5:3 For the lips 1 of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her seductive words 2 are smoother than olive oil,
5:4 but in the end 3 she is bitter 4 as wormwood, 5
sharp as a two-edged 6 sword.
5:5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave. 7
5:6 Lest 8 she should make level the path leading to life, 9
her paths are unstable 10 but she does not know it. 11
5:7 So now, children, 12 listen to me;
do not turn aside from the words I speak. 13
5:8 Keep yourself 14 far 15 from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
5:9 lest you give your vigor 16 to others
and your years to a cruel person,
5:10 lest strangers devour 17 your strength, 18
and your labor 19 benefit 20 another man’s house.
5:11 And at the end of your life 21 you will groan 22
when your flesh and your body are wasted away. 23
5:12 And you will say, “How I hated discipline!
My heart spurned reproof!
5:13 For 24 I did not obey my teachers 25
and I did not heed 26 my instructors. 27
5:14 I almost 28 came to complete ruin 29
in the midst of the whole congregation!” 30
5:15 Drink water from your own cistern
and running water from your own well. 31
5:16 Should your springs be dispersed 32 outside,
your streams of water in the wide plazas?
5:17 Let them be for yourself 33 alone,
and not for strangers with you. 34
5:18 May your fountain be blessed, 35
and may you rejoice 36 in your young wife 37 –
5:19 a loving doe, 38 a graceful deer;
may her breasts satisfy you at all times,
may you be captivated 39 by her love always.
5:20 But why should you be captivated, 40 my son, by an adulteress,
and embrace the bosom of a different woman? 41
5:21 For the ways of a person 42 are in front of the Lord’s eyes,
and the Lord 43 weighs 44 all that person’s 45 paths.
5:22 The wicked 46 will be captured by his 47 own iniquities, 48
and he will be held 49 by the cords of his own sin. 50
5:23 He will die because 51 there was no discipline;
because of the greatness of his folly 52 he will reel. 53
6:20 My child, guard the commands of your father
and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.
6:21 Bind them 54 on your heart continually;
fasten them around your neck.
6:22 When you walk about, 55 they 56 will guide you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
when you wake up, 57 they will talk 58 to you.
6:23 For the commandments 59 are like 60 a lamp, 61
instruction is like a light,
and rebukes of discipline are like 62 the road leading to life, 63
6:24 by keeping 64 you from the evil woman, 65
from the smooth tongue of 66 the loose woman. 67
6:25 Do not lust 68 in your heart for her beauty,
and do not let her captivate you with her alluring eyes; 69
6:26 for on account 70 of a prostitute one is brought down to a loaf of bread,
but the wife of another man 71 preys on your precious life. 72
6:27 Can a man hold 73 fire 74 against his chest 75
without 76 burning his clothes?
6:28 Can 77 a man walk on hot coals
without scorching his feet?
6:29 So it is with 78 the one who has sex with 79 his neighbor’s wife;
no one 80 who touches 81 her will escape 82 punishment. 83
6:30 People 84 do not despise a thief when he steals
to fulfill his need 85 when he is hungry.
6:31 Yet 86 if he is caught 87 he must repay 88 seven times over,
he might even have to give 89 all the wealth of his house.
6:32 A man who commits adultery with a woman lacks wisdom, 90
whoever does it destroys his own life. 91
6:33 He will be beaten and despised, 92
and his reproach will not be wiped away; 93
6:34 for jealousy kindles 94 a husband’s 95 rage,
and he will not show mercy 96 when he takes revenge.
6:35 He will not consider 97 any compensation; 98
he will not be willing, even if you multiply the compensation. 99
7:4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” 100
and call understanding a close relative,
7:5 so that they may keep you 101 from the adulterous 102 woman,
from the loose woman 103 who flatters you 104 with her words. 105
7:6 For at the window of my house
through my window lattice I looked out
7:7 and I saw among the naive –
I discerned among the youths 106 –
a young man 107 who lacked wisdom. 108
7:8 He was passing by the street near her corner,
making his way 109 along the road to her house 110
7:9 in the twilight, the evening, 111
in the dark of the night. 112
7:10 Suddenly 113 a woman came out to meet him!
She was dressed like a prostitute 114 and with secret intent. 115
7:11 (She is loud and rebellious,
she 116 does not remain 117 at home –
7:12 at one time outside, at another 118 in the wide plazas,
and by every corner she lies in wait.)
