Proverbs 6 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Proverbs 6
Pulpit Commentary
My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
Verses 1-35. - The sixth chapter embraces four distinct discourses, each of which is a warning. The subjects treated of are

(1) suretyship (vers. 1-5);

(2) sloth (vers. 6-11);

(3) malice (vers. 12-19); and

(4) adultery (ver. 20 to the end).

The continuity of the subject treated of in the preceding chapter appears to be somewhat abruptly interrupted to make way for the insertion of three discourses on subjects which apparently have little connection with what precedes and what follows. Their unlooked for and unexpected appearance has led Hitzig to regard them as interpolations, but it has been conclusively pointed out by Delitzsch that there is sufficient internal evidence, in the grammatical construction, figures, word formations, delineations, and threatenings, to establish the position that they proceeded from the same hand that composed the rest of the book and to guarantee their genuineness. But another and not less interesting question arises as to whether any connection subsists between these discourses and the subject which they apparently interrupt. Such a connection is altogether denied by Delitzsch, Zockler, and other German commentators, who look upon them as independent discourses, and maintain that, if there is any connection, it can be only external and accidental. On the other hand, Bishops Patrick and Wordsworth discover an ethical connection which, though not clear at first sight, is not on that account less real or true. The subject treated of in the preceding chapter is the happiness of the married life, and this is imperilled by incautious undertaking of suretyship, and suretyship, it is maintained, induces sloth, while sloth leads to maliciousness After treating of suretyship, sloth, and malice in succession, the teacher recurs to the former subject of his discourse, viz. impurity of life, against which he gives impressive warnings. That such is the true view them appears little doubt. One vice is intimately connected with another, and the verdict of experience is that a life of idleness is one of the most prolific sources of a life of impurity. Hence we find Ovid saying -

"Quaeritur, AEgisthus, qua re sit factus adulter?
In promptu causa est - desidiosus erat."

"Do you ask why AEgisthus has become an adulterer?
The reason is close at hand - he was full of idleness."
Within the sphere of these discourses them. selves the internal connection is distinctly observable, vers. 16-19 being a refrain of vers. 12-15, and the phrase, "to stir up strife," closing each enumeration (see vers. 14 and 19). Verses 1-5. - 9. Ninth admonitory discourse. Warning against suretyship. Verse 1. - The contents of this section are not to be taken so much as an absolute unqualified prohibition of suretyship as counsel directed against the inconsiderate and rash undertaking of such an obligation. There were some occasions on which becoming surety for another was demanded by the laws of charity and prudence, and when it was not inconsistent with the humane precepts of the Mosaic Law as enunciated in Leviticus 19:19. In other passages of our book the writer of the Proverbs lays down maxims which would clearly countenance the practice (Proverbs 14:21; Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24; Proverbs 27:10), and in the apocryphal writings the practice is encouraged, if not enjoined (Ecclus. 29:14 Ecclus. 8:13). Notwithstanding this limitation, however, it is observable that suretyship is almost invariably spoken of in terms of condemnation, and the evil consequences which it entailed on the surety may be the reason why it is so frequently alluded to. The teacher refers to the subject in the following passages: here; Proverbs 11:15: 17:18; 22:26; 20:16; 27:13. My son. On this address, see Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 3:1, 17. If thou be surety (Hebrew, im-aravta); literally, if thou hast become surety; LXX., ἐάν ἐγγύσῃ; Vulgate, si spoponderis. What the teacher counsels in the present instance is that, if by inadvertence a person has become surety, he should by the most strenuous endeavours prevail on his friend to free him from the bond. The Hebrew verb arav is properly "to mix," and then signifies "to become surety" in the sense of interchanging with another and so taking his place. The frequent mention of suretyship in the Proverbs is alluded to above. The first recorded instances are those where Judah offers to become surety for Benjamin, first to Israel (Genesis 43:9), and secondly to Joseph (Genesis 44:33). It is singular that it is only once alluded to in the Book of Job, where Job says, "Lay down now, put me in surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?" (Job 17:3); and once only, and that doubtfully, in the whole of the Mosaic writings, in the phrase tesummat yad, i.e. giving or striking the hand in the case of perjury (Leviticus 6:2). The psalmist refers to it in the words, "Be surety for thy servant for good" (Psalm 119:122). It is spoken of twice in Isaiah (Isaiah 38:14; Isaiah 36:8), once in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:27) and in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:3), and the cognate noun, arrabon, "the pledge," security for payment, is met with in Genesis 38:17 and 1 Samuel 17:18. These scattered notices in the Old Testament show that the practice was always in existence, while the more frequent notices in the Proverbs refer to a condition of society where extended commercial transactions had apparently made it a thing of daily occurrence, and a source of constant danger. In the New Testament one instance of suretyship is found, when St. Paul offers to become surety to Philemon for Onesimus (Philemon 1:19). But in the language of the New Testament, the purely commercial meaning of the word is transmuted into a spiritual one. The gift of the Spirit is regarded as the arrabon, ὀρραβὼν, "the pledge," the earnest of the Christian believer's acceptance with God (2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14). For thy friend; Hebrew, l'reeka. The Hebrew reeh, more usually rea, is "the companion or friend," and in this case obviously the debtor for whom one has become surety. The word reappears in ver. 3. The לְ (l) prefixed to reeh is the dativus commodi. So Delitzsch and others. If not in the original, but rightly inserted. Thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger (Hebrew, taka'ta lazzar kapeyka); properly, thou hast stricken thy hand for a stranger. The analogous use of l' (לְ) in lazzar determines this rendering. As in the corresponding l'reeyka, the לְ (l) indicates the person for whose benefit the suretyship is undertaken, i.e. the debtor, and not the person with whom the symbolical act is performed, i.e. the creditor. Compare the following passages, though the construction with לְ is wanting: "He that is surety for a stranger" (Proverbs 11:15); "Take his garment that is surety for a stranger" (Proverbs 20:16 and Proverbs 27:13). "The stranger," zar, is not an alien, or one belonging to another nationality, but simply one extraneous to one's self, and so equivalent to akher, "another." The meaning, therefore, seems to be, "If thou hast entered into a bond for one with whom thou art but slightly acquainted." Others (Wordsworth, Plumptre), however, take zar as representing the foreign money lender. The phrase, "to strike the hand," taka kaph, or simply "to strike," taka, describes the symbolical act which accompanied the contract. Taka is properly "to drive," like the Latin defigere, and hence "to strike," and indicates the sharp sound with which the hands were brought into contact. The act no doubt was accomplished before witnesses, and the hand which was stricken was that of the creditor, who thereby received assurance that the responsibility of the debtor was undertaken by the surety. The "striking of the hand" as indicating the completion of a contract is illustrated by the author of the 'Kamoos' (quoted by Lee, on Job 17:3), who says, "He struck or clapped to him a sale... he struck his hand in a sale, or on his hand... he struck his ow hand upon the hand of him, and this is among the necessary (transactions) of sale." So among Western nations the giving of the band has been always regarded as a pledge of bona fides. Thus Menelaus demands of Helena (Euripides, 'Hel.,' 838), Ἐπὶ τοῖσδε νῦν δεξιὰς ἐμῆς θίγε, "Touch my right hand now on these conditions," i.e. in attestation that you accept them. In purely verbal agreements it is the custom in the present day for the parties to clasp the hand. A further example may be found in the plighting of troth in the Marriage Service.
Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
Verse 2. - Thou art snared with the words of thy month, etc.; i.e. the inevitable consequence of an inconsiderate undertaking of suretyship is that you become entangled and involved by your own premises, and hampered by self-imposed obligations. The Authorized Version rightly regards this as the conclusion. So the Vulgate. Others, however, carry on the hypothesis, and insert im, "if:" "If thou art snared," etc.; but without warrant (Zockler, Wordsworth, Plumptre). The LXX. throws the thought into the form of a proverb, as "a strong net to a man are his own words." A distinction is to be drawn between the verbs rendered "entangled" and "taken;" the former, yakosh, signifying to be taken unwarily, off one's guard; the latter, lakad, referring, as before observed (cf. Proverbs 5:22), to the being stricken with the net. They are found in the same collocation in Isaiah 8:15, "Many among them shall be snared and taken." The repetition of the phrase, "with the words of thy mouth," is not unintentional or purely rhetorical. It is made, as Delitzsch observes, to bring with greater force to the mind that the entanglements in which the surety is involved are the result of his own indiscretion.
Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
Verse 3. - In this verse advice is tendered as to what is to be done under the circumstances of this entanglement. The surety is to take immediate steps to be set free. The urgency of the advice is to be explained by the serious consequences which would follow in the event of the debtor not satisfying the creditor in due time. The surety became liable to the penalties inflicted by the Hebrew law of debt. His property could be distrained. His bed and his garment could be taken from him (Proverbs 22:27 and Proverbs 20:16), and he was liable as well as his family to be reduced to the condition of servitude. So we find the son of Sirach saying, "Suretyship hath undone many of good estate, and shaken them as a wave of the sea: mighty men hath it driven from their houses, so that they wandered among strange nations" (Ecclus. 29:18; cf. 2 Kings 4:1; Nehemiah 5:3-5; and Matthew 18:25). Compare the dictum of Thales, the Greek philosopher, Ἐγγύα πάρα δ ἄτα, "Give surety, and ruin is near;" and that of Chilo (Pliny, 'Nat. Hist.,' 6:32), "Sponsioni non deest jactura" - "Loss is not wanting to a surety." The same idea is conveyed in the modern German proverb, "Burgen soll man wurgen" - "Worry a surety" Do this now; or, therefore. The particle epho is intensive, and emphasizes the command, and in this sense is of frequent occurrence (Job 17:15; Genesis 27:32; Genesis 43:11; 2 Kings 10:10, etc.). It appears to be equivalent to the Latin quod dico. So the Vulgate, "Do therefore what I say;" similarly the LXX. renders, "Do, my son, what I bid thee (α{ ἐγὼ σοι ἐντέλλομαι)." It carries with it the sense of instant and prompt action. And deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; i.e. set thyself free when thou findest thou art actually at the mercy of thy friend for whom thou hast become surety. The ki (כִּי) is not hypothetical, but actual; it is not "if" you are, but "when" or because you actually are in his power. The Vulgate and LXX. render כִּי respectively by quia and γὰρ. Go, humble thyself; i.e. present thyself as a suppliant, prostrate thyself, offer thyself to be trodden upon (Michaelis), or humble thyself like to the threshold which is trampled and trode upon (Rashi). or humble thyself under the soles of his feet (Aben Ezra). The expression implies the spirit of entire submission, in which the surety is to approach his friend in order to be released from his responsibility. The Hebrew verb hith'rappes has, however, been rendered differently. Radically raphas signifies "to tread or trample with the feet," and this has been taken to express haste, or the bestirring of one's self. So the Vulgate reads festina, "hasten;" and the LXX. ἴσθι μὴ ἐκλυόμενος, i.e. "be not remiss." But the hithp, clearly determines in favour of the reflexive rendering; comp. Psalm 68:30, "Till every one submit himself with pieces of silver" - the only other passage where raphas occurs. And make sure thy friend (Hebrew, r'hav reeyka); rather, importune thy friend, be urgent with him, press upon him to fulfil his engagement. The verb rahav is properly "to be fierce," "to rage," and hence with the accusative, as here, "to assail with impetuosity." In Isaiah 3:5 it is used with בְּ (b), and signifies to act fiercely against any one. The meaning of the passage is that if abject submission or persuasion does not avail, then sterner measures are to be resorted to to gain the desired end.
Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
Verse 4. - This verse carries on the thought one step further. The appeal to the friend is not to be confined to one spasmodic effort and then relinquished. He is to be followed up pertinaciously and continually, with unwearied diligence, until prevailed upon to fulfil his engagements. Of this unwearied energy in the pursuit of an object in which cue is deeply interested, compare David's resolution, "I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob" (Psalm 132:4, 5).
Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Verse 5. - The struggles of the roe and the bird to escape from the snare are employed figuratively to describe the efforts which the surety is to make to tear and free himself from his friend. From the hand of the hunter (Hebrew, miyyad); literally, from the hand, as shown by the italics. The variation in all the ancient versions, with the exception of the Vulgate and Venetian, which read "from the snare," suggests that the original text was mippath instead of miyyad. The Hebrew yad, "hand," may, however, be used by metonymy for a toil or gin; but this is improbable, as no example of this kind can be found. With regard to the addition, "of the hunter," though this does not occur in the original, the parallelism would seem to clearly require it, and Bottcher maintains, but upon insufficient evidence, and against the reading of all manuscripts, which omit it, that the word tsayyad, equivalent to "of the hunter," formed part of the original text, but has fallen out. The plain reading, "from the hand," may, however, be used absolutely, as in 1 Kings 20:42, "Because thou hast let go out of thy hand (miyyad)," in which case the hand will not be that of the hunter, but that of the person for whom the one is surety. Roe. There is a paronomasia in ts'vi, equivalent to "roe," and tsiphor, equivalent to "bird," of the original, which is lost in the Authorized Version. The ts'vi is the "roe" or "gazelle," so named from the beauty of its form (see also Song of Solomon 2:7-9, 17; Song of Solomon 3:5; Song of Solomon 8:14; 1 Kings 5:3; Isaiah 13:14). Tsippor is a generic word, and represents any small bird. It is derived from the twittering or chirping noise which the bird makes, the root being tsaphar, "to chirp, or twitter." As to its identification with the sparrow, Passer montanus, or the blue thrush, Petrocossyphus cyanens (see 'Bible Animals,' Rev. J.G. Wood, p. 405, edit. 1876).
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Verses 6-11. - 10. Tenth admonitory discourse. Warning against sloth. The ethical connection of this discourse with the preceding has already been pointed out. Sloth militates against prosperity; it is the prolific parent of want, and, even more surely than suretyship, leads to misfortune and ruin, The certainty with which ruin steals upon the sluggard may be the reason why the teacher closes the discourse in the way he does. In the case of suretyship such an issue is uncertain; there is the possibility of escape, the surety may prevail upon his friend to release him from his obligation, and so he may escape ruin; but with sloth no such contingency is possible, its invariable end is disaster. So far as the grammatical structure of the two discourses is concerned, they appear to be quite independent of each other, the only points of coincidence observable being the repetition of one or two words, which is purely accidental (cf. "go" in vers. 3 and 6, and "sleep" and "slumber" in vers. 4 and 10). Verse 6. - Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. The ant (Hebrew, n'malah) is here brought forward as supplying an example of wisdom to the sluggard. The habits of this insect, its industry and providence, have in all ages made it the symbol of these two qualities, and not only the sacred, but also profane writers have praised its foresight, and held it up for imitation. The ant is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament, and on both occasions in our book (see present passage and Proverbs 30:25). The derivation of n'malah is either from the root nam, with reference first to the silence with which it moves, and secondly to its active yet unperceived motion (Delitzsch), or from namal, i.q. malal, "to cut off," from its cutting off or consuming seeds (ab incidendis seminibus) (Buxtorf, Gesenius). The Aramaic name, shum'sh'manah, however, points to its activity and rapid running hither and thither (Fleischer). Sluggard; Hebrew, atsel, a verbal adjective tbund only in the Proverbs. The primary idea of the root atsal is that of languor and laxity. The cognate abstract nouns ats'lah and ats'luth, equivalent to "slothfulness," occur in Proverbs 19:15; Proverbs 31:27. Consider her ways; attentively regard them, and from them derive a lesson of wisdom. Her ways are the manner in which the ant displays her industry and foresight.
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Verse 7. - Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler. This statement is substantially correct, for though the most recent observations made by modern naturalists have discovered various classes of ants occupying the same ant hill, yet there appears to be a total want of that gradation and subordination in ant life which is noticeable among bees. The three terms used here, katsa, shoter, moshel, all refer to government, and correspond respectively with the modern, Arabic terms, kadi, wall, and emir (Zockler). The first refers to the judicial office, and should rather be rendered "judge," the root katsah being "to decide" (see Isaiah 1:10; Isaiah 3:6, 7; Micah 3:9). The word, however, is used of a military commander in Joshua 10:24; Judges 2:6-11, and in this sense it is understood by the Vulgate, which has dux. Shoter, rendered "overseer," is literally "a scribe," and appears as the general designation for any official In Exodus 5:6, 19 the shoter is the person employed by the Egyptian taskmasters to urge on the Israelites in their forced labour; in Numbers 11:16 the shoter is one of the seventy elders; and in 1 Chronicles 23:4 he is a municipal magistrate. The meaning assigned to the word in the Authorized Version seems to be the correct one. The ant has no overseer; there is none to regulate or see that the work is done. Each ant apparently works independently of the rest, though guided by a common instinct to add to the common store. In moshel we have the highest title of dignity and power, the word signifying a lord, prince, or ruler, from mashal, "to rule."
Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
Verse 8. - Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. It is this characteristic, combined with what has just been said, which gives point to the lesson the sluggard is to learn. The teacher, as it were, argues: If the ant, so insignificant a creature in the order of the animal kingdom, is so provident, how much more should you be - you, a man endued with superior intelligence, and with so many more resources at hand, and with greater advantages! If the ant, with none to urge, direct, or control her work, is so industrious, surely she provides an example at which you, the sluggard, should blush, since there is every external incentive to rouse you to action - your duty to the community, the urgent advice of your friends, and your dignity as a man. If she provides for the future, much more should you do so, and threw off your sloth. Objection has been taken to what is here stated of the provident habits of the ant in storing food, on the ground that it is carnivorous and passes the winter in a state of torpidity. That the ant does lay up stores for future use has, however, been the opinion of all ages. Thus Hesiod ('Days,' 14) speaks of the ant as harvesting the grain, calling it ἴδρις, "the provident." Virgil says ('Georg.,' 1, 186; cf. 'AEneid,' 4:4027) -

"Veluti ingentem formicae farris acervum
Quum populant hiemis memores, tectoque repenunt."
So the ants, when they plunder a tall heap of corn, mindful of the winter, store it in their cave. The language of Horace ('Sat.,' 1:50, 32) might be a comment on our passage -

"Parvula (nam exemplo est) magni formica laboris sicut
Ore trahit quodcunque potest, atque addit acervo,
Quem struit, haud ignara ac non incauta futuri,
Quae, simul universum contristat Aquarius annum
Non usquam prorepit, et illis utitur ante Quaesitis sapiens."

"For thus the little ant (to human lore
No mean example) forms her frugal store,
Gathered, with mighty toils, on every side,
Nor ignorant, nor careless to provide
For future want; yet when the stars appear
That darkly sadden the declining year,
No more she comes abroad, but wisely lives
On the fair store industrious summer gives."

(Francis' Translation.) The same provident character is noted in AEsop's fable, 'The Ant and the Grasshopper;' see also Aristotle ('Hist. Nat.,' 9:6). All objections on this subject appear to be based on insufficient data, and have been conclusively answered by recent observation. Apart from the remark of Buffon, that "the ants of tropical climates lay up provisions, and as they probably live the whole year, they submit themselves to regulations entirely unknown among the ants of Europe." The late Professor Darwin states of the agricultural ant of Texas, which in many features resembles the ant of Palestine, that it not only stores its food, but prepares the soil for the crops, keeps the ground free from weeds, and finally reaps the harvest (Journal of Linnaean Society, vol. 1, No. 21, p. 29). Canon Tristram also observes, "The language of the wise man is not only in accordance with the universal belief of his own time, but with the accurately ascertained facts of natural history. Contrary to its habits in colder climates, the ant is not there dormant through the winter; and among the tamerisks of the Dead Sea it may be seen, in January, actively engaged in collecting the aphides and saccharine exudations, in long flies passing and repassing up and down the trunk. Two of the most common species of the Holy Land (Alta barbara, the black ant, and Alta structor, the brown ant) are strictly seed feeders, and in summer lay up large stores of grain for winter use. These species are spread along the whole of the Mediterranean coasts, but are unknown in more northern climates. Hence writers who were ignorant of ants beyond those of their own countries have been presumptuous enough to deny the accuracy of Solomon's statement" ('Nat. Hist. of the Bible,' p. 320). The Mishna, section 'Zeraim,' also contains a curious piece of legislation which bears testimony to the storing properties of the ant.
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Verse 9-Vers. 9-11 contain a call to the sluggard to rouse himself from his lethargy, and the warning of the evil consequences if he remains heedless of the reproof. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? It is the same as if it were said, "What infatuation is this which makes you lie and sleep as if you had nothing else to do?" The double question stigmatizes the sluggard's utter indolence, and suggests the picture of his prolonging his stay in bed long after every one else is abroad and about his business. How long (Hebrew, ad-matha; Vulgate, usquequo); literally, till when? When; Hebrew, matha; Vulgate, quando. The came words are used in the same order in introducing a question in Nehemiah 2:6, "For how long will the journey be? and when wilt thou return?" Wilt thou... sleep. The Hebrew tish'kar is literally "wilt thou lie," but the verb easily passes to the secondary meaning of "to sleep." The delineation of the sluggard is again drawn in Proverbs 24:30-34 in almost identical language, but with some additions.
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
Verse 10. - Yet a Little sleep, etc. Is this the answer of the sluggard which the teacher takes up and repeats ironically, and in a tone of contempt? or is it the teacher's own language describing how the sluggard slides on insensibly to ruin? The Vulgate favours the latter view, "Thou shalt sleep a little, thou shalt slumber a little, thou shalt fold thy hands to sleep, and then," etc. Habits, as Aristotle in his 'Ethics' has shown, are the resultant of repeated acts, and habits entail consequences. So here the inspired teacher would have it learnt, from the example of the sluggard, that the self-indulgence which he craves leads on to a confirmed indolence, which in the end leaves him powerless. "Yet a little" is the phrase on the lips of every one who makes but a feeble resistance, and yields supinely to his darling vice.
So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
Verse 11. - So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. The inevitable consequences of sloth - poverty and want, two terms conveying the idea of utter destitution - are described under a twofold aspect: first, as certain; second, as irresistible. Poverty will advance upon the sluggard with the unerring precision and swiftness with which a traveller tends towards the end of his journey, or, as Michaelis puts it, "quasi viator qui impigre pergit ac proprius venit donec propositum itineris scopum contingat" (Michaelis, 'Notre Uberiores'). Muffet, in loc., keeping to the figure, however, explains differently, "Poverty shall overtake thee, as a swift traveller does one who walks slowly." The Authorized Version, "as one that travelleth," correctly represents the original kim'hallek. There is no ground whatever, from the use of the verb, for rendering the piel participle m'hallek as "a robber." The verb halak invariably means "to go, or walk," and the piel or intensive form of the verb means "to walk vigorously, or quickly." The participle can only mean this in the two other passages where it occurs - Psalm 104:3 and Ecclesiastes 4:14. The substantive helek in 2 Samuel 12:4 also signifies "a traveller." So the Vulgate here, quasi viator. The other view, it is stated, is required by the parallel expression in the second hemistich, "as an armed man," and receives some support from the LXX. reading, ὥσπερ κακὸς ὁδοιπόρος, "as an evil traveller," which may mean either a traveller bringing evil news, or one who wanders about with an evil intention and purpose, in the sense of the Latin grassator, "a highwayman." In this case the meaning would be that poverty shall come upon the sluggard as he is indulging in his sloth, and leave him destitute as if stripped by a robber. But the destitution of the sluggard wilt not only be certain and swift, it will be also irresistible. His want shall come upon him as an armed man (k'ish magen); literally, as a man of a shield; Vulgate, quasi vir armatus; i.e. like one fully equipped, and who attacks his foe with such onset and force that against him resistance is useless. As the unarmed, unprepared man succumbs to such an opponent, so shall the sluggard fall before want. The expressions," thy poverty" and "thy want," represent the destitution of the sluggard as flowing directly from his own habit of self-indulgence. It is his in a special manner) and he, not others, is alone responsible for it. Compare, beside the parallel passage Proverbs 24:33, the similar teaching in ch. 10:4; 13:4; 20:4. The Vulgate, LXX., and Arabic Versions at the close of this verse add, "But if thou art diligent, the harvest shall come as a fountain, and want shall flee far from thee;" the LXX. making a further addition, "as a bad runner (ὥσπερ κακὸς δρομεὺς)." It is observable, in comparing this section with the preceding, that the teacher pursues the subject of the sluggard to its close, while he leaves the end of the surety undetermined. The explanation may be in the difference in character of the two. The surety may escape the consequences of his act, but there is no such relief for the sluggard. His slothfulness becomes a habit, which increases the more it is indulged in, and leads to consequences which are as irremediable as they are inevitable.
