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Proverbs 7:6-23

Context

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 1 

a young man 2  who lacked wisdom. 3 

7:8 He was passing by the street near her corner,

making his way 4  along the road to her house 5 

7:9 in the twilight, the evening, 6 

in the dark of the night. 7 

7:10 Suddenly 8  a woman came out to meet him!

She was dressed like a prostitute 9  and with secret intent. 10 

7:11 (She is loud and rebellious,

she 11  does not remain 12  at home –

7:12 at one time outside, at another 13  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 14  she said to him,

7:14 “I have 15  fresh meat at home; 16 

today I have fulfilled my vows!

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

to look for you, 17  and I found you!

7:16 I have spread my bed with elegant coverings, 18 

with richly colored fabric 19  from Egypt.

7:17 I have perfumed my bed

with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.

7:18 Come, let’s drink deeply 20  of lovemaking 21  until morning,

let’s delight ourselves 22  with sexual intercourse. 23 

7:19 For my husband 24  is not at home; 25 

he has gone on a journey of some distance.

7:20 He has taken a bag of money with him; 26 

he will not return until 27  the end of the month.” 28 

7:21 She persuaded him 29  with persuasive words; 30 

with her smooth talk 31  she compelled him. 32 

7:22 Suddenly he went 33  after her

like an ox that goes to the slaughter,

like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare 34 

7:23 till an arrow pierces his liver 35 

like a bird hurrying into a trap,

and he does not know that it will cost him his life. 36 

1 tn Heb “sons.”

2 tn Heb “lad” or “youth.”

3 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).

4 tn The verb צָעַד (tsaad) 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.

5 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.

6 tn Heb “in the evening of the day.”

7 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.”

8 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….”

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 tn Heb “dwell” or “settle”; NAB “her feet cannot rest.”

13 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).

14 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).

15 tn Heb “with me.”

16 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.

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

18 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.

19 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.”

20 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.”

21 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.

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

23 tn Heb “with love.”

24 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.

25 tn Heb “in his house.”

26 tn Heb “in his hand.”

27 tn Heb “he will come back at.”

28 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.

29 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.

30 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).

31 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.

32 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.

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

34 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.”

35 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).

36 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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