whoever does it destroys his own life. 5
and his reproach will not be wiped away; 7
and he will not show mercy 10 when he takes revenge.
he will not be willing, even if you multiply the compensation. 13
like a bird hurrying into a trap,
and he does not know that it will cost him his life. 15
and pay attention to the words I speak. 17
7:25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways –
do not wander into her pathways;
and all those she has slain are many. 19
1 tn The preposition בּ (bet) is used in a causal sense: “because” (cf. NCV, TEV, CEV).
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.”
6 tn Heb “He will receive a wound and contempt.”
7 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).
8 tn The word “kindles” was supplied in the translation; both “rage” and “jealousy” have meanings connected to heat.
9 tn Heb “a man’s.”
10 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”).
11 tn Heb “lift up the face of,” meaning “regard.”
12 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.
13 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).
14 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).
15 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.
16 tn The literal translation “sons” works well here in view of the warning. Cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV “children.”
17 tn Heb “the words of my mouth.”
18 tn Heb “she has caused to fall.”
19 tn Heb “numerous” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV, NLT) or “countless.”
20 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.
21 tn The Qal active participle modifies “ways” to Sheol. The “road,” as it were, descends to the place of death.
22 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.”