“For he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. ‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”
Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 23:7
The KJV said, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Either version teaches that the man who says, “eat and drink” but is really begrudging the cost in his heart, is betraying his true feelings with his false words. He doesn’t want you to eat his food and drink his wine at his expense. He is, in actuality, resistant.
The warning here is twofold. First, know that some people do not say what they are thinking. For instance, this greedy man does not really want you to eat and drink his supplies. The second warning is that if you are invited to eat by this man, it would be best to decline because every bite is reckoned and there will be a price to pay later. The next verse says that if you eat and drink at this man’s expense, you will “vomit up the little you have eaten, and you will have wasted your compliments” (Pr 23:8).
In a normal situation of loving hospitality, one man invites another to dine. He pays and the recipient of the meal is thankful and complimentary of the meal and the person who bought it. This will bring the two men closer together, and the other will likely return the favor at some point, deepening the friendship even more.
But in this situation, there is a false motive and the provider of the meal has some greedy purpose that he is not disclosing. He wines and dines the other with hopes of wiggling his way into some deal, or with hopes of gaining influence for his own personal gain. If you experience this operator you will vomit the meal and take back your thanks.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 23:7
#1 “For he is the kind of person…”
Everyone is unique, but there are some general types we can notice without totally stereotyping or profiling. Greedy and duplicitous men and women are all of a certain type.
#2 “…who is always thinking about the cost.”
There are those who think of nothing but the bottom line. In business, this can lead to unscrupulous dealings and cutting corners on things that matter at least as much as profits (people, useful products, quality work). Doing business and making money is not a bad thing. It can be morally neutral, and even morally good. But when the bottom line matters more than anything else in business or life, then money has become an idol.
#3 “‘Eat and drink,’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you.”
He may tell you to eat and drink, and he may even want you to, but it is for a nefarious purpose. He is trying to manipulate you and even coerce you into some scheme of his to profit from you. Trading value for value in the marketplace is a good and righteous thing, but this is referring to something less than that: a cunning scheme that causes one to trade value for garbage.
Expert Overview of Proverbs
Biblical Translations of Proverbs 23:7
For he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.
For he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: “Eat and drink,” saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.