Proverbs 30:20 MEANING

Proverbs 30:20
(20) Such is the way of an adulterous woman.--As there is no proof of her guilt, she flatly denies it.

Verse 20. - This verse is a kind of gloss or illustration of the last thought of the preceding verse, and seems not to have formed an original part of the numerical proverb. It might well be placed in a parenthesis. Many commentators consider it to be an interpolation. Such is the way of an adulterous woman. What Agur had said of a man above, he now applies to the practised adulteress, whose sin cannot be traced. She eateth. This is a euphemism for the sin which she commits, "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant" (Proverbs 9:17; comp. Proverbs 5:15). And wipeth her mouth, as if to leave no trace of her illicit repast. And saith, I have done no wickedness. As she has sinned in secret, and there is no outward proof of her guilt, she boldly denies it. Septuagint, "Such is the way of an adulterous woman, who, when she has committed the act, having washed herself, says she has done nothing amiss." She forgets him who seeth in secret, and is quite content to escape detection at man's eyes, and to assume the character of a virtuous wife, which popular report assigns to her.

30:10 Slander not a servant to his master, accuse him not in small matters, to make mischief. 11-14. In every age there are monsters of ingratitude who ill-treat their parents. Many persuade themselves they are holy persons, whose hearts are full of sin, and who practise secret wickedness. There are others whose lofty pride is manifest. There have also been cruel monsters in every age. 15-17. Cruelty and covetousness are two daughters of the horseleech, that still cry, Give, give, and they are continually uneasy to themselves. Four things never are satisfied, to which these devourers are compared. Those are never rich that are always coveting. And many who have come to a bad end, have owned that their wicked courses began by despising their parents' authority. 18-20. Four things cannot be fully known. The kingdom of nature is full of marvels. The fourth is a mystery of iniquity; the cursed arts by which a vile seducer gains the affections of a female; and the arts which a vile woman uses to conceal her wickedness. 21-23 Four sorts of persons are very troublesome. Men of low origin and base spirit, who, getting authority, become tyrants. Foolish and violent men indulging in excesses. A woman of a contentious spirit and vicious habits. A servant who has obtained undue influence. Let those whom Providence has advanced from low beginnings, carefully watch against that sin which most easily besets them.Such is the way of an adulterous woman,.... It is equally unknown as the way of a man with a maid; it is difficult to detect her, she takes so much care and caution, and uses so many artful methods to conceal her wickedness from her husband; though she lives in adultery, it is in a most private manner, and carried on so secretly and artfully that she is not easily discovered;

she eateth, and wipeth her mouth; like one that eats what he should not, wipes his mouth that it might not be known or suspected he had ate anything; so such an adulteress commits the sin of adultery; and when she has done looks as grave and demure, and carries it so to her husband and all her friends, as if she was the chastest person upon earth. The allusion may be to harlots, who after an impure congress used to wash themselves (a), and had servants to wait upon them and serve them with water, called from hence "aquarioli" (b);

and saith, I have done no wickedness; she says by her behaviour, by her demure looks; and if suspected and challenged with it utterly denies it. This is an emblem of the antichristian whore of Rome, who, though the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth; though guilty of the foulest adultery, that is, the grossest idolatry, yet pretends to be the pure and chaste spouse of Christ; and, under the guise of purity and holiness, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, seduces the minds of many; see Revelation 17:1.

(a) "Dedecus hoc sumpta dissimulavit aqua", Ovid. Amor. l. 3. Eleg. 6. in fine. (b) Tertull. Apolog. c. 43. Vid. Turnebi Adversar. l. 14. c. 12.

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