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Warning against Wantonness
v. 1. My son, attend unto my wisdom, giving heed to its precepts, and bow thine ear, in the attitude of the most careful listening, to my understanding, both the possession of knowledge and the proper exercise of discrimination in applying it to the various situations of life being urged,
v. 2. that thou mayest regard discretion, the reflection and consideration needed for circumspect behavior, and that thy lips may keep knowledge, preserving its instructions word for word and repeating them often, lest they be forgotten. This is placed in contrast to the seductions of the wanton woman.
v. 3. For the lips of a strange woman, of a harlot, drop as an honeycomb, with seductive invitations, and her mouth is smoother than oil, in framing flattering and alluring speeches;
v. 4. but her end, her future, the reward which is sure to strike her, is bitter as wormwood, the universal emblem of poisonous bitterness, sharp as a two-edged sword, such is the final result of yielding to her seductions.
v. 5. Her feet go down to death, whither she leads all those who have yielded to her blandishments; her steps take hold on hell, the course of her life ends in everlasting destruction.
v. 6. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, or, "Far from treading the pathway of life," her ways are movable, her steps stray from that which is right and good, that thou canst not know them, rather, she knows not whither and does not seem to care, the result being that all who attempt to follow her will be stricken with a dizziness which will prevent them from seeing and considering in a normal manner.
v. 7. Hear me now, therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth, this admonition being based upon the picture just drawn and introducing the following warning.
v. 8. Remove thy way far from her, for safety, in the case of this temptation, does not lie in attempting to give battle, but in fleeing and keeping one's distance, and come not nigh the door of her house, thereby risking and inviting temptation,
v. 9. lest thou give thine honor unto others, for there is not only the exposure of the fornicator to be considered, but also the fact that the harlot and her favorites will succeed in taking the respect of men from their victim, and thy years unto the cruel, the wanton woman and the procurers employed by her, who calmly and cruelly ruin the health of those who are seduced by ~them and take their riches into the bargain;
v. 10. lest strangers be filled with thy wealth, enjoying their fill in consuming the, labor and strength of their victim, and thy labors, what a man has worked for with hard labor, be in the house of a stranger, the harlot being so designated because originally all that plied her trade were foreigners,
v. 11. and thou mourn at the last, groaning in distress when it is too late, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, this being the punishment which will eventually strike the libertine,
v. 12. and say, How have I hated instruction, as here given, and my heart despised reproof, by which earnest men, true friends, tried to keep him from the path of lewdness;
v. 13. and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! Such is the vain lament of the ruined sinner over his neglect of warning and his sad fate in being brought to public disgrace.
v. 14. I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly, literally, "Almost I had been in the extremity of evil in the midst of assembly and congregation," that is, he had just barely escaped the height of ruin, open condemnation in the midst of the congregation, which might have resulted in severe punishment for him. Such is the way of sin, to hold alluring temptations before the eyes of the unwary and then to plunge him into the greatest misery, the victim's repentance often coming too late.
Chastity Contrasted with Unchastity
v. 15. Drink waters out of thine own cistern and running waters out of thine own well, seeking the satisfaction of permitted desire and intercourse only and alone within the bounds of holy wedlock.
v. 16. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad and rivers of waters in the streets, in the proper enjoyment of marital love.
v. 17. Let them be only thine own, that is, the waters of this fountain in lawful wedlock, and not strangers' with thee, in illegitimate intercourse.
v. 18. Let thy fountain be blessed, the children of lawful wedlock being gifts of the Lord, and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Cf Deuteronomy 24:5; Ecclesiastes 9:9.
v. 19. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe, or the graceful gazelle, emblems of the graceful, fascinating, lively nature of a young wife; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times, her bosom charming her husband, and be thou ravished always with her love, said of the ecstatic joy of the loving husband which meets with the glad approval of God within holy wedlock.
v. 20. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, with a wanton harlot, professing the same delight in her company which he might and should lawfully have with the wife given him by the Lord, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? of one in whose case such familiarity is excluded by the prohibition of the Sixth Commandment.
v. 21. For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings, His omniscience marking the conduct of every person and noting every unchaste desire, thought, word, and act.
v. 22. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, overtake every evil-doer, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins, as fetters holding him captive and keeping him securely for the final punishment.
v. 23. He shall die without instruction, for want of correction, because he would not accept it, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray, thus bringing destruction upon himself. Such is the way of the libertine, a few years of forbidden voluptuousness followed by everlasting condemnation.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 5". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany