The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Proverbs 7

Pro 7:1

Pro 7: Once again the theme of seduction surfaces in the instructions of the father (see Pro 2:16-19; 5:1-23; 6:20-35). Here the instruction takes the form of a dramatic narrative -- about an individual woman who draws a youth into adultery. The chapter begins with the important teaching of the father (vv 1-5); next it focuses on the seduction: first on the victim (vv 6-9), then on the temptress (vv 10-12), then the seduction itself (vv 13-20), and finally his capitulation (vv 21-23); the chapter concludes with the deadly results of the sin (vv 24-27).

MY SON, KEEP MY WORDS AND STORE UP MY COMMANDS WITHIN YOU: See Pro 2:1-4; 3:1,21,22; 4:1,2,20,21; 5:1; 6:20,21. Cp Psa 119:11: "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

STORE UP: "Lay up" (AV). The Hebrew means "hide". As the Law of God was treasured up in the ark of the covenant, that which is treasured here -- godly instruction -- should not be left open and out in the house, but rather locked up in chests or safes, lest it be lost or stolen. Cp Pro 2:1,7. "We are to take the greatest pains to keep God’s thought in our remembrance, before the eyes of our soul. We are to take every needful measure to keep it intact, whole, flawless in our heart. We are to find it a home in the inmost chamber, in the sacred places of our spirit" (Clarkson, Pulpit).

"Sons often neglect their father's instructions and warnings. If they forget them, they will not be ready, when temptation is in their eyes, ears, heart, and loins. And the temptation here is dangerous and powerful -- a beautiful and skilled adulteress (Pro 7:5-27). The same lesson applies to young women, when they are infatuated with a handsome man. Solomon begins and ends his warning with appeals to remember his advice (Pro 7:1-4,24).

"Solomon knew the folly and vanity of youth (Pro 22:15; Ecc 11:10). He knew the great vulnerability that young men and women have to sexual lusts and temptations (Psa 25:7; Ecc 12:5; Eze 23:3,8,19,21; 2Ti 2:22). Their freedom, folly, naiveté, sexual desire, and youthful bodies create a dangerous combination. He also knew the haughty spirit in most of their hearts. Therefore, he repeatedly begged his children to listen and remember his instruction (Pro 1:8; 2:1-5; 3:1-4; 4:1-5,13; 5:1,2,7; 6:20,21; 7:1-4,24; 8:32,33).

"The dangers of not remembering are great. How will a young man resist, when his eyes are full of her beauty, his ears full of her flattery, his heart full of her offered love and submission, and his loins full of desire (Pro 5:3; 6:24,25; 7:13-21)? How will a young woman resist, when her eyes are full of his manliness, her ears full of his flattery, her heart full of his attention and affection, and her body craves his full embrace (Gen 34:1-3)?

"The consequences of not remembering are great. Solomon warned his children very carefully about the bitter pain that would wrack their consciences and bodies after sinning sexually (Pro 5:7-14). They would lose their reputations, years of their lives, and their labor and money. They would grieve about their miserable hypocrisy, but it would be too late. They would remember the many warnings they had been given, but it would be too late.

"Why is it hard for youth to remember instruction? They have undisciplined and wanderings minds; they easily forget what was said in their rush to explore new things; they get enraptured in the vanity of youthful activities and lusts; they think their teachers are too conservative and missing the great pleasures of life; they fall into temptation naively and unawares without recollection of warnings. Youth is folly and vanity!" (LGBT).

Pro 7:2

KEEP MY COMMANDS AND YOU WILL LIVE; GUARD MY TEACHINGS AS THE APPLE OF YOUR EYE: Spoken likewise of the commandments of Christ (1Jo 3:23 Joh 14:21,23). Because Samson did not keep God's laws, he lost his eyes!

GUARD MY TEACHING AS THE APPLE OF YOUR EYE: Naturally speaking, the pupil is one of the most treasured parts of the body, being protected by skull, cheekbones, eyebrows, eyelids, lashes, tears, and even hands.

THE APPLE OF YOUR EYE: "Ishon eneyka". Literally, "the little man in your eye" (cp Deu 32:10; Psa 17:8; Zec 2:8). Traditionally this Hebrew idiom is translated into English as "the apple of your eye" (cp KJV); a more contemporary rendering would be "as your most prized possession." The word for "man" has the diminutive ending on it. It refers to the pupil, where the object focused on -- in this case, a man -- is reflected in miniature. The teaching must be the central focus of the disciple's vision and attention. And in the case of the NT believer, the "little man" in the eye must always be the Lord Jesus Christ.

By nature, a son does not value his father's warnings. He deceives himself to believe that his father is out of touch with the world, that his father overstates the danger, that his father wants to deprive him of pleasure, that his father never met a desirable woman, that his father never had sexual urges (which is plainly denied by the evidence of his son's existence!), or that he the son is smarter than his father and can escape the consequences his father describes. All these are damnable lies arising out of a foolish youthful heart.

Sons ought to trust their fathers and esteem their advice and warnings. Every father was once a young man with the same desires and temptations. But a father has survived youth, and he has reflected much on what is best for his son. He has long-term success in mind, not short-term pleasures that will ruin the son's life! Fathers love their sons more than any woman will ever love them, even a virtuous wife! Young man, keep your father's commandments!

Pro 7:3

BIND THEM ON YOUR FINGERS; WRITE THEM ON THE TABLET OF YOUR HEART: Another allusion to Deu 6:8; cp Pro 3:3; 6:21. Binding the teachings on the fingers and writing them on the tablets here are implied comparisons for preserving the teaching in memory so that it can be recalled and used with ease.

BIND THEM ON YOUR FINGERS: Or perhaps the wrist, like the amulets or tephillim. "These were worn both on the hand and the forehead, and consisted of a leather box containing strips of parchment, on which were written four texts, viz Exo 13:1-10; 11-16; Deu 6:4-9; 11:13-21. The box was attached to a leather strap wound seven times round the arm, three times round the middle finger, and the remainder passed round the hand (see Exo 13:9,16; Jer 22:24)" (Pulpit).

WRITE THEM ON THE TABLET OF YOUR HEART: "That is the final object of all good writing. Much that is written on paper is destroyed without even being read. Even commandments written and engraven on stone have been neglected until the stones have crumbled into dust. But when the commandments of God are written on human hearts, the final object of writing has been achieved. Words written on paper, parchment or stone, or words spoken by inspired lips have then been received by the senses, understood and approved by the intellect and the thoughts expressed have been, in some measure at least, woven into the character" (PrPr).

