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Proverbs 7:13-23

Context

7:13 So she grabbed him and kissed him,

and with a bold expression 1  she said to him,

7:14 “I have 2  fresh meat at home; 3 

today I have fulfilled my vows!

7:15 That is why I came out to meet you,

to look for you, 4  and I found you!

7:16 I have spread my bed with elegant coverings, 5 

with richly colored fabric 6  from Egypt.

7:17 I have perfumed my bed

with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

7:18 Come, let’s drink deeply 7  of lovemaking 8  until morning,

let’s delight ourselves 9  with sexual intercourse. 10 

7:19 For my husband 11  is not at home; 12 

he has gone on a journey of some distance.

7:20 He has taken a bag of money with him; 13 

he will not return until 14  the end of the month.” 15 

7:21 She persuaded him 16  with persuasive words; 17 

with her smooth talk 18  she compelled him. 19 

7:22 Suddenly he went 20  after her

like an ox that goes to the slaughter,

like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare 21 

7:23 till an arrow pierces his liver 22 

like a bird hurrying into a trap,

and he does not know that it will cost him his life. 23 

1 tn Heb “she makes bold her face.” The Hiphil perfect of עָזַז (’azar, “to be strong”) means she has an impudent face (cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV), a bold or brazen expression (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT).

2 tn Heb “with me.”

3 tn Heb “I have peace offerings.” The peace offerings refer to the meat left over from the votive offering made at the sanctuary (e.g., Lev 7:11-21). Apparently the sacrificial worship meant as little to this woman spiritually as does Christmas to modern hypocrites who follow in her pattern. By expressing that she has peace offerings, she could be saying nothing more than that she has fresh meat for a meal at home, or that she was ceremonially clean, perhaps after her period. At any rate, it is all probably a ruse for winning a customer.

4 tn Heb “to look diligently for your face.”

5 tn Heb “with spreads.” The sentence begins with the cognate accusative: “with spreads I have spread my bed.” The construction enhances the idea – she has covered her bed.

6 tn The feminine noun means “dark-hued stuffs” (BDB 310 s.v. חֲטֻבוֹת). The form is a passive participle from a supposed root II חָטַב (khatav), which in Arabic means to be of a turbid, dusky color mixed with yellowish red. Its Aramaic cognate means “variegated”; cf. NAB “with brocaded cloths of Egyptian linen.” BDB’s translation of this colon is unsatifactory: “with dark hued stuffs of yarn from Egypt.”

7 tn The form נִרְוֶה (nirveh) is the plural cohortative; following the imperative “come” the form expresses the hortatory “let’s.” The verb means “to be saturated; to drink one’s fill,” and can at times mean “to be intoxicated with.”

8 tn Heb “loves.” The word דּוֹד (dod) means physical love or lovemaking. It is found frequently in the Song of Solomon for the loved one, the beloved. Here the form (literally, “loves”) is used in reference to multiple acts of sexual intercourse, as the phrase “until morning” suggests.

9 tn The form is the Hitpael cohortative of עָלַס (’alas), which means “to rejoice.” Cf. NIV “let’s enjoy ourselves.”

10 tn Heb “with love.”

11 tn Heb “the man.” The LXX interpreted it as “my husband,” taking the article to be used as a possessive. Many English versions do the same.

12 tn Heb “in his house.”

13 tn Heb “in his hand.”

14 tn Heb “he will come back at.”

15 tn Heb “new moon.” Judging from the fact that the husband took a purse of money and was staying away until the next full moon, the woman implies that they would be safe in their escapade. If v. 9 and v. 20 are any clue, he could be gone for about two weeks – until the moon is full again.

16 tn Heb “she turned him aside.” This expression means that she persuaded him. This section now begins the description of the capitulation, for the flattering speech is finished.

17 sn The term לֶקַח (leqakh) was used earlier in Proverbs for wise instruction; now it is used ironically for enticement to sin (see D. W. Thomas, “Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 280-92).

18 tn Heb “smooth of her lips”; cf. NAB “smooth lips”; NASB “flattering lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause representing what she says.

19 tn The verb means “to impel; to thrust; to banish,” but in this stem in this context “to compel; to force” into some action. The imperfect tense has the nuance of progressive imperfect to parallel the characteristic perfect of the first colon.

20 tn The participle with “suddenly” gives a more vivid picture, almost as if to say “there he goes.”

21 tn The present translation follows R. B. Y. Scott (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 64). This third colon of the verse would usually be rendered, “fetters to the chastening of a fool” (KJV, ASV, and NASB are all similar). But there is no support that עֶכֶס (’ekhes) means “fetters.” It appears in Isaiah 3:16 as “anklets.” The parallelism here suggests that some animal imagery is required. Thus the ancient versions have “as a dog to the bonds.”

22 sn The figure of an arrow piercing the liver (an implied comparison) may refer to the pangs of a guilty conscience that the guilty must reap along with the spiritual and physical ruin that follows (see on these expressions H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament).

23 tn The expression that it is “for/about/over his life” means that it could cost him his life (e.g., Num 16:38). Alternatively, the line could refer to moral corruption and social disgrace rather than physical death – but this would not rule out physical death too.



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