Proverb for the Day 23:29-30 — A Biblical Expert Witness On Alcohol!

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. 

The Spiritual Recovery Program at Helping Up Mission is for men struggling with drugs and alcohol. Averaging almost 18 years of addiction, these are guys who know something about getting high!

Consequently, many are amazed at this extended poetic saying about getting drunk (:29-35). They are surprised that it’s in the Bible and can’t believe how accurately it describes something with which they are experts.

Still part of the special “sayings of the wise” section (22:17-24:22), it isn’t clear if these verses originated specifically with Solomon or he was referencing another source. What is clear is that the writer really seems to know something about alcohol consumption. As our modern proverb goes – “it takes one to know one!”

The passage starts with a series of rhetorical questions (:29), describing how it goes when we’ve had too much to drink. It mentions “woe…sorrow…strife…complaints…needless bruises…and bloodshot eyes.”

They will all be traced back to getting drunk on “wine” (:30). A similar statement was also made about beer in 20:1 – that it was a brawler.

Once we make the choice to allow something else (or, sometimes, someone else!) control our thoughts, feelings and actions, we are in trouble. But there is one exception.

The Apostle Paul told us to be wise and understand God’s will. Don’t be drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:16-18).

Just as chemicals can control us, we can also allow the Holy Spirit to control us. It’s an everyday decision and it’s our call!