7:13 So she grabbed him and kissed him,
and with a bold expression 119 she said to him,
7:14 “I have 120 fresh meat at home; 121
today I have fulfilled my vows!
7:15 That is why I came out to meet you,
to look for you, 122 and I found you!
7:16 I have spread my bed with elegant coverings, 123
with richly colored fabric 124 from Egypt.
7:17 I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
7:18 Come, let’s drink deeply 125 of lovemaking 126 until morning,
let’s delight ourselves 127 with sexual intercourse. 128
7:19 For my husband 129 is not at home; 130
he has gone on a journey of some distance.
7:20 He has taken a bag of money with him; 131
he will not return until 132 the end of the month.” 133
7:21 She persuaded him 134 with persuasive words; 135
with her smooth talk 136 she compelled him. 137
7:22 Suddenly he went 138 after her
like an ox that goes to the slaughter,
like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare 139
7:23 till an arrow pierces his liver 140 –
like a bird hurrying into a trap,
and he does not know that it will cost him his life. 141
7:24 So now, sons, 142 listen to me,
and pay attention to the words I speak. 143
7:25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways –
do not wander into her pathways;
7:26 for she has brought down 144 many fatally wounded,
and all those she has slain are many. 145
7:27 Her house is the way to the grave, 146
going down 147 to the chambers 148 of death.
22:14 The mouth 149 of an adulteress is like 150 a deep pit; 151
the one against whom the Lord is angry 152 will fall into it. 153
23:26 Give me your heart, my son, 154
and let your eyes observe my ways;
23:27 for a prostitute is like 155 a deep pit;
a harlot 156 is like 157 a narrow well. 158
23:28 Indeed, she lies in wait like a robber, 159
and increases the unfaithful 160 among men. 161
30:20 This is the way 162 of an adulterous 163 woman:
she eats and wipes her mouth 164
and says, “I have not done wrong.” 165
30:21 Under three things the earth trembles, 166
and under four things it cannot bear up:
30:22 under a servant 167 who becomes king,
under a fool who is stuffed with food, 168
30:23 under an unloved 169 woman who is married,
and under a female servant who dispossesses 170 her mistress.
31:3 Do not give your strength 171 to women,
nor your ways 172 to that which ruins 173 kings.
1 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.
2 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.”
3 sn Heb “her end” (so KJV). D. Kidner notes that Proverbs does not allow us to forget that there is an afterward (Proverbs [TOTC], 65).
4 sn The verb “to be bitter” (מָרַר, marar) describes things that are harmful and destructive for life, such as the death of the members of the family of Naomi (Ruth 1:20) or finding water that was undrinkable (Exod 15:22-27). The word indicates that the sweet talking will turn out badly.
5 tn The Hebrew term translated “wormwood” refers to the aromatic plant that contrasts with the sweetness of honey. Some follow the LXX and translate it as “gall” (cf. NIV). The point is that there was sweetness when the tryst had alluring glamour, but afterward it had an ugly ring (W. G. Plaut, Proverbs, 74).
6 sn The Hebrew has “like a sword of [two] mouths,” meaning a double-edged sword that devours/cuts either way. There is no movement without damage. There may be a wordplay here with this description of the “sword with two mouths,” and the subject of the passage being the words of her mouth which also have two sides to them. The irony is cut by the idiom.
7 tn The term שְׁאוֹל (she’ol, “grave”) is paralleled to “death,” so it does not refer here to the realm of the unblessed.
sn The terms death and grave could be hyperbolic of a ruined life, but probably refer primarily to the mortal consequences of a life of debauchery.
8 tn The particle פֶּן (pen) means “lest” (probably from “for the aversion of”). It occurs this once, unusually, preceding the principal clause (BDB 814 s.v.). It means that some action has been taken to avert or avoid what follows. She avoids the path of life, albeit ignorantly.
9 tn Heb “the path of life.” The noun חַיִּים (khayyim, “of life”) functions as a genitive of direction (“leading to”).
10 sn The verb נוּעַ (nua’) means “to quiver; to wave; to waver; to tremble”; cf. KJV “her ways are moveable”; NAB “her paths will ramble”; NLT “She staggers down a crooked trail.” The ways of the adulterous woman are unstable (BDB 631 s.v.).
11 sn The sadder part of the description is that this woman does not know how unstable her life is, or how uneven. However, Thomas suggests that it means, “she is not tranquil.” See D. W. Thomas, “A Note on לא תדע in Proverbs v 6,” JTS 37 (1936): 59.
12 tn Heb “sons.”
13 tn Heb “the words of my mouth” (so KJV, NAB, NRSV).
14 tn Heb “your way.”
15 sn There is a contrast made between “keep far away” (הַרְחֵק, harkheq) and “do not draw near” (וְאַל־תִּקְרַב, vÿ’al-tiqrav).
16 sn The term הוֹד (hod, “vigor; splendor; majesty”) in this context means the best time of one’s life (cf. NIV “your best strength”), the full manly vigor that will be wasted with licentiousness. Here it is paralleled by “years,” which refers to the best years of that vigor, the prime of life. Life would be ruined by living this way, or the revenge of the woman’s husband would cut it short.
17 tn Or “are sated, satisfied.”
18 tn The word כֹּחַ (coakh, “strength”) refers to what laborious toil would produce (so a metonymy of cause). Everything that this person worked for could become the property for others to enjoy.
19 tn “labor, painful toil.”
20 tn The term “benefit” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
21 tn Heb “at your end.”
22 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav consecutive; it is equal to a specific future within this context.
sn The verb means “to growl, groan.” It refers to a lion when it devours its prey, and to a sufferer in pain or remorse (e.g., Ezek 24:23).
23 tn Heb “in the finishing of your flesh and your body.” The construction uses the Qal infinitive construct of כָּלָה (calah) in a temporal clause; the verb means “be complete, at an end, finished, spent.”
24 tn The vav that introduces this clause functions in an explanatory sense.
25 tn The Hebrew term מוֹרַי (moray) is the nominal form based on the Hiphil plural participle with a suffix, from the root יָרָה (yarah). The verb is “to teach,” the common noun is “instruction, law [torah],” and this participle form is teacher (“my teachers”).
26 sn The idioms are vivid: This expression is “incline the ear”; earlier in the first line is “listen to the voice,” meaning “obey.” Such detailed description emphasizes the importance of the material.
27 tn The form is the Piel plural participle of לָמַד (lamad) used substantivally.
28 tn The expression כִּמְעַט (kim’at) is “like a little.” It means “almost,” and is used of unrealized action (BDB 590 s.v. 2). Cf. NCV “I came close to”; NLT “I have come to the brink of.”
29 tn Heb “I was in all evil” (cf. KJV, ASV).
30 tn The text uses the two words “congregation and assembly” to form a hendiadys, meaning the entire assembly.
31 sn Paul Kruger develops this section as an allegory consisting of a series of metaphors. He suggests that what is at issue is private versus common property. The images of the cistern, well, or fountain are used of a wife (e.g., Song 4:15) because she, like water, satisfies desires. Streams of water in the street would then mean sexual contact with a lewd woman. According to 7:12 she never stays home but is in the streets and is the property of many (P. Kruger, “Promiscuity and Marriage Fidelity? A Note on Prov 5:15-18,” JNSL 13 : 61-68).
32 tn The verb means “to be scattered; to be dispersed”; here the imperfect takes a deliberative nuance in a rhetorical question.
33 tn The ל (lamed) preposition denotes possession: “for you” = “yours.” The term לְבַדֶּךָ (lÿvadekha) is appositional, underscoring the possession as exclusive.
34 sn The point is that what is private is not to be shared with strangers; it belongs in the home and in the marriage. The water from that cistern is not to be channeled to strangers or to the public.
35 sn The positive instruction is now given: Find pleasure in a fulfilling marriage. The “fountain” is another in the series of implied comparisons with the sexual pleasure that must be fulfilled at home. That it should be blessed (the passive participle of בָּרַךְ, barakh) indicates that sexual delight is God-given; having it blessed would mean that it would be endowed with fruitfulness, that it would fulfill all that God intended it to do.
36 tn The form is a Qal imperative with a vav (ו) of sequence; after the jussive of the first half this colon could be given an equivalent translation or logically subordinated.
37 tn Or “in the wife you married when you were young” (cf. NCV, CEV); Heb “in the wife of your youth” (so NIV, NLT). The genitive functions as an attributive adjective: “young wife” or “youthful wife.” Another possibility is that it refers to the age in which a man married his wife: “the wife you married in your youth.”
38 tn The construct expression “a doe of loves” is an attributive genitive, describing the doe with the word “loves.” The plural noun may be an abstract plural of intensification (but this noun only occurs in the plural). The same construction follows with a “deer of grace” – a graceful deer.
sn The imagery for intimate love in marriage is now employed to stress the beauty of sexual fulfillment as it was intended. The doe and deer, both implied comparisons, exhibit the grace and love of the wife.
39 sn The verb שָׁגָה (shagah) means “to swerve; to meander; to reel” as in drunkenness; it signifies a staggering gait expressing the ecstatic joy of a captivated lover. It may also mean “to be always intoxicated with her love” (cf. NRSV).
40 tn In the interrogative clause the imperfect has a deliberative nuance.
41 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.”
42 tn Heb “man.”
43 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the
44 tn BDB 814 s.v. פָּלַס 2 suggests that the participle מְפַּלֵּס (mÿpalles) means “to make level [or, straight].” As one’s ways are in front of the eyes of the
45 tn Heb “all his”; the referent (the person mentioned in the first half of the verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
46 tn The suffix on the verb is the direct object suffix; “the wicked” is a second object by apposition: They capture him, the wicked. Since “the wicked” is not found in the LXX, it could be an old scribal error; or the Greek translator may have simply smoothed out the sentence. C. H. Toy suggests turning the sentence into a passive idea: “The wicked will be caught in his iniquities” (Proverbs [ICC], 117).
47 tn The word is the subject of the clause, but the pronominal suffix has no clear referent. The suffix is proleptic, referring to the wicked.
48 tn Heb “his own iniquities will capture the wicked.” The translation shifts the syntax for the sake of smoothness and readability.
49 sn The lack of discipline and control in the area of sexual gratification is destructive. The one who plays with this kind of sin will become ensnared by it and led to ruin.
50 tn The Hebrew is structured chiastically: “his own iniquities will capture the wicked, by the cords of his own sin will he be held.”
51 tn The preposition בּ (bet) is used in a causal sense: “because” (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV).
52 sn The word אִוַּלְתּוֹ (’ivvalto, “his folly”) is from the root אול and is related to the noun אֶוִיל (’evil, “foolish; fool”). The noun אִוֶּלֶת (’ivvelet, “folly”) describes foolish and destructive activity. It lacks understanding, destroys what wisdom builds, and leads to destruction if it is not corrected.
53 sn The verb שָׁגָה (shagah, “to swerve; to reel”) is repeated in a negative sense. If the young man is not captivated by his wife but is captivated with a stranger in sinful acts, then his own iniquities will captivate him and he will be led to ruin.
54 sn The figures used here are hypocatastases (implied comparisons). There may also be an allusion to Deut 6 where the people were told to bind the law on their foreheads and arms. The point here is that the disciple will never be without these instructions. See further, P. W. Skehan, Studies in Israelite Poetry and Wisdom (CBQMS), 1-8.
55 tn The verbal form is the Hitpael infinitive construct with a preposition and a suffixed subjective genitive to form a temporal clause. The term הָלַךְ (halakh) in this verbal stem means “to go about; to go to and fro.” The use of these terms in v. 22 also alludes to Deut 6:7.
56 tn Heb “it will guide you.” The verb is singular and the instruction is the subject.
57 tn In both of the preceding cola an infinitive construct was used for the temporal clauses; now the construction uses a perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. The verb would then be equivalent to an imperfect tense, but subordinated as a temporal clause here.
58 sn The Hebrew verb means “talk” in the sense of “to muse; to complain; to meditate”; cf. TEV, NLT “advise you.” Instruction bound to the heart will speak to the disciple on awaking.
59 tn Heb “the commandment” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV).
60 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
61 sn The terms “lamp,” “light,” and “way” are all metaphors. The positive teachings and commandments will illumine or reveal to the disciple the way to life; the disciplinary correctives will provide guidance into fullness of life.
62 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
63 tn Heb “the way of life” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV); NIV, NLT “the way to life.” The noun “life” is a genitive following the construct “way.” It could be an attributive genitive modifying the kind of way/course of life that instruction provides, but it could also be objective in that the course of life followed would produce and lead to life.
64 tn The infinitive construct is epexegetical here, explaining how these teachings function as lights: “by keeping you.” This verse is the transition from the general admonition about heeding the teachings to the practical application.
65 tc The word translated “woman” is modified by רַע (ra’, “evil”) in the sense of violating the codes of the community and inflicting harm on others. The BHS editors propose changing it to read “strange woman” as before, but there is not support for that. Some commentaries follow the LXX and read רַע as “wife of a neighbor” (cf. NAB; also NRSV “the wife of another”; CEV “someone else’s wife”) but that seems to be only a clarification.
66 tn The word “tongue” is not in construct; the word “foreign woman” is in apposition to “smooth of tongue,” specifying whose it is. The word “smooth” then is the object of the preposition, “tongue” is the genitive of specification, and “foreign woman” in apposition.
67 sn The description of the woman as a “strange woman” and now a “loose [Heb “foreign”] 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 an Israelite.
68 tn The negated jussive gives the young person an immediate warning. The verb חָמַד (khamad) means “to desire,” and here in the sense of lust. The word is used in the Decalogue of Deut 5:21 for the warning against coveting.
sn Lusting after someone in the heart, according to Jesus, is a sin of the same kind as the act, not just the first step toward it (Matt 5:28). Playing with temptation in the heart – the seat of the will and the emotions – is only the heart reaching out after the sin.
69 tn Heb “her eyelids” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “eyelashes”; TEV “flirting eyes”). This term is a synecdoche of part (eyelids) for the whole (eyes) or a metonymy of association for painted eyes and the luring glances that are the symptoms of seduction (e.g., 2 Kgs 9:30). The term “alluring” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarification.
70 tn The word בְעַד (bÿ’ad) may be taken either as “on account of” (= by means of a) prostitute (cf. ASV, NASB), or “for the price of” a prostitute (cf. NAB). Most expositors take the first reading, though that use of the preposition is unattested, and then must supply “one is brought to.” The verse would then say that going to a prostitute can bring a man to poverty, but going to another man’s wife can lead to death. If the second view were taken, it would mean that one had a smaller price than the other. It is not indicating that one is preferable to the other; both are to be avoided.
71 tn Heb “the wife of a man.”
72 tn These two lines might be an example of synthetic parallelism, that is, “A, what’s more B.” The A-line describes the detrimental moral effect of a man going to a professional prostitute; the B-line heightens this and describes the far worse effect – moral and mortal! – of a man committing adultery with another man’s wife. When a man goes to a prostitute, he lowers himself to become nothing more than a “meal ticket” to sustain the life of that woman; however, when a man commits adultery, he places his very life in jeopardy – the rage of the husband could very well kill him.
73 tn The Qal imperfect (with the interrogative) here has a potential nuance – “Is it possible to do this?” The sentence is obviously a rhetorical question making an affirmation that it is not possible.
74 sn “Fire” provides the analogy for the sage’s warning: Fire represents the sinful woman (hypocatastasis) drawn close, and the burning of the clothes the inevitable consequences of the liaison. See J. L. Crenshaw, “Impossible Questions, Sayings, and Tasks,” Semeia 17 (1980): 19-34. The word “fire” (אֵשׁ, ’esh) plays on the words “man” (אִישׁ,’ish) and “woman” (אִשָּׁה, ’ishah); a passage like this probably inspired R. Gamaliel’s little explanation that what binds a man and a woman together in a holy marriage is י (yod) and ה (he), the two main letters of the holy name Yah. But if the
75 tn Heb “snatch up fire into his bosom.”
76 tn The second colon begins with the vav (ו) disjunctive on the noun, indicating a disjunctive clause; here it is a circumstantial clause.
77 tn The particle indicates that this is another rhetorical question like that in v. 27.
78 tn Heb “thus is the one.”
79 tn Heb “who goes in to” (so NAB, NASB). The Hebrew verb בּוֹא (bo’, “to go in; to enter”) is used throughout scripture as a euphemism for the act of sexual intercourse. Cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT “who sleeps with”; NCV “have sexual relations with.”
80 tn Heb “anyone who touches her will not.”
81 sn The verb “touches” is intended here to be a euphemism for illegal sexual contact (e.g., Gen 20:6).
82 tn Heb “will be exempt from”; NASB, NLT “will not go unpunished.”