Pro 7:4

SAY TO WISDOM, "YOU ARE MY SISTER," AND CALL UNDERSTANDING YOUR KINSMAN: A family relationship with Wisdom closer than blood ties (Mat 12:49,50; cp Luk 11:27,28). This anticipates the extended personification of Wisdom in Pro 8. A sister is "intimately acquainted, greatly beloved, and highly delighted in", says Gill, adding, "this may be understood both of the Gospel, the wisdom of God in a mystery, which men should be conversant with, be strongly affected to, and take delight and pleasure in; and of Christ, the essential Wisdom of God, and who stands in the relation of a brother to his people, and should be respected as such." Both Abraham and Isaac spoke of their wives Sarah and Rebekah as their sisters (Gen 12:13,19; 20:2,5,12; 26:7,9).

YOU ARE MY SISTER: "My sister" is used of the bride in Song 4:9--5:1. As a man would never take his sister along to an immoral liaison, much less his wife, so "Wisdom" will prove to be the ultimate "chaperon" -- protecting her brother/husband/relative from all temptresses. A close sister would never let her brother get near an adulterous woman. She would despise the woman, and she would expose her wicked wiles to her brother, and she would warn him of the horrible consequences.

"Let [wisdom and instruction] be the object of tender affection -- as our sister -- our kinswoman. It is her embrace that throws the harlot's beauty into the shade. Man must have his object of delight. If wisdom is not loved, lust will be indulged. The Bible therefore -- not merely read, but the cherished object of familiar intercourse -- proves a sacred exorcist to expel the power of evil (Pro 2:10,16; 6:23,24; 23:26,27)" (Bridges).

"Every man needs a good woman... or two! He first needs Lady Wisdom as his sister and kinswoman (Pro 4:8; 8:17; 9:1-12). She will protect him from the whorish Lady Folly (Pro 9:13-18). Then he needs a God-fearing and virtuous woman as his wife (Pro 18:22; 19:14; 31:10). She will satisfy him against seduction by the strange woman (Pro 5:15-20; 1Co 7:1-5). Solomon the king warned his son about the strange woman, a single or married whore trying to seduce him -- a constant threat of those in positions of influence, power, or wealth. He wanted his son's full attention, for the warning advice was crucial to his safety and success. He wanted his son to remember and prize the instruction (Pro 7:1-5)" (LGBT).

Pro 7:5

THEY WILL KEEP YOU FROM THE ADULTERESS, FROM THE WAYWARD WIFE WITH HER SEDUCTIVE WORDS: Being true and faithful to Wisdom (personified as a woman) will keep the young man from sinful associations with wicked women.

ADULTERESS: Hebrew "zuwr".

WAYWARD WIFE: Hebrew "nokriy": signifying "strange" in a variety of ways -- foreign, non-related, adulterous, different. "Heb 'strange woman.' This can be interpreted as a 'wayward wife'... 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. Ringgren and Zimmerli, however, suggest that she is also a promoter of a pagan cult..." (NETn).

HER SEDUCTIVE WORDS: Literally, her "smooth" words: cp Pro 2:16; 5:3; 6:24.

Pro 7:6

Pro 7:6-23: A "drama": the victim (vv 6-9), the predator (vv 10-12), the tactics (vv 13-21), and the kill (vv 22,23). "A story is told, of Solomon's own knowledge, of a young man ensnared and ruined by a lewd woman; it begins in v 6. The young man is described as foolish, and as throwing himself in the way of temptation (vv 7-9); the harlot that met him is described by her attire, her subtlety, her voice, her inconstancy, her impudence, and pretensions to piety (vv 10-14). The arguments she made use of to prevail upon him to go with her are taken partly from the elegance of her bed, the softness of it, and its sweet perfume, and satiety of love to be enjoyed in it (vv 15-18); and partly from the absence of her husband, who was gone a long journey, and had made provision for it for a certain time (vv 19,20). By which arguments she prevailed upon him to his utter ruin: which is illustrated by the similes of an ox going to the slaughter, a fool to the stocks, and a bird to the snare (vv 7:21-23)" (Gill).

One old writer says: "It would not, perhaps, be wise for any one to discuss this subject in the presence of a general congregation. The sin is so fearfully contaminating that it is scarcely possible to touch it in any way without contracting some defilement; and the few who might benefit by a public exposure of the evils of profligacy would be greatly outnumbered by the multitude of people, especially the young, to whom the direction of attention to it would be unwholesome. But on special occasions, and before special audiences, a strong, clear denunciation of this sin may be called for. We can avoid the subject too much, and so leave the sin unrebuked. Certainly some men do not seem to realize how fearfully wicked and how fatally ruinous it is." How things have changed in the last 100 years or so! Now the scene is played out everywhere, but modern society can scarcely express any indignation at such things.

AT THE WINDOW OF MY HOUSE I LOOKED OUT THROUGH THE LATTICE: The narrator now launches upon a story, which runs through v 23. He professes to have seen it all from the window of his house, but there are plainly bits of the story, and dialogue, that he cannot have seen and heard from there -- unless it be by direct inspiration! (Gill adds the stimulating thought, that although the observer and narrator is Solomon, yet "a Greater than he may be [designated], the omniscient God, who looks through the windows and lattice of heaven, and beholds all the actions of the children of men, [even] those that are most private, and done in the dark.")

Perhaps "the window of my house" is the narrator's way of saying, 'This story is universal; it may be observed in a thousand towns and cities, wherever human beings are gathered together.' As Davidson puts it, "Human nature remains the same in every age. The descriptions of the temptations that assailed the youth of Jerusalem and Tyre answers precisely to what we see in our own day. Therefore the counsels and warnings of the ancient sage are as valuable and fitting as ever. The vastness and multitudinousness of our modern cities provide a secrecy which is congenial to vice. In all great towns solicitations to vice abound as they do not elsewhere. Every passion has a tempter lying in wait for it. Whatever be your temperament or constitution, a snare will be skilfully laid to entrap you. Vice clothes itself here in its most pleasing attire, and not seldom appears even under the garb of virtue" (BI).

THE LATTICE: "Eshnab", a lattice-work which served the purpose of our Venetian blinds, excluding the sun, but letting the cool air pass into the room (cp Jdg 5:28). A person within could see all that passed in the street without being himself visible from outside (Song 2:9).

Pro 7:7

I SAW AMONG THE SIMPLE, I NOTICED AMONG THE YOUNG MEN, A YOUTH WHO LACKED JUDGMENT: "The narrative unfolds with the observation of an unwary youth strolling along the streets at night. He is described as one of the 'simple' ('peth a'yim': cf Pro 1:4) ones, ie, 'a youth who lacked judgment' ('na'ar hasar-leb'; literally, 'a youth lacking of heart', ie, one void of common sense or understanding). He is young, inexperienced, featherbrained (as Kidner puts it, p 75)" (EBC). "A young man without any sense" (RSV).

