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Proverbs - On Food, Drink, and Eating Prov 9:1-6, 13-18; 23:19-21, 29-35 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Tsang   
Monday, 22 January 2018 15:44


From Genesis to Revelation, we see that the theme of food, drink, and eating runs through all of Scripture. From the very act that brought sin into humanity, to the rich meaning of the Passover meal, to the criticism of Jesus by the Pharisees, to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and to the controversies in the early church, food, drink, and eating has deep spiritual significance.


Proverbs offer us some wisdom in this very practical area of our lives:


1. The company with whom you eat with.

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet

Than a house full of feasting, with strife (Prov 17:1)

This Proverb is found in a collection that speaks to the family; the word ‘house’ also implies the family unit. Today, there are many things that compete with a family in the simple ritual of eating together. Individualism has found its way to the dinner table. Wisdom tells us that it is important to guard one’s family meal times. Secondly, we can extend this kind of table friendship to others in the spirit of hospitality. The Latin word companion is made of com (with) + panis (bread). A companion is someone with whom you share bread with.


2. Folly of Eating or Drinking Excessively. Wisdom of Moderation.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler.

Whoever is led astray by it is not wise (Prov 20:1)

If you find honey, eat just enough –

Too much of it and you will vomit. (Prov 25:16)

We are cautioned against the excessive enjoyment of anything good, be it wine or food. Wine (alcohol) deserves its special focus because of the very nature of it to impair one’s judgment. We need to exercise moderation and self-control especially in this area to avoid folly.

3. Food, Drinking, and Eating as signpost to spiritual things.

Lady Wisdom

5  “Come, eat my food

and drink the wine I have mixed.

6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;

walk in the way of insight.”  (Prov 9:5-6)

Lady Folly

17 “Stolen water is sweet;

food eaten in secret is delicious!”

18 But little do they know that the dead are there,

that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead. (Prov 9:17-18)

Prov 9 concludes with 2 meals; one by Lady Wisdom and one by Lady Folly. One leads to a good moral life, the other leads to death. Hunger and thirst is used for our longing for God. Jesus offers living water that those who drink will never thirst. In a kind of beautiful poetic circle, the act through which brought sin, can now be reversed if we come to the Lord’s Table for the Holy Meal, where Christ offers himself as the bread and wine that we can eat to receive eternal and abundant life.


May we be mindful of the wisdom and spiritual realities of food, drink, and eating.


Peace and grace, John

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 February 2018 14:59