she eats and wipes her mouth 6
and says, “I have not done wrong.” 7
1 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.
2 tn Heb “the wife of a man.”
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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).
7 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.