When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well whata] is before you,
2 and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.
3 Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.
These verses open a section that goes through verse 8, presenting the scenario of a person being brought into the circle of the higher class. It seems the teacher disapproves of enjoying good fortune. What he is really addressing is how moving up to a “higher” class or entering into an “inner ring” can blind us to realities that accompany this seemingly better life.
Why be so careful at the dinner table of a person of higher rank? For one thing, you are being watched and judged. However friendly the “ruler” might seem, however much he may seem to want you to feel at home, he is watching and judging your behavior. You are not sitting among old friends who accept you as you are. You are sitting among persons who are still determining if you are worthy of being with them. You have to strike a careful balance – showing due appreciation without getting too excited, appreciating good food without over indulging.
Another thing to be careful of is what will be expected of you afterwards. Once you accept the hospitality of the “ruler,” you are now in his debt. He may be expecting favors from you later. All the more, you need to watch that you do not over indulge in his generosity.
How good it is to sit at our Ruler’s table of the most precious food – the bread and the wine that represent the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. How good it is to know that there are no strings attached. At this table is where our Ruler communicates that we are fully accepted.
We praise you, God,
we praise you, for your Name is near;
people tell of your wonderful deeds.
2 You say, “I choose the appointed time;
it is I who judge with equity.
3 When the earth and all its people quake,
it is I who hold its pillars firm.[b]
4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.[c]
5 Do not lift your horns against heaven;
do not speak so defiantly.’”
6 No one from the east or the west
or from the desert can exalt themselves.
7 It is God who judges:
He brings one down, he exalts another.
8 In the hand of the Lord is a cup
full of foaming wine mixed with spices;
he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth
drink it down to its very dregs.
9 As for me, I will declare this forever;
I will sing praise to the God of Jacob,
10 who says, “I will cut off the horns of all the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.”