A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
Verses 12-19. - 11. Eleventh admonitory discourse. Warning against mischievousness as a thing hateful to God. The connection of this with the preceding discourse is not at first sight very clear, but it may be found in the fact, attested only too unhappily by experience, that sloth leads those who indulge in it to such vices as are next enumerated. The sluggard may develop into a treacherous and deceitful man, and even if such should not happen, the characteristics of the two are nearly allied, and their end is much the same. St. Paul, in his First Epistle to Timothy, observes this same combination of character, and remarks that idlers are "tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not" (see 1 Timothy 6:13). The intention of the discourse is obviously to dissuade all, and especially the young, from the vices, and to preserve them from the ruin, of those men of whom "the naughty person and wicked man" is the type. Verse 12. - A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. The teacher begins by stating in general terms the nature and character of the man whom he now holds up as a warning to others, and then proceeds to point out the various features in his conduct and behaviour by which he may be known. In concise terms he is described as "a naughty person, a wicked man." This is pre-eminently his character, and the first feature in it is that his life is one of wilful and injurious misreprescntation of the truth. A naughty person, a wicked man. In apposition and mutually explanatory. The grammatical arrangement of the sentences which follow, each of which is introduced by a participle, and is thus coordinate to the ethers, as well as the parallel terms, "person" (adam) and "man" (ish), determine this apposition. So Bertheau and Delitzsch. Others (as Zockler, Noyes, Kamph), however, connect the second expression with the series of characteristics which follow, and render, "A worthless person is a deceiver, who," etc., but wrongly. A naughty person (Hebrew, adam b'liyyaal); literally, a man of Belial; Vulgate, homo apostata; LXX., ἀνὴρ ἄφρων. The word "Belial" is derived from b'li, "without," and yaal, "profit" (i.e. "without profit"), or from b'li and ol, "yoke" (i.e. "without yoke"), and strictly signifies either a worthless or a lawless person. The latter derivation is, however, rejected by Gesenius and others. Its abstract signification is worthlessness, uselessness; its concrete or adjectival, worthless. The word "naughty" (Anglo-Saxon, naht, ne aht, "not anything," equivalent to "nothing"), in the sense of good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well, adopted in the Authorized Version, exactly reproduces its strict etymological meaning. The word, however, always carries with it the idea of moral turpitude. In the present instance its meaning is determined by the appositional phrase, "a man of iniquity," or "a wicked man," and such iniquity as takes the form of mischief making, deceit, and sowing discord among brethren. The "man of Belial" is not therefore simply, as its etymological derivation would imply, a worthless individual, one who is of no use either to himself or to the community at large, but a positively wicked, iniquitous, and despicable character. The meaning of the word varies in other passages. Thus in Deuteronomy 13:13, where it first occurs, it is used to designate those who have fallen sway into idolatry, and induce others to follow their example. In this sense it corresponds with the Vulgate, apostata, as signifying a defection from the worship of the true God. Again, in 1 Samuel 1:16 it is applied to the profanation of sacred places. When Hannah is accused by Eli of drunkenness in God's house at Shiloh, she replies, "Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial." In the historical books (e.g. Judges, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Chronicles), where it is of frequent occurrence, it has the general meaning of "wickedness," under whatever form it appears. So in the Psalms (Psalm 18:4; Psalm 41:8; Psalm 101:3) and Nahum (Nahum 1:11, 15). In the Book of Job (Job 34:18, once only) it is used adjectively and as a term of reproach, "Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked [b'liyyaal; i.e. 'worthless']?" Individuals possessing the qualities of worthlessness, profanity, or wickedness are designated in Holy Scripture either as "sons," "children," "daughters," or "men of Belial." The word only occurs in two other passages in the Proverbs - Proverbs 16:27 and Proverbs 19:28. In the New Testament (2 Corinthians 6:15) the word "Belial" (Greek, βελίαρ or βελίαλ) appears as an appellative of Satan, ὁ πονηρὸς, "the evil one," as the representative of all that is bad, and as antichrist. A wicked man (Hebrew, ish aven); literally, a man of vanity or iniquity; Vulgate, vir inutilis; LXX., ἀνὴρ παράνομος. The radical idea of aven (from un, "nothing") is that of emptiness or vanity, and has much, therefore, in common with b'liyaal. Its secondary meaning, and that which it usually bears in Scripture, is iniquity. "A man of iniquity" is one who is altogether deficient in moral consciousness, and who goes about to work wickedness and do hurt and injury to others (cf. ver. 18 and Job 22:15). Walketh with a froward mouth. His first characteristic, as already observed. His whole life and conduct are marked by craftiness, deceit, perversion, and misrepresentation, and an utter want of truth. "Walking" is here, as elsewhere in Scripture, used of some particular course of conduct. So we find the LXX. paraphrase, πορεύεται ὁδοὺς οὐκ ἀγαθάς. "he enters or walks not in good ways." With a froward mouth (Hebrew, ik'shuth peh); literally, with perversity of mouth; Vulgate, ore perverse. Symmachus has στρεβλύμασι στόματος, "with perversity of mouth." The mouth, or speech, is the vehicle by which this person gives outward expression to the evil thoughts which are inwardly filling his heart. The phrase occurs before in Proverbs 4:24. The meaning of the passage is well illustrated in Psalm 10:7, "His mouth is full of misery, deceit, and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity."
He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
Verse 13. - He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers. He employs his other members for the same nefarious purpose. In the language of St. Paul, he yields his members to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity (Romans 6:19). "To wink with the eye (karats ayin)," as in Proverbs 10:10 and Psalm 35:19, or "with the eyes (karats b'eynayim)," is properly to compress or nip them together, and so to wink, and give the signal to others not to interfere (Gesenius and Delitzsch); cf. the LXX., ἐννεύει ὀφθαλμῷ; and the Vulgate, annuit oculis. Aquila and Theodoret, however, read, κνίζει, "he vexes or annoys." The observation of the teacher in Proverbs 10:10 is, "He that winketh with his eyes causeth sorrow." The same verb karuts is also used of the compression or closing of the lips in Proverbs 16:30. He speaketh with his feet; i.e. he conveys signs by them to his companion; cf. the LXX., σημαίνει δὲ ποδὶ, and the Vulgate, terit pede, which conveys much the same meaning. He teacheth with his fingers; or, as more fully expressed in the LXX., διδάσκει δὲ ἐννεύμασι δακτύλων, "he teacheth by the signs of his fingers." Symmachus has δακτυλοδεικτῶν, which, however, in its strictly classical use (see Demosthenes, 790, 20) is pointing at with the finger. "Teaching" is only the secondary meaning of the Hebrew participle moreh, which is here used. The verb yarah, to which it belongs, means properly to extend or stretch out the hand for the purpose of pointing out the way (compare the Hebrew shalakh yod, and the Latin monstrare), and hence came to mean "to teach." The crafty and deceitful character which is here presented to as is strikingly reproduced in Ecclesiasticus: "He that winketh with the eyes worketh evil: and he that knoweth him will depart from him. When thou art present, he will speak sweetly, and will admire thy words: but at the last he will writhe his mouth, and slander thy sayings. I have hated many things, but nothing like him; for the Lord will hate him" (Ecclus. 27:22-24). The heathen poet Naevius says of the impudent woman -

"Allium tenet, alii adnutat, alibi manus
Est occupata: est alii percellit pedem."
Compare also Ovid's words ('Amor.,' 1:4, 16) -

"Clam mihi tange pedem:
Me specta, mutusque meos, vultumque loquacem...
Verba superciliis sine voce loquentia dicam;
Verba leges digitis."
So Tibullus, 1:12 -

"Illa viro coram nutus conferre loquaces
Blandaque compositis abdere verba notis."
The lesson which we may learn from this verse is not to abuse the members of our bodies, by employing them for the purposes of deceit and hypocrisy, and so to promote evil, but to put them to their natural and legitimate use.
Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
Verse 14. - From these external features the teacher passes to the heart the seat of all this mischief and deceit. In this respect we observe a striking correspondence with the method adopted by our Saviour in his leaching, who referred everything to the heart, as the true seat of all that was good or bad in man. Frowardness is in his heart (Hebrew, tah'pukoth b'libbo); i.e. his heart is full of perverse imaginations, it is there he nourishes his jealousy, his hatred, his malice, his ill will. It is there, too, he deviseth mischief continually. "Devising mischief" carries us one step further back in the history of evil. It is this feature, this deliberate premeditation to plot mischief and to devise means to carry it into execution, which makes the character of the man simply diabolical. He makes his heart as it were the workshop wherein he fabricates and prepares his villainy. The Hebrew kharash (to which the participle khoresh belongs) is equivalent to the Vulgate machinari, and the LXX. τεκαίνομαι, "to fabricate, devise, plot." (See Proverbs 3:29 and ver. 18; and cf. Psalm 36:4, "He deviseth mischief upon his bed.") The LXX. combines the two statements in one proposition: "A perverse heart deviseth evil at all times." Similarly the Vulgate, which, however, joins "continually" (Hebrew, b'koleth; Vulgate, omni tempore) to the second hemistich, thus: "And at all times he sows discord (et omni tempore jurgia seminat)." He soweth discord (Hebrew, mid'-yanim (Keri) y'shalleakh); literally, he sends forth (i.e. excites) strife; or, as the margin, he casteth forth strife. The Keri reading mid'yanim, for the Khetib m'danim, is probably, as Hitzig suggests, derived from Genesis 37:36. The phrase occurs again as shallakh m'danim in ver. 19, and as shillakh madon Proverbs 16:28 (cf. Proverbs 10:12). This is the culminating point in the character of the wicked man. He takes delight in breaking up friendship and in destroying concord among brethren (see ver. 19), and thus destroys one of the most essential elements for promoting individual happiness and the welfare of the community at large. This idea of the community is introduced into the LXX., which reads, "Such an one brings disturbance to the city (ὁ τοσοῦτος ταραχὰς συνίστησι πόλει)." The motive cause may be either malice or self-interest.
Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
Verse 15. - Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. Great sins, as Muffet, in loc., observes, have great punishments; neither only great, but sudden. Therefore; Hebrew, al-ken. A Nemesis or retribution awaits this man of malice and deceit. His calamity or destruction is represented as the direct result of, as flowing forth from, what he has done. His calamity; Hebrew, eydo. On eyd, see Proverbs 1:26. Shall come suddenly; i.e. sooner than he anticipates; when he thinks his diabolical plans are succeeding, then suddenly his victims will discover his fraud and malice, and will rise and inflict the punishment which is his due. Suddenly; petha, a variation of pithom just used. Shall he be broken; Hebrew, yish-shaver; Vulgate, conteretur. The verb shavar, "to break," "to break to pieces," is used of ships which are wrecked (Isaiah 14:29; Ezekiel 27:34; Jonah 1:4); of an army which is defeated and dispersed (Daniel 11:22; 2 Chronicles 14:12); of the destruction of a kingdom, city, or people (Isaiah 8:15; Jeremiah 48:4); and of the complete prostration of the spirit of man by affliction (Psalm 34:19); and as such, in the passage before us, conveys the idea of the complete ruin of this man. It is a destruction that shall break him up. Without remedy (Hebrew, v'eyn mar'pe; literally, and there is no remedy. There shall be, as Fleischer, as it were, no means of recovery for his shattered members. His destruction shall be irremediable, or as the LXX., a συντριβή ἀνίαψτος, a contritio insanibilis; or as the Vulgate, nec habebit ultra medicinam. The idea seems to be taken from the shattered fragments of a potter's vessel, which it is impossible to reunite. So in the case of the man whose life has been one of fraud, deceit, and malice, there is for him no hope of any recovery. The language may seem exaggerated, but the picture is painted with this high colouring to exhibit a strong deterrent to such a line of conduct, and further, it may be remarked that, in the present day, only the most confiding would again put trust in a man who has wilfully and maliciously deceived them (cf. Isaiah 30:14). The second hemistich of this verse occurs again verbatim in Proverbs 29:1.
These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Verse 16. - The whole structure and arrangement of the thoughts which occur in vers. 16-19 clearly show that this is not an independent section, but one closely allied to that which has just preceded. The object is to show that those evil qualities of deceit and malice which are disastrous to man are equally odious in the sight of Jehovah, and consequently within the scope of the Divine displeasure. These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him. The use of the numerical proverb, though common to the gnomic literature of Persia and Arabia, as Umbreit shows, is by our author confined to this single instance. Other examples occur in our book in the words of Agur the son of Jakeh (see Proverbs 30:7-9, 24-28), and the midda, the name given by later Jewish writers to this form of proverb, is observable in the ape-cryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus (see Proverbs 23:16; Proverbs 20:7 and Proverbs 26:5-28). When, as in the present instance, two numbers are given, the larger number corresponds with the things enumerated. So in Job 5:19. In Amos 1 and 2, however, there is an exception to this rule, where the numbers appear to be used indefinitely. As to the origin of the numerical proverb, the most probable explanation is that given by Hitzig and adopted by Zockler, namely, that it is due to the exigencies of parallelism. The author first adopts one number optionally, and then a second is employed as a parallel to it. Here, however, the number determined on in the writer's mind is the larger number seven, and the smaller number six is used as a rhetorical parallel. An examination of the following verses will show that the seven exactly measures the things which are described as odious to the Lord. The Authorized Version, so far as the numbers are concerned, exactly represents the original, which, by the use of the cardinal number "seven" (sheva), and not the ordinal "seventh," which would be sh'vii, shows that the things enumerated are equally an abomination in God's sight. The view therefore, that the seventh vice is odious to God in an especial degree above the others, is untenable, though it has found defenders in Lowenstein, Bertheau, and von Gerlach, and is supported by the Vulgate, Sex sunt quae odit Dominus, et septimum detestatur anima ejus. All the seven things are execrable, all are equally objects of the Divine abhorrence. Besides, we cannot imagine that the vice of sowing discord among brethren, of ver. 19, is more odious to God than the crime of shedding innocent blood of ver. 17. Unto him (Hebrew, naph'sho); literally, of his soul.