SIMPLE: " 'Simple' means silly, frivolous, idle, abandoned. You could almost predict with certainty the future of one who selected such society. The ruin of most young men is due to bad company. It is commonly the finest natures that are first pounced upon. The good-hearted, amiable fellow, with open countenance and warm heart and generous disposition, is at once seized by the vermin of the pit, and poisoned with every kind of pollution. Take care with whom you associate. There are men who will fawn upon you, and flatter you, and call you good company, and patronise you wonderfully, and take you anywhere you wish to go; and -- allow you to pay all expenses. As a rule, a companion of loose character is the most mean and selfish of creatures" (Davidson, BI).

Pro 7:8

HE WAS GOING DOWN THE STREET NEAR HER CORNER, WALKING ALONG IN THE DIRECTION OF HER HOUSE: "Passing by" (KJV) suggests he had no intention of meeting her. (But even then, he should have gone nowhere near her house -- if he know anything of her, which he plainly does: for Solomon had warned: "Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house": Pro 5:8.) But the NIV translation, "walking along in the direction", suggests otherwise, and the Hebrew seems to bear this out. His evening "stroll" takes him intentionally ("tsaad": to step, march) down the street toward her house. As one commentator puts it, "He has a surprising sense of direction for this time of night" (WBC).

"Wise men will reject for themselves, and fathers will condemn for their sons: coed gyms, internet chat rooms, Hollywood movies, coed swimming, most television programs, unchaperoned time with any woman, worldly parties, pornography of any sort, college fraternities, most cruises or resorts, bars or nightclubs of any kind, coed ski trips, casual phone or email contact with other women, jobs with temptresses, dinners out with other women, business trips without strict safeguards, casual relationships with married women, worldly music, lascivious novels, and any other possibility of temptation.

"Sexual sins cannot occur, if you stay far away from seducing temptations to them. Paul taught in general that Christians should not even allow a provision or opportunity for the flesh to sin (Rom 13:14). If he taught this inspired rule in general for all sins, how much more should you apply it to matters of sexual temptation, which are the most seducing and damning in life. If a thing even leans in the direction of temptation, get away from it!

"The lesson is simple. Stay far away from anything that tempts you to sexual sin. Never be a fool like Lot and pitch your tent toward Sodom (Gen 13:12). If you already live too close, move as soon as possible! It is not worth ruining your soul and family. Sexual sins can be avoided, if you cut off the sources of temptation. Replace any voids in your life with spiritual exercises and enhancing your marriage (Pro 5:19,20; Psa 119:11; 1Co 7:1-5)" (LGBT).

Pro 7:9

AT TWILIGHT, AS THE DAY WAS FADING, AS THE DARK OF NIGHT SET IN: The last phrase is literally "in the middle of the night, AND in the dark": thus the verse suggests the four successive stages, or watches, of the night. The fact that much of the night is consumed with his "walking" toward her house suggests something like pacing or sauntering back and forth, waiting for her appearance.

"I do not think he was near her house by accident. It is my opinion that he wandered toward her house purposefully, knowing where she lived. There is a song which most of you know, a very romantic one, which has to do with a man standing on the street where the one he loves lives. Had that song been written in the days of Sir Simple, he might have been humming it the night he wandered down the street near the house of Madam Folly.

"[The story is told of] what an older man witnessed at a rock concert. There was a body of water nearby and the man indignantly declared that he was repulsed by the fact that a number of young people were bathing nude, and that he knew this was so because he had been watching them for hours -- with binoculars. I think Sir Simple knew about Madam Folly because she was the talk of the town. He lingered about her house because he wanted to get a look at her, to see what sin was really like. I doubt very much that he planned to sin, or even wanted to initially, but he was looking for a thrill. Delitzsch believes that Sir Simple loitered about the corner of Madam Folly, waiting and watching for her. He says, 'On the street he went backwards and forwards, yet so that he kept near to her corner (ie, of the woman who he waited for); he never withdrew himself far from the corner of her house, and always again returned to it'. "Incidentally, this is typical of many, especially the immature who try to get as close to the flame as possible without getting burned. I don't know how many times I have heard young people ask, in effect, 'How far can I go?' Any time we seek to learn what the rules are, solely to come as close to breaking them as we can, we are courting sin. That is what I believe this young man was doing. If I have gone too far in what I have suggested, you will at least have to agree that if he did not actively seek out Madam Folly, neither did he flee from her. Many of us may prefer to be pure, but would like to be propositioned first, before we say no" (Deff).

"The beast of prey... stalks forth when the sun goes down. Night is the time for unlawful amusements and mad convivialities and lascivious revelry. [It is then that] Jezebel spreads her net, and Delilah shears the locks of Samson. Young men, take it kindly when I bid you beware of late hours. Your health forbids it; your principles forbid it; your moral sense forbids it; your safety forbids it. Purity loves the light. Late hours have proved many a young man's ruin" (Davidson, BI).

"Job describes adulterers by saying, 'The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face' (Job 24:15). In this passage, Job goes much further to describe how various wicked men hate the light (Job 24:13-17).

"Sin causes shame and guilt, and it brings punishment; so men hide sinful activities from view. Jesus said wicked men love darkness to hide their sins, lest the light reveal their evil (Joh 3:19-21). Adam and Eve tried to hide their nakedness with fig leaves and the trees of the garden (Gen 3:7,8). But darkness has always been the favorite cloak.

"During the daylight, even the worst sections of a city look free from sin and vice; but those places after dark fill with wicked persons using the night to hide their identities and activities. Drunkenness, fornication, prostitution, robbery, and murder all greatly increase at night. Bars used for meeting the opposite sex for fornication are called nightclubs for good reason -- they would never work as 'dayclubs'! Our nation's cesspools, Las Vegas for example, do their big business late in the night. Restaurants and lounges at night turn the lights down and the music up, for any woman looks better in dull light after a few drinks. And the boldness to pursue drunkenness, fornication, and other sins is greatly encouraged by the cover of darkness" (LGBT).

Pro 7:10

Vv 10-12: The huntress on the prowl for sensual gratification preying on anyone foolish enough to encourage her. "Woe to the marriage whose partners cannot find values in their home and must constantly seek outside stimulation!" (Plaut, cited in Const).

THEN OUT CAME A WOMAN TO MEET HIM: The "Behold" of AV suggests surprise: 'All of a sudden...!' As though this were nothing but a "chance" meeting... but the lead-in (vv 8,9) suggests otherwise. He was walking purposefully down this particular street, in the dead of night, toward her house. Was he walking with "Wisdom" (vv 4,5)? Who can really believe that he never intended to encounter this woman -- or someone very like her?