83 tn The verb is יִנָּקֶה (yinnaqeh), the Niphal imperfect from נָקָה (naqah, “to be empty; to be clean”). From it we get the adjectives “clean,” “free from guilt,” “innocent.” The Niphal has the meanings (1) “to be cleaned out” (of a plundered city; e.g., Isa 3:26), (2) “to be clean; to be free from guilt; to be innocent” (Ps 19:14), (3) “to be free; to be exempt from punishment” [here], and (4) “to be free; to be exempt from obligation” (Gen 24:8).
84 tn Heb “they do not despise.”
85 tn Heb “himself” or “his life.” Since the word נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, traditionally “soul”) refers to the whole person, body and soul, and since it has a basic idea of the bundle of appetites that make up a person, the use here for satisfying his hunger is appropriate.
86 tn The term “yet” is supplied in the translation.
87 tn Heb “is found out.” The perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive is equivalent to the imperfect nuances. Here it introduces either a conditional or a temporal clause before the imperfect.
88 tn The imperfect tense has an obligatory nuance. The verb in the Piel means “to repay; to make restitution; to recompense”; cf. NCV, TEV, CEV “must pay back.”
89 tn This final clause in the section is somewhat cryptic. The guilty thief must pay back sevenfold what he stole, even if it means he must use the substance of his whole house. The verb functions as an imperfect of possibility: “he might even give.”
90 tn Heb “heart.” The term “heart” is used as a metonymy of association for discernment, wisdom, good sense. Cf. NAB “is a fool”; NIV “lacks judgment”; NCV, NRSV “has no sense.”
91 tn Heb “soul.” The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) functions as a metonymy of association for “life” (BDB 659 s.v. 3.c).
92 tn Heb “He will receive a wound and contempt.”
93 sn Even though the text has said that the man caught in adultery ruins his life, it does not mean that he was put to death, although that could have happened. He seems to live on in ignominy, destroyed socially and spiritually. He might receive blows and wounds from the husband and shame and disgrace from the spiritual community. D. Kidner observes that in a morally healthy society the adulterer would be a social outcast (Proverbs [TOTC], 75).
94 tn The word “kindles” was supplied in the translation; both “rage” and “jealousy” have meanings connected to heat.
95 tn Heb “a man’s.”
96 tn The verb חָמַל (khamal) means “to show mercy; to show compassion; to show pity,” usually with the outcome of sparing or delivering someone. The idea here is that the husband will not spare the guilty man any of the punishment (cf. NRSV “he shows no restraint”).
97 tn Heb “lift up the face of,” meaning “regard.”
98 tn The word rendered “compensation” is כֹּפֶר (cofer); it is essentially a ransom price, a sum to be paid to deliver another from debt, bondage, or crime. The husband cannot accept payment as a ransom for a life, since what has happened cannot be undone so easily.
99 tn BDB 1005 s.v. שֹׁחַד suggests that this term means “hush money” or “bribe” (cf. NIV, NRSV, NLT). C. H. Toy takes it as legal compensation (Proverbs [ICC], 142).
100 sn The metaphor is meant to signify that the disciple will be closely related to and familiar with wisdom and understanding, as close as to a sibling. Wisdom will be personified in the next two chapters, and so referring to it as a sister in this chapter certainly prepares for that personification.
101 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.
102 tn Heb “strange” (so KJV, ASV).
103 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).
104 tn The term “you” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
105 tn Heb “she makes smooth her words.” This expression means “she flatters with her words.”
106 tn Heb “sons.”
107 tn Heb “lad” or “youth.”
108 tn Heb “heart.”
sn This young man who lacked wisdom is one of the simpletons, lacking keen judgment, one void of common sense (cf. NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT) or understanding (cf. KJV, ASV). He is young, inexperienced, featherbrained (so D. Kidner, Proverbs [TOTC], 75).
109 tn The verb צָעַד (tsa’ad) means “to step; to march.” It suggests that the youth was intentionally making his way to her house. The verb is the imperfect tense; it stresses continual action parallel to the active participle that began the verse, but within a context that is past time.
110 tn Heb “way of her house.” This expression uses an adverbial accusative of location, telling where he was marching along. The term “house” is the genitive of location, giving the goal.
111 tn Heb “in the evening of the day.”
112 tn Heb “in the middle of the night, and dark”; KJV “in the black and dark night”; NRSV “at the time of night and darkness.”
