Word to the Wise (Part 8) – Proverbs 23:6-8

1 Edmund and Turkish Delights

Proverbs 23:6–8 Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.

This is such an unusual saying. It’s one of the most obscure in all the Proverbs. Here’s my take. Simply stated, stingy people can afford nice stuff if they feel like spending the money. They may be cheap, penny-pinching misers, but that doesn’t mean they’re always modest or austere. They may be like the person in Proverbs 13:7 who, “pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth”, or they have wealth but won’t share. They may even relish being treated in a special way because of their perceived influence.

The big scam Solomon warns about here is eating their bread (the regular stuff) or desiring their delicacies (the expensive stuff). The point is you shouldn’t be taking anything from these people because you unwittingly become tools in the hands of a stingy man who is “inwardly calculating”.

These things become a means of snagging you into their service. Now you owe them. The guy does something nice for you, but “his heart is not with you”. They are like the White Witch of Narnia, buying Edmonds loyalty and securing his treachery with a little Turkish delight.

The trouble is, once you figure it out, it’s often too late. In the end, the delicious little bribes become a nauseating reminder of how fickle and empty the relationship is. You feel foolish. You can’t believe you fell for it. You want to vomit the morsels you’ve eaten. Pleasant words and precious time have been wasted on a person who bought your friendship with pocket change.

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