DRESSED LIKE A PROSTITUTE: "It seems that harlots did dress distinctively, according to Gen 38:14,15 (cf Hos 2:4). But the dress plays no role in the story and she seems to need no identification" (WBC). The harlot's attire is described in Rev 17:4: "The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls." Even with no descripton of her attire, the mere fact that this woman was out and about late at night is enough to suggest her "occupation", and her purpose -- godly women would be at home in bed!

AND WITH CRAFTY INTENT: The Hebrew is "kept secret of heart". The NET note reads: "CH Toy lists the suggestions of the commentators: false, malicious, secret, subtle, excited, hypocritical (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 (eg, Isa 48:6 as well). Interestingly enough, this contrasts with her attire which gives everything away." In summary, the text is vague enough to suggest a variety of interpretations. And perhaps that is the conclusion: when dealing with such a woman, a "simple young man" (v 6) simply has no idea what she is up to!

Further on the harlot's attire: "What is a harlot's attire? It is clothing designed and worn to attract men's eyes to a woman's body and excite the lusts of the flesh for sexual sins. It is accessories and apparel planned to maximize a woman's physical appearance for approval and attention of men. It is a woman's effort at dressing to be as visually attractive as possible.

"Christian woman, do you ever dress like a prostitute? You may not intend to do so, but if your clothes draw a man's attention to your body, then you are guilty of this wickedness. And you are an accomplice in the destruction of men's souls, even if you don't sleep with them. If you think prostitutes wear five-inch stiletto heels, fishnet hose, very short black leather skirts, and very tight, bright red sweaters, you prove ignorance of this subject!...

"The clothing industry does not seek to cover women's bodies; but to flatter, reveal, and uncover. Every year some new feature is designed to reveal more of her body in a more flattering way than before... Every Christian woman should take care to be scrupulously modest in attire. Since a woman cannot understand a man's mind, she must listen to men about lustful features of clothing, and avoid most of them...

"High heels were not invented for comfort, but to alter the shape of the calves and the movement of the hips while walking. A mincing walk is a wanton walk (Isa 3:16). Sleeveless dresses, sandals with straps, lace and gauze overlays, ankle bracelets, and many other items should concern the consciences of women striving for public modesty.

"Of course, modern women will rebel at these limitations and restrictions on their apparel choices. But the women of just a few years ago would have thought these ideas to be very inadequate for proper modesty. What is happening? Our nation is in moral freefall into the abyss of lascivious excess. True saints must look for the strait gate and narrow way! God, Who created the woman and invented sex, declared that a meek and quiet spirit is precious in His sight (1Pe 3:3,4)! In His sight? In His sight! A gracious and godly woman is beautiful to watch; but her soul and spirit are seen, rather than her body. A noble woman emphasizes holy conduct and a humble and gracious spirit over her hair, accessories, or an outfit. She will adorn herself first and foremost with holiness.

"Scripture does not teach women to be frumpy, ugly, or neglected in their appearance. In fact, the virtuous woman was a looker! But she did it in such a way to please and honor the LORD and her husband (31:10-12,22,30)... Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Abigail, and other holy women were beautiful to look upon! It is the priority that matters. A woman must emphasize a godly and gracious spirit over physical appearance.

"Christian man, since sexual sin with a strange woman begins with a look, there is safety in avoiding her presence as much as possible. You are foolishly sinful to choose places where women dress immodestly (Rom 13:14). If you cannot totally avoid her presence, then avoid looking at her. Why get your lusts even started (1Jo 2:16; Jam 1:13-16)! If you stay far away and avoid looking at immodestly dressed women, the battle is nearly won!

"If you are a husband and/or father, make sure your wife or daughters wear modest clothing, or you are an indirect accomplice to the horrible temptations of other men. The saints of God should provide holy and modest companions and assemblies for one another, where sexual temptations by immodest attire are never part of the mix. May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised by such pure and virtuous men and women!" (LGBT).

Pro 7:11

SHE IS LOUD AND DEFIANT, HER FEET NEVER STAY AT HOME: Her character is known: she is the opposite of the careful, modest housewife, who stays at home and manages her family affairs: Tit 2:5; Pro 31:10-31. The woman is represented not as a common prostitute, but as a licentious wife, who, in her unbridled lustfulness, acts the part of a harlot. She is "undisciplined" (Pro 9:13) but "stubborn" in her purpose. The "stubborn" woman attracts the son who will not listen to the instruction of the father. The people of Israel were to stone the "stubborn" son (Deu 21:18-20), who would not listen to the instruction of the Word. So the "stubborn" woman attracts the "stubborn" son -- "birds of a feather flock together"!

SHE IS LOUD: By contrast, the godly woman is known by her quietness and silence and submission. "The godly woman, who is far superior to the best whore, has a meek and quiet spirit, which God Himself considers of great value (1Pe 3:3.4). She remembers her subordinate role; she is always gracious; kindness rules her mouth; and she does not mind being silent (Pro 11:16; 31:26; 1Co 14:34,35). She considers modesty and [propriety] to be virtues (1Ti 2:9,10). When she speaks, they are words others appreciate (Pro 15:23; 24:26; 25:11)" (LGBT).

DEFIANT: Or "stubborn" (AV). "Stubbornness is a hateful trait in a woman. It truly makes her odious (Pro 30:21-23). A contentious woman makes married life miserable (Pro 12:4; 19:13; 21:9,19; 25:24; 27:15,16). Cheerfully obey without answering again, and you will see an improvement in how you are treated by husband, family, and others" (LGBT).

HER FEET NEVER STAY AT HOME: By contrast, the godly woman enjoys staying at home, and making it a better place for her husband and family. "The noble woman, who is far superior to the best whore, loves her domestic calling and cheerfully remains at home to manage the house and provide for her man and his children (Pro 31:10-31; Gen 18:9; 1Ti 5:13,14; Tit 2:4,5). She understands her very significant role in supporting her husband and caring for his children. Nursing a baby and preparing a meal for her family are delights to her soul, even if they include cleaning up the baby later and having a kitchen to clean after supper. Christian woman, will you make greater efforts this very day to be quiet, submissive, and happy in your domestic duties? You can build your house -- your family and estate -- by wisdom in these areas (Pro 14:1). You can be great in the sight of God and men by rejecting the character traits of the strange woman" (LGBT).

Pro 7:12

NOW IN THE STREET, NOW IN THE SQUARES, AT EVERY CORNER SHE LURKS: She "lies in wait" -- like a wild beast of a predator, or like an armed robber -- for her "prey". Both such creatures are generally on the prowl at night (v 9)! Waddoup writes, "Like other evil ones, her name is Legion, and she 'lieth in wait at every corner'." Sadly, this "woman" is generic: she is found in every bar, on every street corner, in every dive and hang-out of the big city -- and in lots of small towns as well!

