Proverbs 31:3 MEANING

Proverbs 31:3
(3) Nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.--A slight change in the punctuation will give a better sense, "to those that destroy kings," i.e., women. Give not thy life to dissipation at their bidding. (Comp. Proverbs 6:24, sqq.; 1 Kings 11:1).

Verse 3. - Exhortation to chastity. Give not thy strength unto women (comp. Proverbs 5:9). Chayil is "vigour," the bodily powers, which are sapped and enervated by sensuality. The Septuagint has σὸν πλοῦτον; the Vulgate, substantiam tuam; but the prayerful, anxious mother would consider rather her son's personal well being than his worldly circumstances, which, indeed, an Eastern monarch's licentiousness would not necessarily impair. Nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings; or, with a slight alteration in the punctuation (and an improved parallelism), to them that destroy kings; "expugnatricibus regum," as Schultens terms them. Women are meant; and the prince is enjoined not to surrender his life, conduct, and actions to the influence of women, who, both by the dissipation and sensuality which they occasion, and the quarrels which they provoke, and the evil counsels which they give, often ruin kings and states (see the injunction, Deuteronomy 17:11). The Vulgate rendering, ad delendos reges, looks as if the warning was against making wars of conquest against neighbouring kings; but this is not a satisfactory parallel to the former clause. Septuagint, "Give not thy wealth unto women, nor thy mind, nor thy life unto remorse (ὑστεροβολίαν). Do all things with counsel; drink wine with counsel." This seems to belong to the next verse.

31:1-9 When children are under the mother's eye, she has an opportunity of fashioning their minds aright. Those who are grown up, should often call to mind the good teaching they received when children. The many awful instances of promising characters who have been ruined by vile women, and love of wine, should warn every one to avoid these evils. Wine is to be used for want or medicine. Every creature of God is good, and wine, though abused, has its use. By the same rule, due praise and consolation should be used as cordials to the dejected and tempted, not administered to the confident and self-sufficient. All in authority should be more carefully temperate even than other men; and should be protectors of those who are unable or afraid to plead their own cause. Our blessed Lord did not decline the bitterest dregs of the cup of sorrow put into his hands; but he puts the cup of consolation into the hands of his people, and causes those to rejoice who are in the deepest distress.Give not thy strength unto women,.... Strength of body, which is weakened by an excessive use of venery (b) with a multiplicity of women; see, Proverbs 5:9; and strength of mind, reason, and wisdom, which is impaired by conversation with such persons; whereby time is consumed and lost, which should be spent in the improvement of knowledge: or "thy riches", as the Septuagint and Arabic versions, thy substance, which harlots devour, and who bring a man to a piece of bread, as the prodigal was, Proverbs 6:26; and even drain the coffers of kings and princes;

nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings; do not give thy mind to take such courses, and pursue such ways and methods, as bring ruin on kings and kingdoms, as conversation with harlots does; see Proverbs 7:26. Some think the design of this advice is to warn against any ambitious views of enlarging his dominions by invading neighbouring countries, and making war with neighbouring kings, to the ruin of them; but the former sense seems best. The Targum is,

"nor thy ways to the daughters of kings.''

Solomon was given to women, who proved very pernicious to him, 1 Kings 11:1. Some render it, "which destroyeth counsel" (c); for whoredom weakens the mind as well as the body.

(b) "Venus enervat vireis", Avienus. (c) Don Joseph apud Schindler. col. 990.

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