that we have an “evil eye” – that we are selfish and stingy.
• As Christians, nobody wants others to think that we are carnal and worldly. We like to put up a good front in hopes that others will think that we are spiritual.
• Maintaining that good “front” (good eye) often requires dishonesty… saying things we don’t mean… or pretending to BE something that we aren’t…
• That good front is usually a phony façade.
• That is pure hypocrisy—and it afflicts us all—if we’re honest.

g. Men judge by what a person does and what he says.
• But that is often just a front to LOOK good.
• God judges us by a deeper measuring stick… by what we THINK.
• God knows our hearts. He knows WHY we do what we do and WHY we say the things that we say.
• We may fool men, but never the Lord!

The Reaction: Vomit it up! (vs. 8)

1. Once the guest realizes what the host is thinking, it makes him sick.

2. He feels like vomiting.

a. He is insulted… humiliated.

b. To think that he has been watching how much I eat. How repulsive!

c. To realize that he didn’t really want you there… that you were not part of his inner circle—even though he pretends that you are.

d. To realize that he thinks that you are a sponge… or a parasite, it is hurtful.

e. The utter hypocrisy of it all makes you sick. The wonderful words “eat as much as you like” were phony… and he was thinking evil of you.

f. This is nauseating to the guest once he discovers what the host was thinking.

3. You lose the sweet words…

a. The conversation and fellowship is over.

b. The joy of the feast is over. The whole atmosphere changed—for the worse.

c. The sweet morsels are no longer sweet. They make you sick.

d. The conversation is no longer sweet either. It too makes you sick.

4. This proverb serves as a warning:

a. Be aware of the fact that people are not always as they appear.

b. It is part of human nature to project a phony image – what we WANT others to think of us… even though it may not be true.

c. Some men say nice things… and invite you to enjoy a feast with them—but it does not necessarily mean that their heart is with you.

d. In some cases, they are as phony as a three dollar bill.

e. So be careful… be discerning… These are words of wisdom.

f. Certainly, God does not want US to be like the man described here!