The desperate search of the slinking and scheming stranger is contrasted with other "searches" in the Wisdom literature: (1) there is the open, day-time, universal, kind-hearted "appeal" of "Lady Wisdom" in Pro 8:1-3, and (2) there is also the desperate (but in her case, the love-driven) search by the Shullamite for her true Beloved in Song 3:1-5. The greedy "search" of the painted and perfumed harlot in Pro 7 is nothing like either of these!

"The woman here is not a street prostitute or filthy slut. She is the adulterous wife of a successful businessman (vv 19,20). She lives with her husband in a house (vv 8,11). He has provided luxurious things for her, which she uses in her enticement (vv 16,17). She is a refined woman with religious activities to cover her treacherous heart and conduct (v 14). She does not seek the young man's money: she wants to make passionate love (v 15,18). What can we learn about her, for men to avoid and women to reject? She doesn't like to stay at home! Solomon noted, 'Now she is [outside].' A whorish woman is not content to stay at home. Marital and domestic duties are drudgery to her. She looks for excuses to get out of the house. She loves the excitement and freedom of being able to come and go as she pleases, especially dressed up. She is bored and frustrated to stay at home" (LGBT).

Pro 7:13

SHE TOOK HOLD OF HIM AND KISSED HIM: And now the "predator" springs into action, with deadly results! "The narrator communicates the bold, almost ugly mood of the stranger by describing her aggressive, almost brutal greeting which follows" (WBC). Her "kiss" is more of an attack than an expression of affection. (Cp the similarities with Potiphar's wife's "assault" upon Joseph in Gen 39:12 -- which, however, Joseph resisted successfully.)

There are several kinds of kisses. A godly woman knows the differences, and she reserves the intimate ones for marriage. Under cultural, spiritual, or other circumstances, she may kiss a variety of men and women with a saluting kiss of greeting. Rachel, and her father Laban, both kissed Jacob this way (Gen 29:11,13). Joseph likewise kissed all his brothers (Gen 45:15), and Naomi kissed her daughters-in-law (Rth 1:9,14). In the Middle East today, men often kiss one another in public, without embarrassment as might be felt in the west. Paul called such kisses "holy kisses", for their total lack of sexual intent (Rom 16:16; 2Co 13:12). But there are different kisses, which are really a preliminary to and a part of lovemaking -- and ought to be reserved for marriage.

AND WITH A BRAZEN FACE SHE SAID...: The "brazen face" is elsewhere called the "brazen look of a prostitute", one who refuses to blush with shame (Jer 3:3). There is no downcast look, no averted eyes, but rather bold and brash stares, giving away her not-at-all-secret intentions with her eyes. She is in fact so brazen that she may as well have written on her forehead: "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES and of the abominations of the earth" (Rev 17:5).

Pro 7:14

I HAVE FELLOWSHIP OFFERINGS AT HOME: Called "peace offerings" in the AV. But more colloquially, "I have fresh meat at home" (NET). The "fellowship offerings" refer to the meat left over from the offering made at the sanctuary (eg, 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. In modern times religious anniversaries have too often become occasions of licence and debauchery, their solemn origin and religious uses being entirely cast aside.
¶ But at the least, this provided her a sort of "cover" for her terrible sin: a portion of the sacrifice belonged to the person who made the offering, and was to be eaten with his or her household on the same day, or the next day, as a solemn ceremonial feast (Lev 7:15,16; 19:5,6; Deu 12:6,7). So having a "guest" for the meal would give some semblance of reasonableness for her vile plan.

We should not be surprised that immoral women can APPEAR "religious"! They may even BE "religious", in the most childish and superstitious fashion. None of this is any guarantee that they are to be trusted, or believed, or consorted with in any way. Indeed, "the sacrifice of the wicked is detestable -- how much more so when brought with evil intent!" (Pro 21:27).

Also cp with the children of Israel in the wilderness: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry" (Exo 32:6; cited in 1Co 10:7). 'First we eat, and then we really have fun!'

TODAY I FULFILLED MY VOWS: She uses "religion" to ensnare the unsuspecting. Or perhaps she means that she was ceremonially clean, having finished her menstrual period. "Clean" indeed!

The base varnish of religion is often a cover for sin: (a) Eli's sons "lay with the woman who assembled at the door of the tabernacle" (1Sa 2:22). (b) Absalom used the pretext of worship as an occasion for conspiracy (2Sa 15:7-12). (c) The chief priests would not go into the Hall of Judgment so that they could "eat the Passover". However, at that time they were in the process of putting the Son of God to death (Joh 18:28)! (Bridges and Crawford).

Pro 7:15

SO I CAME OUT TO MEET YOU; I LOOKED FOR YOU AND HAVE FOUND YOU!: She tries to persuade the poor silly fool that he is the very lover for whom she was looking, when she was of course ready to take whomever was offered to her!

Pro 7:16

Vv 16,17: The "woman" of this chapter is clearly "Folly", but she portrays herself in ways which make her appear as if she is "Wisdom"! Her clothing and perfumes and furnishings suggest something good, like the Temple, but underneath is rottenness and death! Hers is a house of death, not of life.

I HAVE COVERED MY BED WITH COLORED LINENS FROM EGYPT: Her "coverings" were from Egypt; contrast this with the bed coverings belonging to the virtuous woman -- she made her own (Pro 31:22); they weren't "imported"!

COLORED LINENS: "Tapestry, carved works" (KJV) is not very accurate, according to more modern scholarship. BDB suggests "dark-hued stuffs" -- not a very pleasing translation either. NET has "elegant... richly-colored fabrics". The precise meaning of this phrase may be lost to us, but the intent is plain: she has decked out her bed with the richest and most elegant coverings (cp Amo 6:4): it will be a luxurious as well as a sensually-satisfying experience!

The adulterous woman paints an overpowering picture of the place of sexual intimacy, which she is so eager to share. But she might as well be describing a well-appointed casket, with expensive and plush cushions and covers, for she is inviting him to his death! When he lies down there, he is as good as dead!

Notice the terrible warning concerning those who followed the ways of "Jezebel" -- who promoted a strange and intoxicating mix of religion and sensuality: "By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols [cp the "fellowship offerings" of Pro 7:14]. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a BED [Pro 7:16!] of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead." (Rev 2:20-23). This "Jezebel" is plainly the prototype of the great harlot described in Rev 17; 18 as well -- who will be destroyed, along with all her lovers!

