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Solomon exhorteth to the study of wisdom; he sheweth the mischief of fornication and riot: he exhorteth to contentedness, liberality, and chastity. The wicked are overtaken with their own sins.
Proverbs 5:1. My son attend, &c.— There being nothing to which youth is so prone as to give up themselves to their fleshly desires, and nothing so pernicious to them as to converse with harlots, the wise man renews his cautions against impure lusts, as destructive of true wisdom; and with repeated entreaties begs attention to so weighty an argument, which here he prosecutes more largely, and presses not only with singular elegance, but powerful reasoning. The principal things to be learned in this chapter are, not to believe every thing to be good for us which pleases the flesh for the present; but in the beginning of any pleasure to look to the end of it; to avoid the company of harlots; to use due care in the choice of a wife; to love her very tenderly; and to restrain ourselves from inordinate affections by the consideration of God's omnipresence. See Bishop Patrick.
Proverbs 5:2-3. That thy lips may keep knowledge— The LXX read, The understanding of my lips commands thee; have nothing to do with a strange woman; for honey distilleth from the lips of a woman who is a fornicator, which may for a time fatten thy cheeks. See Wall and Houbigant.
Proverbs 5:6. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life— Houbigant renders this, She is far from following the way of life: her steps wander whither she herself knoweth not: which is very like the Chaldee. The design of the wise man seems to be, to point out the inconstancy, irregularity, and wickedness, of the strange woman's life. Her ways are inconstant; she is not attached to her husband, or to any one man, but abandons herself to the first comer; has neither knowledge, wisdom, nor discernment; she has no other rule than her passion, no other end than her pleasure. She is profligate, and wholly lost, says Schultens; affected neither by the fear of God, nor the care of her own salvation. See ch. Proverbs 2:18-19.
Proverbs 5:9. Lest thou give thine honour unto others— The word others אחרים acheirim, denoted, among the Israelites, strangers; aliens from the true religion, and also its enemies. I suppose it has respect to selling into slavery, by which a person puts himself under the yoke of strangers. It was a great crime to sell one's self; a greater to do so to strangers and aliens from the worship of the true God. He who cleaves to an adulteress sells himself from the family of God, and delivers himself into a foreign house and servitude.
Thine honour, or glory, signifies, "The glory of thy name; the glory of a nation consecrated to God; the glory of liberty; and the prerogative of a glorious immortality, to which thou art called." Thy years are the season of life, delivered or given up to the cruel, by him who, when he ought to be free, and the master of himself, and of his own time, can no longer enjoy light and liberty, after he has submitted himself to the heavy yoke of lust; but, as it were cast into prison, is compelled every day to submit to a cruel and hard tyrant. See Horat. Ephesians 1:0; Ephesians 2:0 and Schultens. Some of the versions, which Houbigant follows, render the first clause, Lest thou give thy strength or vigour to others.
Proverbs 5:11. And thou mourn at the last— When in the decline of life thou shalt be without strength, without vigour, without children, without support, without resource. We must recollect the great desire which the Hebrews had for children and a numerous family, in order fully to conceive the remorse of the man who finds himself, through his own fault, incapacitated from having legitimate children; of a man used to debauchery, and surrounded with the evils which are the natural consequences of intemperance. The wise man here plainly points at that shameful disease, which he does not choose to name, but which has been in all ages the just punishment of the debauched. The writer of Ecclesiasticus has alluded to it, Ch. Proverbs 19:2-3. Calmet.
Proverbs 5:14. I was almost in all evil— I am plunged into almost all evils in the midst of the assembly of my people. Calmet. Houbigant renders it, I am well nigh become the most miserable of all those amongst whom I live. "What a wretched man am I! There is scarcely any misery in respect of estate, or body, or soul, into which I am not already plunged." The words also are, and may be well rendered thus, In a moment I am come into almost all evil. "In how little a time, and for what short and momentary pleasures, am I now reduced to extreme and remediless evils!"
Proverbs 5:15. Drink waters out of thine own cistern— The allegory here begun is carried on through several verses. It has been differently understood; but the interpretation which seems most generally followed, is that of those who conceive that the wise man here subjoins a commendation of matrimony and the chaste preservation of the marriage-bed for the propagation of a legitimate offspring, to his dehortation from illegitimate practices and stolen waters; and Schultens observes, that no figure is more elegant, or more common among the easterns, than this. See Numbers 24:7. Isaiah 48:1; Isaiah 51:1.Jeremiah 2:23; Jeremiah 2:23. According to this sense of the allegory, the next verse must refer to children, and the meaning of the two verses is this, "Live with your wife faithfully and chastely, that you may see with pleasure a lovely and numerous family proceed from your house." Some follow here the version of the LXX. Let not thy waters overflow, or be dispersed from thy fountain; and let thy waters run, or flow in thine own streets. They observe, that from Proverbs 5:3-15. Solomon dissuades his son from following strange women; and from Pro 5:15-20 advises him in figurative terms to confine himself to his own wife. The Vatican, Origen, Clement of Alexandria, Aquila, all read in the negative. See Houbigant's notes.
Proverbs 5:17. Let them be only thine own— Possess them alone: "Love only your wife, and give not to her any occasion, by your irregularity, to charge you with infidelity; guard her in such a manner, that she may not be exposed to the seduction of evil men."
Proverbs 5:18. Let thy fountain be blessed— That your wife may be fruitful, and God may bless you with a numerous posterity. The next clause very clearly points out the meaning of the metaphor.
Proverbs 5:19. Let her be as the loving hind— Bishop Patrick observes, that the wise man describes allegorically the felicities of the nuptial state under the comparison of a domestic fountain, where a man may quench his natural thirst, and from whence streams, that is, children, may be derived to serve the public good; and, secondly, under the comparison of a young hind, and a roe, which naturalists have observed to be very fond creatures, and which were usually kept by the greater persons in their palaces, who diverted themselves with them, and adorned them with chains and garlands. See Scheuchzer on the place. Bochart hath shewn, that the יעלת iangalath, which we translate roe, is a creature which lived in mountainous places, and could climb the steepest rocks. Instead of her breasts, Houbigant reads, her loves; let her loves, or love, always inebriate, or satisfy thee. See Pro 7:18 and Virgil, AEneid, vii. ver. 483.
Proverbs 5:21. For the ways of a man are before the Lord— See Psalms 139:0. Instead of pondereth, in the next clause, we may read measureth.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 5". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany