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Proverbs 7:21-23

Context

7:21 She persuaded him 1  with persuasive words; 2 

with her smooth talk 3  she compelled him. 4 

7:22 Suddenly he went 5  after her

like an ox that goes to the slaughter,

like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare 6 

7:23 till an arrow pierces his liver 7 

like a bird hurrying into a trap,

and he does not know that it will cost him his life. 8 

1 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.

2 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).

3 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.

4 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.

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

6 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.”

7 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).

8 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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