Pro 7:17

I HAVE PERFUMED MY BED WITH MYRRH, ALOES AND CINNAMON: Language used elsewhere (Psa 45:8; Song 4:14; John 19:39) of Jesus and his resurrection: the words are beautiful, but here the intention is evil. Men are often led into sin by what, at first blush, might seem reasonable and innocent; by small degrees they are led further and deeper into the labyrinth of sin and death.

The myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon are ingredients in the holy anointing oil (Exo 30:23).

MYRRH: Myrrh is a very expensive Arabian gum from the bark of a tree, used in oils and perfumes. The wise men who came to Bethlehem brought gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh to the newborn Messiah (Mat 2:11). Myrrh is "an expensive luxury item, which had to be imported into Israel. In liquid form it could be carried in small bottles like nard, but it was also used in solid form in which it was carried in a small cloth pouch or sachet worn next to the body. The myrrh was mixed with fat and shaped into cones and as the fat melted from the body heat, the aroma of myrrh and the anointing oil would perfume a woman's body. Because it had a very strong aroma which would last for long periods of time, women often wore it to bed to perfume themselves for the next day. Because of its beautiful fragrance, it is associated with romance (eg Isa 3:24)" (NETn). Myrrh signifies purification (Est 2:12) as well as suffering and crucifixion.

ALOES: Hebrew "ahalim": Num 24:6; Song 4:14. The sandalwood was a large tree with a very fine wood, containing a resin, and an essential oil, constituting a perfume greatly prized. It was used, along with myrrh, in the burial of Christ (Joh 19:39,40). The Heb signifies "tents", suggestive of the wilderness wanderings and trials of the children of Israel. Not the same as the medicinal aloes widely used today.

CINNAMON: The inner bark of the cinnamon tree was prized as a spice both for perfumery and for cooking, as it is today. It is a 25 to 30 foot high tree of the laurel family. It is native to the islands of Ceylon and Java, but cultivated in other tropical lands, and the spice was a costly import in Bible times. Its fragrance perfumed the bed (as here) and described the beauty of the "beloved" in Song 4:14 -- what a contrast! Cinnamon appears in Rev 18:13, along with myrrh and frankincense, as one of the luxury items traded by fallen Babylon.

"Decorating and perfuming the bed were additional tools of capturing all the senses of a man. The lovemaking experience would be powerfully pleasant and memorable. Simple smells can resurrect ancient memories. The perfect wife in Solomon's Song perfumed herself and her garments (Song 1:12,13; 4:10-15; 5:5).

"Now you listen, young man. The olfactory pleasure of this whore and her offered intimacy is great, very great. The aromatic pleasure, coupled with the delight of the other senses, has stolen the hearts and minds of many men. Your nose will powerfully tell you that this hot, perfumed, womanly creature and her bed offer great pleasure.

"But young man, have you smelled death before? Have you had a good whiff of [Gehenna]? Have you smelled the sweat of fear? Have you discovered the scent of a polluted conscience? These are the horrible smells that the morning light will bring! Plug your nose now, and run from her! She lies! Her bed lies! She is disguising the smell of death and hell that are hiding there (v 27)! Plug your nose now, and run from her!

"If you get close enough to this woman to feel the perfumed heat emanating from her body and smell her fragrance, you have chosen the death of a fool! You are playing Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded! Plug your nose now, and run from her! Your only true safety is staying far away from her (Pro 4:14,15; 5:8; Mat 5:29.30; Rom 13:14)" (LGBT).

Pro 7:18

COME, LET'S DRINK DEEP OF LOVE: "Dodim" is the plural: it suggests multiple acts of sexual intercourse. "Let's get drunk with our love-making." As though "having a really good time" is justification enough for sin. The inebriation she holds out to the simpleton is a gross caricature of the beautiful love described in Song 1:2.

TILL MORNING: The harlot offers perishable items and temporary solace, only "until the morning"! It will never last long enough!

LET'S ENJOY OURSELVES WITH LOVE!: Precisely, "let's rejoice..." What a concept! Indeed, "rejoicing" was to accompany the eating of the fellowship offering with one's family and friends -- but it was to be rejoicing in the presence of the LORD God, because of His special blessings (Deu 12:7). It was, of course, to be nothing remotely like the "rejoicing" this foul woman holds out to the young fool!

Pro 7:19

MY HUSBAND IS NOT AT HOME; HE HAS GONE ON A LONG JOURNEY: Probably spoken contemptuously, as if to say she had no love or respect for him. But since he will be gone for quite some time, there is no fear of discovery and reprisal and revenge (Pro 6:32-35).

Pro 7:20

HE TOOK HIS PURSE FILLED WITH MONEY AND WILL NOT BE HOME TILL FULL MOON: Cp lesson of Luk 12:46; Mat 25:6: Christ's parables tell of the master of the house, and the bridegroom, coming at a time when some are not expecting them, or not ready. Our master will soon return -- the Lord of glory, the bridegroom returning for his bride (Mat 24:42-51; Mar 13:34-37; 1Th 3:13; 5:1-10; 2Pe 3:9-17; 2Co 11:1,2). Will he find us waiting for him in adoring purity and faithfulness? Or will he find us "in bed" with the world (Jam 4:4)?

AND WILL NOT BE HOME TILL FULL MOON: The KJV's "time appointed" is "kese", literally the "full moon". Judging from how dark the night seems (v 9), this could suggest that he'll be away for another two weeks or so!

Pro 7:21

WITH PERSUASIVE WORDS SHE LED HIM ASTRAY: There is powerful irony here: her "persuasive words" may be translated "fullness of doctrine, or teaching"; the Hebrew "leqach" is the sw used of the "learning" of the wise (Pro 1:5), "sound learning" (Pro 4:2), and the "learning" of the righteous (Pro 9:9). The poor fool has neglected -- perhaps even scoffed at -- all true and right teaching, but has fallen for the silliest, the emptiest, the most degrading of "teaching": the smooth whispers of a debased, corrupt, amoral woman. He had his choice -- of virtuous or vicious "teaching" -- and he chose the latter.

SHE SEDUCED HIM WITH HER SMOOTH TALK: "Seduced" is "nadach" -- literally to compel or force. As though any man could be forced to do something against his will by smooth talk only! Yet, tragically, it seems to happen all the time. Paul writes of "the work of [the adversary] displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness" (2Th 2:9-12). His words fitly describe what we see here.

It has been said that the three most common lies are: (1) "The check's is the mail"; (2) "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you!"; and (3) "Of course I'll respect you in the morning." There is, of course, a bit of humor, and more than a bit of truth in all of this!

This leads us to contemplate the dozen most common lies told by the seductive woman -- and they are all here, in Pro 7!:
¶ * (1) "I am really a good girl: I am no 'easy' woman: sleeping with me will not be sin" (v 14).
* (2) "I have prepared all this for you and you only; let's just enjoy ourselves" (v 14).
* (3) "I have waited all my life for a man like you" (v 15).
* (4) "I couldn't imagine being with anybody else" (v 15).
* (5) "I care about you more than any other woman could" (v 17).
* (6) "We surely have a love between us that no one else has ever had before" (v 18).
* (7) "Let us fully experience the depths of this unique, special love we have" (v 18).
* (8) "No woman has ever felt as strongly about any man as I feel about you" (v 18).
* (9) "Our lovemaking will exceed all the lovemaking in the world's history" (v 18).
* (10) "Our love and pleasure will last all night... and all our lives. It will last forever" (v 18).
* (11) "There's nothing to worry about; the old man is away on a long business trip" (v 19).
* (12) "He loves business more than me; he never really cared about me; I need your body and your love so much" (v 19).

Pro 7:22

ALL AT ONCE: The AV and RV have "straightway", which is somewhat misleading -- implying the passing of more time than is warranted. Better is "immediately, suddenly" or, as the NIV, "all at once" -- yielding quickly, without thinking about the consequences. "He does not dare to think of Jehovah, or of his own relation to Him, nor yet of father and mother, of brothers or sisters; of the irreparable wrong to the absent husband; of his own sin and crime, to say nothing of yielding to so vile a paramour, or of the affront to society, degraded and godless as it is" (Kelly).

HE FOLLOWED HER LIKE AN OX GOING TO THE SLAUGHTER: Like an irrational brute beast, he cannot envision hidden danger. Gill says, "led by the butcher, as if it was going to a pasture, when it is going to the slaughter house. So such persons as are ensnared by harlots; they follow them in a view of pleasure, but it ends in ruin." His downfall is now inevitable.

"Suddenly he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter... I have made many quick decisions in my life, some of which I have later regret-ted. I can remember having a salesman sitting in our living room, urging my wife and me to make an immediate decision because his offer was only good for the moment. Sir Simple made a quick decision to follow Madam Folly, as it were, to the slaughter. To Sir Simple the spiced sheets of Madam Folly were like the carrot dangled before the ox as he is coaxed into the slaughter house (vv 22,23). Fixing his attention only on the momentary pleasures offered by Madam Folly, Sir Simple had no sense of the danger ahead. He virtually pushed and shoved, hastening his own destruction.

"While it is important to observe the Sir Simple's decision was made on impulse, it is also necessary to point out that it was but the last of a sequence of sinful decisions finalizing what had already been set in motion. I have had the experience of buying only one house, but I learned that purchasing a house involves a series of decisions and signings. One first makes a formal offer and signs it; then there is a contract signed by both parties. Finally, some time later, there is the closing, when the papers are signed which transfer the ownership of the house to the buyer.

"Sir Simple only 'closed the deal' with his decision in v 22. He unwisely strolled about town, in the wrong place and at the wrong time of night. He was, as they say, 'looking for trouble.' When Madam Folly approached him and boldly proposi-tioned him, he did not flee. She flattered him, and he liked it. She enticed him, and he pondered her proposition. She assured him that a night with her would be both sensual and safe, and he believed her.

"My point is that none of us should ever willingly put ourselves in the position of having to make a decision with Madam Folly standing before us on a lonely street corner in the middle of the night. Decisions made in these circumstances are exceed-ingly dangerous. Once we have determined to court sin, going as far as we can without getting caught, we are an easy prey for Madam Folly. How much easier it would have been for Sir Simple to have decided to go home and go to bed, than to 'stand on the corner, watching all the girls go by' " (Deff).

LIKE A DEER STEPPING INTO A NOOSE: The NIV margin states: "The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain." No animal is specified, and the word translated "noose" can mean "anklets" (sw Isa 3:16) or "bonds" or "fetters" (thus the AV: "as a fool to the correction of the stocks"); so there is some conjecture here. From the presumed parallelism with the first phrase, however, it would seem that some animal is intended here, but which? The LXX has "as a dog to a chain". The NET is powerful, whether correct of not, and it certain fits the parallel: "like a stag prancing into a trapper's snare."

A method used by North African tribesmen to catch monkeys: the hunter hollows out a gourd and makes a hole in its side just large enough for a monkey to insert his open hand. Then he fills the gourd with nuts and ties it to a tree. Attracted by the smell of its appealing contents, the monkey reaches inside and grasps the nuts. The hole in the gourd is too small, however, for the animal to withdraw his fist as long as it remains clenched tightly around the cherished delicacies. Refusing to release his prize, the monkey falls easy prey to his captor. If he would only relax his grasp on the desired treasure, he could escape being caught. But because he is unwilling to do this, he is captured by the hunter. Actually, he has trapped himself. And this is precisely what happens -- here -- to the young simpleton: he has been trapped and destroyed by his own desires, or lusts.

Pro 7:23

TILL AN ARROW PIERCES HIS LIVER, LIKE A BIRD DARTING INTO A SNARE, LITTLE KNOWING IT WILL COST HIM HIS LIFE: The meaning of the line could refer to moral corruption and social disgrace rather than a physical death -- but this would not rule out physical death too. (A life of drunkenness and dissipation may, ironically, destroy the liver first -- did Solomon actually realize this? -- and the rest of the body soon follows!) As to a quick death, cp Num 25:7,8: the fate of the Israelite who lay with the Midianite woman in his tent "before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly", and was pierced through and through by the spear of Phinehas. "Cupid's arrow" can be deadly!

IT WILL COST HIM HIS LIFE: We must not forget that the Great Whore deals in "the bodies and souls [the very lives!] of men" (Rev 18:13) -- they are her "stock in trade"!

Pro 7:24

Vv 24-27: "In the epilogue to this story Solomon advised a three-fold defense against this temptation. First, guard your heart (v 25). We are in danger when we begin to desire and long for an adulterous affair. Fantasizing such an affair is one symptom that we are in this danger. Second, guard your body (v 25). Do not go near or stay near someone who may want an adulterous affair. Third, guard your future (vv 26,27). Remember the consequences of having an adulterous affair before you get involved. 'A 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' (Ross)" (Const).

NOW THEN, MY SONS, LISTEN TO ME; PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I SAY: Cp Pro 5:7. The translation "my sons" works well here, in view of the subject matter of the chapter.

"What is a father for? To bring home the bacon? To protect the home at night against intruders? To play ball in the yard? To provide an allowance for candy and junk? To finance a college education? The LORD, Creator of heaven and earth, declared fathers are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

"What should a father teach? How to ride a bicycle? How to balance a checkbook? How to drive a car? God declared fathers are to teach the fear of the LORD and to keep the way of the LORD (Psa 34:11; Gen 18:19). Since fearing God and keeping His commandments is the whole duty of man, this is his primary goal of teaching (Ecc 12:13,14; Psa 78:1-8).

"God condemns fornication, or sex outside marriage (Heb 13:4). Solomon used this chapter to warn his son against the danger of whorish women. After introducing the subject (Pro 7:1-5), he wrote a lengthy parable of a foolish young man seduced to destruction by a strange woman (vv 6-23). Our proverb begins his summary warning (vv 24-27).

"It is a shame most Christian fathers are not as open, practical, and realistic as Solomon, especially in this lascivious generation. Rather than being prudish and silent about sexual temptations, fathers need to warn against them with every technique they can muster. The danger is great; the temptations are everywhere; young men need such fathers!

"Solomon applied his parable by calling his children to listen to him. Due to the subject matter, they were not infants or young children. Fathers know far more about these things than sons in their teens or twenties. He told his children to listen and pay attention. He used the horrible fate of the young man to show they needed this instruction and warning.

"Father! Do not be intimidated! Do not be ashamed! Do not be reluctant! Your son faces temptations of pornography, casual sex, and forward women. Be open, practical, and realistic. Bring the word of God to bear on this important area of his life. Compare Joseph and Samson. Describe the details that made Joseph greater than David.

"Children! When your father, or mother, speaks to you about the sexual matters of life, listen to them! Pay attention! You are still a simple youth void of understanding (v 7). Make it easy for them to teach you. Tell them your temptations. Thank them for talking" (LGBT).

Pro 7:25

DO NOT LET YOUR HEART TURN TO HER WAYS OR STRAY INTO HER PATHS: Such warnings have come our way in the book of Proverbs already (Pro 4:4,15; 5:8,23; 6:25). Sin begins in the heart (Jam 1:13-16). If you have not thought of a sin or desired it, you will hardly do it. But "the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jer 17:9). So you must keep your heart with all diligence (Pro 4:23). Exercise your heart in spiritual and noble directions; do not let it slip to its fleshly and lascivious ways. If David had been at battle, where he belonged, he would not have seen Bathsheba (2Sa 11:1,2). And if he had then stayed that night in the domestic security of his palace, he would not have seen her. But he ventured out where he did not need to be. Samson could have avoided all his problems with Philistine women, if he had only stayed at home.

Pro 7:26

MANY ARE THE VICTIMS SHE HAS BROUGHT DOWN; HER SLAIN ARE A MIGHTY THRONG: "The harlot marks her course with ruined souls, as a ruthless conqueror leaves a field of battle strewn with corpses" (Pulpit). If it is true that "David [has slain] his tens of thousands" (1Sa 18:7,8; 21:11; 29:5), what of those slain by this "woman"?

"For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her" (AV). "Wounded in their name, character, and reputation; in their bodies by diseases; and in their souls by guilt, shame, and horror, through a compliance with her sinful lusts: these she 'cast down' from the honours they were possessed of, from the health they enjoyed, and from the peace and tranquillity of mind they formerly felt within them. And not a single person, as the young man instanced in, or a few only, but 'many'; great multitudes, hundreds and thousands, and those not weak, and foolish, and inconstant, as he might be thought to be; but such as were 'great' and mighty, as the word also signifies; men of great riches, and wisdom, and courage; as soldiers, mighty men of war, such as wound and kill others; which seems the true sense of the word here used: and therefore none ought to trust in themselves, nor trust themselves in her company, nor in the least decline to her ways; and especially such as are weak and unskilful, and ignorant of her devices, as the 'children' here addressed" (Gill).

Pro 7:27

HER HOUSE: The house of the adulterous woman is soon to be contrasted with the lovely house of "Lady Wisdom" (Pro 9:1-4) -- a beautiful and open place, characterized prominently by its seven majestic pillars... a house filled with love and joy and light, with good food and wholesome companionship. "Wisdom" has invited all to be her guests at her home, and they come openly and in the daytime, unafraid. "Folly" invites the young simpletons to her house, but they must come at night, secretly. There is food there -- but it is poison! There is "entertainment", but it is degrading and abominable. Instead of love and joy and light, there is -- in the house of Folly -- ugly lust and fear and darkness... and at last, death.

IS A HIGHWAY TO THE GRAVE: "Hell" in KJV, but "Sheol" (merely transliterated from the Hebrew) in the RSV. And so also in the NIV margin: "Sheol", the hidden or covered place, is surely the place of death, or the grave. (Cp generally Pro 2:18; 5:5.)

LEADING DOWN TO THE CHAMBERS OF DEATH: The "chambers of death" might as well, in the Hebrew, be "the bedroom of death" -- which bedroom figures so prominently (vv 16-18) in this chapter. This is a comment on the subtlety of the temptation: the lovely and luxurious bedroom of the "strange woman" is in fact a grave! And the young simpleton is lying down with... a corpse! And so the "cup of fornication" (Rev 17:2; 18:9) must soon be exchanged for the "cup of trembling" (Jer 25:15,16), and the "cup" of death!

This verse recalls -- or is recalled by -- the old saying: "The road to hell" -- more properly, of course, the road to the "grave" -- "is paved with good intentions." And so it is here. Yes, there surely are good INTENTIONS on the part of the foolish young man: he surely didn't INTEND to make illicit sex and debuachery his life's work. It was fun and games for a while, but he did INTEND to turn back, to family and work and a respectable life, before long. He just wanted to have "a good time" while he was young, sowing his "wild oats". But the first step down the "slippery slope" was followed by a second -- and it WAS so much fun... and then a third followed. He could still look back, over his shoulder, and see where he had come from, and he did INTEND to go back there... but his "friends" had both arms, and they were urging him onward and downward, and -- well -- it just wouldn't be "good form" to say "No!" now. Maybe later. And downward they continued, while the music played and the laughter tinkled around him, and now he could no longer see home and family back there, behind him. 'Maybe I can break away,' he thought, but No! it was just too difficult. 'Maybe tomorrow! Next week at the latest!' And still they moved -- didn't it seem they were going faster now? -- ever downward, down the long and winding staircase. They had left the bedroom, they had left the bar, and now they seemed to be entering a cave, but still music played and people seemed to be having a good time. A couple of more twists and turns, and now the cave gave way to a vast pit. How had it come to this? 'NOW for sure, I'll turn back!' But he seemed to lack the strength, and the will -- the swirl and motion was pulling him ever downward... into the deep pit! 'I MUST go back, now...' But now... the lid was coming down on the coffin; the great stone was being rolled across the mouth of the sepulcher. "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death" (WSh).

It is now, with some relief, that we depart this dreadful atmosphere, with its sickly sweet smell of death, and breathe in the fresh air of life and righteousness to be found in Pro 8.

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