“Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.”(Proverbs 17:1, ESV)
I’ve had bad meals and I’ve had good meals. I’ve eaten alone, and I’ve eaten with others. Good food and good friends are the best combination. King Solomon must have hosted a lot of fancy parties in his palace. Some were no doubt with people he didn’t really like, but for political reason, he had to endure them. Other meals were perhaps more simple, but satisfying.
In Solomon’s proverb he speaks about eating a dry morsel of bread. The bread is hard and unappealing, which is only made worse because there isn’t much to eat. But this unfortunate meal is far more satisfying that a feast with certain company.
He isn’t primarily lauding the silence of the room alone, because a house filled with strife can be quiet in that awkward way where the tension is thick and nobody is speaking. The quiet Solomon says is desirable is a peacefulness of the heart and one in which there is an absence of rancor and angry yelling at others. Friendship, love, and wonderful conversation fill the room, and whatever is served on the table takes a secondary place in the meal.
It is better to eat a simple meal in the company of those that are loving than to eat a feast among those who hate you and one another. In hospitality, it is not so much the meal that is served as it is the company one keeps and how they are made to feel loved and welcomed. This is true hospitality.