113 tn The particle וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh) introduces a dramatic sense of the immediate to the narrative; it has a deictic force, “and look! – there was a woman,” or “all of a sudden this woman….”
114 tn Heb “with the garment of a prostitute.” The noun שִׁית (shith, “garment”) is an adverbial accusative specifying the appearance of the woman. The words “she was” are supplied in the translation to make a complete English sentence.
115 tn Heb “kept secret of heart”; cf. ASV, NRSV “wily of heart.” The verbal form is the passive participle from נָצַר (natsar) in construct. C. H. Toy lists the suggestions of the commentators: false, malicious, secret, subtle, excited, hypocritical (Proverbs [ICC], 149). The LXX has “causes the hearts of the young men to fly away.” The verb means “to guard; to watch; to keep”; to be guarded of heart means to be wily, to have secret intent – she has locked up her plans and gives nothing away (e.g., Isaiah 48:6 as well). Interestingly enough, this contrasts with her attire which gives everything away.
116 tn Heb “her feet.” This is a synecdoche, a part for the whole; the point is that she never stays home, but is out and about all the time.
117 tn Heb “dwell” or “settle”; NAB “her feet cannot rest.”
118 tn The repetition of the noun “time, step,” usually translated “now, this time,” signifies here “at one time…at another time” (BDB 822 s.v. פַּעַם 3.e).
119 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).
120 tn Heb “with me.”
121 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.
122 tn Heb “to look diligently for your face.”
123 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.
124 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.”
125 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.”
126 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.
127 tn The form is the Hitpael cohortative of עָלַס (’alas), which means “to rejoice.” Cf. NIV “let’s enjoy ourselves.”
128 tn Heb “with love.”
129 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.
130 tn Heb “in his house.”
131 tn Heb “in his hand.”
132 tn Heb “he will come back at.”
133 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.
134 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.
135 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 : 280-92).
136 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.
137 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.
138 tn The participle with “suddenly” gives a more vivid picture, almost as if to say “there he goes.”
139 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.”
140 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).
141 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.
142 tn The literal translation “sons” works well here in view of the warning. Cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV “children.”
143 tn Heb “the words of my mouth.”
144 tn Heb “she has caused to fall.”
145 tn Heb “numerous” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT) or “countless.”
146 tn The noun “Sheol” in parallelism to “the chambers of death” probably means the grave. The noun is a genitive of location, indicating the goal of the road(s). Her house is not the grave; it is, however, the sure way to it.
sn Her house is the way to the grave. The young man’s life is not destroyed in one instant; it is taken from him gradually as he enters into a course of life that will leave him as another victim of the wages of sin. The point of the warning is to prevent such a course from starting. Sin can certainly be forgiven, but the more involvement in this matter the greater the alienation from the healthy community.
147 tn The Qal active participle modifies “ways” to Sheol. The “road,” as it were, descends to the place of death.
148 tn “Chambers” is a hypocatastasis, comparing the place of death or the grave with a bedroom in the house. It plays on the subtlety of the temptation. Cf. NLT “Her bedroom is the den of death.”
149 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).
150 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.
151 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.
152 tn Heb “the one who is cursed by the
153 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
154 tn Heb “my son”; the reference to a “son” is retained in the translation here because in the following lines the advice is to avoid women who are prostitutes.
155 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.
156 tn Heb “foreign woman” (so ASV). The term נָכְרִיָּה (nokhriyyah, “foreign woman”) often refers to a prostitute (e.g., Prov 2:6; 5:20; 6:24; 7:5). While not all foreign women in Israel were prostitutes, their prospects for economic survival were meager and many turned to prostitution to earn a living. Some English versions see this term referring to an adulteress as opposed to a prostitute (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
157 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
158 sn In either case, whether a prostitute or an adulteress wife is involved, the danger is the same. The metaphors of a “deep pit” and a “narrow well” describe this sin as one that is a trap from which there is no escape. The “pit” is a gateway to Sheol, and those who enter are as good as dead, whether socially or through punishment physically.
159 tn The noun חֶתֶף (khetef) is defined by BDB 369 s.v. as “prey,” but this is the only occurrence of the word. The related verb BDB 368-69 s.v. חָתַף defines as “to seize; to snatch away” (with an Aramaic cognate meaning “to break in pieces” [Pa], and an Arabic word “death”). But the only occurrence of that word is in Job 9:12, where it is defined as “seizes.” So in this passage the noun could have either a passive sense (what is seized = prey), or an active sense (the one who seizes = a robber, bandit). The traditional rendering is “prey” (KJV); most modern English versions have the active sense (“robber” or similar; cf. NIV “like a bandit”). Since the prepositional phrase (the simile) is modifying the woman, the active sense works better in the translation.
