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Proverbs 2:16

Context

2:16 to deliver you 1  from the adulteress, 2 

from the sexually loose woman 3  who speaks flattering 4  words; 5 

Proverbs 5:3

Context

5:3 For the lips 6  of the adulterous woman drip honey,

and her seductive words 7  are smoother than olive oil,

Proverbs 5:20

Context

5:20 But why should you be captivated, 8  my son, by an adulteress,

and embrace the bosom of a different woman? 9 

Proverbs 7:5

Context

7:5 so that they may keep you 10  from the adulterous 11  woman,

from the loose woman 12  who flatters you 13  with her words. 14 

Proverbs 22:14

Context

22:14 The mouth 15  of an adulteress is like 16  a deep pit; 17 

the one against whom the Lord is angry 18  will fall into it. 19 

Proverbs 23:33

Context

23:33 Your eyes will see strange things, 20 

and your mind will speak perverse things.

1 sn This purpose clause introduced by לְהַצִּילְךָ (lÿhatsilkha, “to deliver you”) parallels the purpose clause introduced by לְהַצִּילְךָ (“to deliver you”) in v. 12. There it introduced deliverance from the evil man, and now from the evil woman. The description of the evil man encompassed four poetic lines in the Hebrew text (vv. 12-15); likewise, the description of the evil woman is four poetic lines (vv. 16-19).

2 tn Heb “strange woman” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “the loose woman.” The root זוּר (zur, “to be a stranger”) sometimes refers to people who are ethnically foreign to Israel (Isa 1:7; Hos 7:9; 8:7) but it often refers to what is morally estranged from God or his covenant people (Pss 58:4; 78:30; BDB 266 s.v.). Referring to a woman, it means adulteress or prostitute (Prov 2:16; 5:3, 20; 7:5; 22:14; 23:33; see BDB 266 s.v. 2.b). It does not mean that she is a foreigner but that she is estranged from the community with its social and religious values (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 285). It describes her as outside the framework of the covenant community (L. A. Snijders, “The Meaning of זוּר in the Old Testament: An Exegetical Study,” OTS 10 [1954]: 85-86). Here an Israelite woman is in view because her marriage is called a “covenant with God.” She is an adulteress, acting outside the legal bounds of the marriage contract.

3 tn Heb “alien woman.” The adjective נָכְרִי (nokhri, “foreign; alien”) refers to (1) people who are ethnically alien to Israel (Exod 21:8; Deut 17:15; Judg 19:12; Ruth 2:10; 1 Kgs 11:1, 8; Ezra 10:2, 10, 11; see BDB 649 s.v. 1); (2) people who are morally alienated from God and his covenant people (Job 19:15; Ps 69:9; Prov 20:16; Eccl 6:2; Jer 2:21; see BDB 649 s.v. 3) and (3) as a technical term in Proverbs for a harlot or promiscuous woman as someone who is morally alienated from God and moral society (Prov 2:16; 5:20; 6:24; 7:5; 20:16; 23:27; 27:13; see BDB 649 s.v. 2). The description of the woman as a “strange woman” and now an “alien woman” is within the context of the people of Israel. She is a “foreigner” in the sense that she is a nonconformist, wayward and loose. It does not necessarily mean that she is not ethnically Israelite (though BDB notes that most harlots in Israel were originally chiefly foreigners by reason of their otherwise homeless condition).

4 tn Heb “makes smooth.” The Hiphil of II חָלַק (“to be smooth; to be slippery”) means (1) “to make smooth” (metal with hammer) and (2) “to use smooth words,” that is, to flatter (Pss 5:10; 36:3; Prov 2:16; 7:5; 28:23; 29:5; see BDB 325 s.v. 2; HALOT 322 s.v. I חלק hif.2). The related Arabic cognate verb means “make smooth, lie, forge, fabricate.” The seductive speech of the temptress is compared to olive oil (5:3) and is recounted (7:14-20).

5 tn Heb “whose words she makes smooth.” The phrase is a relative clause that does not have a relative pronoun. The antecedent of the 3rd person feminine singular suffix is clearly “the sexually loose woman” earlier in the line.

sn For descriptions of seductive speech, see Prov 5:3 where it is compared to olive oil, and 7:14-20 where such speech is recorded.

6 sn “Lips” is a metonymy of cause, referring to her words. Dripping honey is an implied comparison between the product and her words, which are flattering and smooth (cf. Song 4:11). See M. Dahood, “Honey That Drips. Notes on Proverbs 5:2-3,” Bib 54 (1973): 65-66.

7 tn Heb “her palate.” The word חֵךְ (khekh, “palate; roof of the mouth; gums”) is a metonymy of cause (= organ of speech) for what is said (= her seductive speech). The present translation clarifies this metonymy with the phrase “her seductive words.”

8 tn In the interrogative clause the imperfect has a deliberative nuance.

9 tn Heb “foreigner” (so ASV, NASB), but this does not mean that the woman is non-Israelite. This term describes a woman who is outside the moral boundaries of the covenant community – she is another man’s wife, but since she acts with moral abandonment she is called “foreign.”

10 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition shows the purpose of associating closely with wisdom: Wisdom will obviate temptations, the greatest being the sexual urge.

11 tn Heb “strange” (so KJV, ASV).

12 tn Heb “strange woman.” This can be interpreted as a “wayward wife” (so NIV) or an “unfaithful wife” (so NCV). As discussed earlier, the designations “strange woman” and “foreign woman” could refer to Israelites who stood outside the community in their lawlessness and loose morals – an adulteress or wayward woman. H. Ringgren and W. Zimmerli, however, suggest that she is also a promoter of a pagan cult, but that is not entirely convincing (Spruche/Prediger [ATD], 19).

13 tn The term “you” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.

14 tn Heb “she makes smooth her words.” This expression means “she flatters with her words.”

15 sn The word “mouth” is a metonymy of cause; it refers to the seductive speech of the strange woman (e.g., 2:16-22; and chs. 5, 7).

16 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.

17 sn The point of the metaphor is that what the adulteress says is like a deep pit. The pit is like the hunter’s snare; it is a trap that is difficult to escape. So to succumb to the adulteress – or to any other folly this represents – is to get oneself into a difficulty that has no easy escape.

18 tn Heb “the one who is cursed by the Lord” (cf. NASB). The construction uses the passive participle in construct with Yahweh. The “Lord” is genitive of agency after the passive form. The verb means “be indignant, express indignation.” So it is talking about one against whom the Lord is angry.

19 tn Heb “will fall there.” The “falling” could refer to the curse itself or to the result of the curse.

sn The proverb is saying that the Lord will use the seductive, deceptive words of the adulteress to bring about the downfall of one who is inclined to such folly.

20 tn The feminine plural of זָר (zar, “strange things”) refers to the trouble one has in seeing and speaking when drunk.



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