A ruler does not invite you so that you can taste his fine food. He invites you because he wants to discuss serious matters with you. You should not think much about his food or his wine. But you must think about your words. Your advice must be good. You need to speak wise words.
Solomon uses humour in verse 2. Normally you place your knife near your plate. But Solomon jokes that your knife should be near your neck. In your imagination, hold your knife there to warn you. Then you will remember that your life is short. You will remember not to be greedy. And you will remember to advise the ruler wisely.
Solomon continues his advice in verse 3. Be careful if an important person invites you to a special meal. He could want you to do something for him.
Nehemiah 2 explains this lesson. Nehemiah was the king's servant. The king expected Nehemiah to be happy in the royal service. But Nehemiah had received sad news. So Nehemiah prayed to God. And he spoke carefully to the king. God answered Nehemiah's prayer. And the king gave to Nehemiah the things that Nehemiah requested.
The Book of Proverbs encourages us to work hard. But some people work too hard, because they want to become wealthy. These people suffer because they use all their energy in their work. Their families suffer too. We ought to be sensible.
We can lose our money quickly. When we die, we cannot take our money with us (Luke 12:16-21; 1 Timothy 6:7). Many things matter more than money. Love is more important than money. Wisdom is more important than money. And God is more important than money or anything else.
Some people pretend to be our friends. But they do not care about us. They might say the right words. They might invite us to their homes. But they do not want to share their possessions with us. Instead, they want to keep their things for themselves. This is not a good attitude. We should not copy it.
The first Christians were very generous. They shared their possessions (Acts 4:32-37). They did this because they loved each other. We might not copy their actions today. But we should still be generous. We should still invite people to our homes. And we should be glad to share our food with our guests (Hebrews 13:2).
The writer tells us what is wrong. These people drank too much wine. Alcohol tempted them. This is terrible, he argues.
Wine may look attractive. But it causes many troubles. When a person begins to drink alcohol, that person sometimes cannot stop. This is an illness called ‘alcoholism'. If someone cannot control alcohol, that person needs help. That person should learn not to drink alcohol again. Doctors might help them. A group called ‘Alcoholics Anonymous' might help. And that person's friends should explain the problems that alcohol causes. Alcohol causes many illnesses. Alcohol can cause death.
The writer tells us about a drunk's strange experiences. If someone has an alcohol problem, that person should obtain help early. That person should not wait until they suffer these strange experiences.
The writer seems to know these experiences well. Perhaps the writer himself suffered this problem.
Drunks may see strange things. Some drunks imagine that they see snakes. A drunk might imagine that the snakes are attacking him.
Alcohol confuses a drinker. A drinker cannot think sensible thoughts. Often, he thinks that he needs to drink more alcohol. Really, he needs to stop.
When the drinker drinks too much alcohol, he feels like someone on a ship. The drinker cannot walk in a straight line. He might shake. He might fall. He might be sick.