160 tn The participle means “unfaithful [men]” (masculine plural); it could also be interpreted as “unfaithfulness” in the abstract sense. M. Dahood interprets it to mean “garments” (which would have to be repointed), saying that she collects garments in pledge for her service (M. Dahood, “To Pawn One’s Cloak,” Bib 42 : 359-66). But that is far-fetched; it might have happened on occasion, but as a common custom it is unlikely. Besides that, the text in the MT makes perfectly good sense without such a change.
sn Such a woman makes more people prove unfaithful to the law of God through her practice.
161 sn Verses 26-28 comprise the seventeenth saying; it warns the young person to follow the instructions about temptations because there are plenty of temptresses lurking about.
162 sn Equally amazing is the insensitivity of the adulterous woman to the sin. The use of the word “way” clearly connects this and the preceding material. Its presence here also supports the interpretation of the final clause in v. 19 as referring to sexual intimacy. While that is a wonder of God’s creation, so is the way that human nature has distorted it and ruined it.
163 sn The word clearly indicates that the woman is married and unchaste; but the text describes her as amoral as much as immoral – she sees nothing wrong with what she does.
164 sn The acts of “eating” and “wiping her mouth” are euphemistic; they employ an implied comparison between the physical act of eating and wiping one’s mouth afterward on the one hand with sexual activity on the other hand (e.g., Prov 9:17).
165 sn This is the amazing part of the observation. It is one thing to sin, for everyone sins, but to dismiss the act of adultery so easily, as if it were no more significant than a meal, is incredibly brazen.
166 sn The Hebrew verb means “to rage; to quake; to be in tumult.” The sage is using humorous and satirical hyperbole to say that the changes described in the following verses shake up the whole order of life. The sayings assume that the new, elevated status of the individuals was not accompanied by a change in nature. For example, it was not completely unknown in the ancient world for a servant to become king, and in the process begin to behave like a king.
167 sn A servant coming to power could become a tyrant if he is unaccustomed to the use of such power, or he might retain the attitude of a servant and be useless as a leader.
168 tn Heb “filled with food” (so ASV); NASB “satisfied with food”; NAB, NRSV “glutted with food”; CEV “who eats too much”; NLT “who prospers.”
sn The expression stuffed with food probably represents prosperity in general. So the line portrays someone who suddenly comes into wealth, but continues to be boorish and irreligious.
169 tn The Hebrew term means “hated,” from שָׂנֵא (sane’), a feminine passive participle. The text does not say why she is hated; some have speculated that she might be odious (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB) or unattractive, but perhaps she is married to someone incapable of showing love (e.g., Gen 29:31, 33; Deut 21:15; Isa 60:5). Perhaps the strange situation of Jacob was in the mind of the sage, for Leah was described as “hated” (Gen 29:31).
170 tn The verb יָרַשׁ (yarash) means either (1) “to possess; to inherit” or (2) “to dispossess.” Often the process of possessing meant the dispossessing of those already there (e.g., Hagar and Sarah in Gen 16:5; 21:10); another example is the Israelites’ wars against the Canaanites.
171 sn The word translated “strength” refers to physical powers here, i.e., “vigor” (so NAB) or “stamina.” It is therefore a metonymy of cause; the effect would be what spending this strength meant – sexual involvement with women. It would be easy for a king to spend his energy enjoying women, but that would be unwise.
172 sn The word “ways” may in general refer to the heart’s affection for or attention to, or it may more specifically refer to sexual intercourse. While in the book of Proverbs the term is an idiom for the course of life, in this context it must refer to the energy spent in this activity.
173 tn The construction uses Qal infinitive construct לַמְחוֹת (lamkhot, “to wipe out; to blot out; to destroy”). The construction is somewhat strange, and so some interpreters suggest changing it to מֹחוֹת (mokhot, “destroyers of kings”); cf. BDB 562 s.v. מָחָה Qal.3. Commentators note that the form is close to an Aramaic word that means “concubine,” and an Arabic word that is an indelicate description for women.