A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Verse 17. - The enumeration begins with pride. A proud look (Hebrew, eynayim ramoth); literally, haughty or lofty eyes, as in the margin; Vulgate, oculos sublimes; LXX., ὀφθάλμὸς ὑβριστοῦ. It is not merely the look which is meant, but the temper of mind which the look expresses (Wardlaw). The lofty look is the indication of the swelling pride which fills the heart, the mentis elatae tumor, the supreme disdain, grande supercilium, for everything and everybody. Pride is put first, because it is at the bottom of all disobedience and rebellion against God's laws. It is the very opposite of humility, which the apostle, in Ephesians 4:2, mentions as the basis, as it were, of all the virtues. All pride is intended, and the face of the Lord is against this pride. He "resisteth the proud;" he "knoweth them afar off;" he "hath respect unto the lowly;" he "will bring down high looks" (Psalm 18:27); he judgeth those that are high (Job 21:22). It is against this spirit that Job prays Jehovah "to behold every one that is proud, and abase him," and "to look upon every one that is proud, and bring him low" (Job 40:11, 12). The next thing in the enumeration is a lying tongue. Lying is hateful to God, because he is the God of truth. In a concise form the expression, "a lying tongue," represents what has been already said in vers. 12 and 13 of "the wicked man" who "walks with a froward mouth," and whose conduct is made up of deceit. Lying is the wilful perversion of truth, not only by speech, but by any means whatever whereby a false impression is conveyed to the mind. The liar "sticks not at any lies, flatteries, or calumnies" (Patrick). Lying is elsewhere denounced as the subject which excites the Divine displeasure (see Psalm 5:6; Psalm 120:3, 4; Hosea 4:1-3; Revelation 21:8, 27); and in the early Christian Church, in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, it was punished with death. On the subject of lying, see St. Augustine, 'Enchiridion,' c. 18, wherein he says, "Mihi autem videtur peccatum quidem esse omne mendacium." Every lie is a sin. The third thing is hands that shed innocent blood, i.e. a murderous and cruel disposition, which, rather than have its plans frustrated, will imbue the hands with innocent blood, i.e. the blood of those who have done it no injury. The Divine command is, "Thou shall do no murder," and those who break it will find, even if they escape man, that the Lord is "the avenger of blood," and that he "maketh inquisition" for it (cf. ch. 1. and 2, and Isaiah 59:7, which bear a close resemblance to this passage). That the shedding of innocent blood cues for vengeance, and pulls down God's heavy judgments on the murderer, appears in the case of Cain and Abel (Muffet).
An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Verse 18. - The fourth thing is an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations. "Wicked imaginations" are literally "thoughts of iniquity;" Hebrew, makh'sh'voth aven; Vulgate, cogitationes pessimas; LXX., λογισμοὺς κακοὺς. The same expression in Isaiah 59:7 is rendered "thoughts of iniquity." (On deviseth, Hebrew khoresh, see ver. 14 and ch. 3:29.) The thought is a repetition of ver. 14a. There are evil thoughts in all men's hearts; but the devising, fabricating of them, and thus making the heart into a devil's workshop, is the mark of utter depravity and wickedness, and is abhorrent to God. The devices of the heart, though planned in secret, are clear to him "to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are bid." The peculiar position which the heart occupies in the enumeration is to be accounted for on the ground that it is the fountain, not only of those vices which have been already mentioned, but of those which follow. The fifth thing is feet that be swift in running to mischief. Again we are reminded of Isaiah 59:7, "Their feet run to evil." "Mischief" (Hebrew, ra) is a re-echo of ver. 14 and Proverbs 1:16. "To run to mischief" is to carry out with alacrity and without delay what has already been devised in the heart. It implies more than falling or sliding into sin, which is common to all. It denotes, Cornelius a Lapide remarks, "inexplebilem sceleris aviditatem, et destinatum studium."
A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Verse 19. - The sixth thing is perjury. A false witness that speaketh lies; literally, he that breathes out, or utters, lies as a false witness. So the Vulgate, proferentem mendacia testem fallacem. The Hebrew puakh is "to breathe," "to blow," and in the hiph. form, which is used here (yaphiakh, hiph. future), it is "to blow out" or" utter," either in a bad sense, as in the present instance, and in Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 14:5; Proverbs 19:5, 9 (cf. Psalm 10:5; Psalm 12:5); or in a good sense, "to utter the truth," as in Proverbs 12:17. Lies; Hebrew k'zavim, plural of kazav, "falsehood," "lying" (cf. Proverbs 21:25). A false witness (Hebrew, ed-k'zavim), as in margin, "a witness of lies." The expression, "as a false witness," as it appears in the original, is explanatory, and indicates the particular aspect under which the speaking of lies is regarded. Lying in its more general sense has been already spoken of in ver. 17. The vice which is here noted as odious to God is expressly forbidden in the moral code, "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbour" (Exodus 20:16). But this, though the chief, is only one view of the case. Perjury may be employed, not only in ruining the innocent, but also in screen-tog the guilty. "Much hurt," says Muffet, in loc., "doth the deceitful and lying witness, for he corrupteth the judge, oppresseth the innocent, suppresseth the truth, and in the courts of justice sinneth against his own soul and the Lord himself most grievously." "He that speaketh lies as a false witness," again, may be the vile instrument in the hands of unscrupulous and inexorable enemies, as those employed against our Lord and Stephen. Perjury, too, destroys the security of communities. The shipwreck of society which it occasions may be seen in the frightful misery which ensued when the system of delatores was not only countenanced, but encouraged under the Roman empire. Truly speaking, he that lies as a false witness must be hateful to God. And he that soweth discord among brethren; the seventh and last thing in the enumeration, but not, as Delitzsch holds, the ne plus ultra of all that is hated of God. It closes, as in ver. 14, the series, but with the addition "among brethren;" thus emphatically stigmatizing the conduct of that man as diabolical who destroys the harmony and unity of those who ought to live together in brotherly affection, and who disturbs the peace of communities.
My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Verses 20-35. - 12. Twelfth admonitory discourse. In this the teacher returns again to the subject which he has already treated in the eighth discourse. The extreme tendency of men, and especially young men, to sins of impurity is no doubt, as Delitzsch remarks, the reason why this subject is again resumed. The subject is gradually worked up to the preceding admonitions in vers. 20-23, pointing out that the way of life, the way of safety, is to be secured by obedience to the precepts of parents, whose commandment and law illumine the perilous road of life, and whose reproofs are salutary to the soul. The arguments against the sin of adultery are cogent in their dissuasiveness, and none stronger of a purely temporal nature could be devised. It may be objected that the sin is not put forward in the higher light, as an offence before God. and that the appeal is made simply on the lines of self-interest; but who will deny that the scope of the teaching is distinctly moral, or that mankind is not influenced and dissuaded from sin by such a category of evils as includes personal beggary, dishonour, and death? Verse 20. - The first part of this verse is couched in almost the same terms as that of Proverbs 1:8, except that mitz'rath, "precept," preceptum, is here used instead of musar, eruditio, or "disciplinary instruction," while the latter part of the two verses are identical.
Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
Verse 21. - This verse recalls also Proverbs 3:3, and reminds us of the use of the phylacteries, or tefellim, common among the Jews of our Lord's time, and the practice of binding which upon various parts of the person may have had its origin in this and such like passages. The "tying about" the neck may suggest the use of amulets, an Oriental custom, to ward off evil, but it is more likely that it refers to the wearing of ornaments. Them; i.e. the commandment and law of father and mother respectively, expressed in the Hebrew by the suffix -em, in the verb kosh'rem, equivalent to liga ea, and again in ondem, equivalent to vinci ea. (For the personal use of this figure, see Song of Solomon 8:6.) Tie them; Hebrew, ondem. The verb anad, "to tie," only occurs twice as a verb - here and in Job 31:36. Lee prefers "to bind;" Delitzsch, however, states that it is equivalent to the Latin circumplicare, "to wind about." The meaning of this and similar passages (cf. Proverbs 7:3; Exodus 13:9; Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:13) is that the commandment, precept, law, or whatever is intended, should be always present to the mind. The heart suggests that they are to be linked to the affections, and the neck that they will be an ornament decking the moral character.
When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
Verse 22. - The going, sleeping, and awaking occur in the same order in the Pentateuch, from which the ideas of this and the preceding verse are evidently derived (see Deuteronomy 6:7 and Deuteronomy 11:19). Though only specifying three conditions, they refer to the whole conduct of life, and hence the verse promises direction, guardianship, and converse of wisdom, which will undoubtedly attend life where the precepts of parents are lovingly treasured and obediently observed. The Authorized Version conveys the impression that it is "the keeping" of the parents' precepts, etc., which is to bear such results; but it is better to understand "it" as signifying the whole teaching or doctrine of wisdom, as Delitzsch. Wisdom becomes personified in the representation, and identified with her teaching. It shall lead thee. The Hebrew verb nakhah, "to lead," in the sense of "to direct," like the Latin dirigere (Delitzsch), and as it is used in Exodus and Numbers, passim. In the Psalms (Psalm 5:9; Psalm 27:11; Psalm 31:4, etc.) it is employed of God as governing men. Hence, in the affairs of life, Wisdom will so guide and control us that we shall act uprightly. There is the further notion imported into the word of preservation from evil (cf. Proverbs 3:23, "Thou shalt walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble"). When thou sleepest; or, when thou liest down, as in Proverbs 3:25, where the same verb occurs. It shall keep thee; i.e. watch over, keep safe, or preserve; as in the Vulgate, custodire, and the LXX. φυλαττεῖν. We have had the same verb, shamar, before in Proverbs 2:11. Wisdom will be as it were a guardian angel in our hours of repose. When thou awakest; Hebrew, hakitsotha, the hiph. perfect of kutz. This word only occurs here. The hiph. form, hekitz, is intransitive, "to be aroused" (cf. the LXX., ἐγειρομένῳ). It shall talk with thee; rather, she. Bertheau renders, "She will make thee thoughtful;" and Dathe, "Let them be thy meditation;" but the accusative suffix designates the person who is the object of the action of the verb, as in Psalm 5:5; Psalm 42:4; Zechariah 7:5 (Zockler) and as Delitzseh remarks, the personification requires something more than a mere meditation with one's self on the precepts of Wisdom. Wisdom herself shall hold converse with thee (cf. the LXX., συλλαλῇ σοι), she shall suggest thoughts how thou art to behave thyself. The meaning of the verb, "to meditate," "to think deeply," however, need not be lost sight of.
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
Verse 23. - For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light. The teacher takes up the words "commandment" (Hebrew, mitzrah) and "law" (Hebrew, torah) from ver. 20, which he describes respectively as "a lamp" and "light" The "commandment" is any special or particular commandment which harmonizes with God's will, and commands what is to be done and forbids what is to be left undone. The "law" is the whole law of God in its entirety; not here the Law of Moses technically, but the whole system of generalized instruction; They stand, therefore, in the same relation to each other as "a lamp" and "light," the one being particular, and the other general. "Light" (Hebrew, or) is light in general, as the light of the day and the sun, while "a lamp" (Hebrew, ner, from nur, "to shine) is a particular light like that of a candle, which is enkindled at some other source. The "commandment" and the "law" alike enlighten the conscience and enable one to walk in his way of life. On this passage Le Clerc remarks, "Ut in tenebris lucerna, aut fax ostendit nobis, qua eundam sit: in ignorantiae humanae caligine, quae nos per hanc totam vitam cingit, revelatio divina nos docet, quid sit faciendum, quid vitandum." So the psalmist says in Psalm 19:8, "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;" and again in Psalm 119:105, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path;" i.e. they direct and show the true way of faith and life (Gejerus). The "commandment" and the "law" may stand for the whole revelation of God without reference to any particular precept (as Scott), but they have here a specific bearing on a particular form of human conduct, as appears from the following verses. And reproofs of instruction are the way of life. Reproofs of instruction; Hebrew, tok'khoth musar, disciplinary reproofs, i.e. reproofs whose object is the discipline of the soul and the moral elevation of the character. The LXX. reads, καὶ ἔλεγχος καὶ παιδεία; thus connecting it with education in its highest sense. Such reproofs are a way of life (Hebrew, derek khayyim), i.e. they lead to life; they conduce to the prolongation of life. This view of the subject, so prominent in the mind of the teacher in other passages (cf. Proverbs 3:2 and 19), must not be lost sight of, though the words are susceptible of another interpretation, as indicating that the severest reproofs, inasmuch as they correct errors and require obedience, conduce to the greatest happiness (Patrick). Or again, it may mean that disciplinary reproofs are necessary to life. The soul to arrive at perfection must undergo them as part of the conditions of its existence, and, consequently, they are to be submitted to with the consciousness that, however irksome they may be, they are imposed for its eventual benefit (cf. Hebrews 12:5). But this interpretation is unlikely from what follows.
To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
Verse 25. - To keep thee from the evil woman. The specific object to which the discourse was tending. The "commandment" and the "law" illuminate the path of true life generally, but in a special degree they, if attended to, will guard the young against sins of impurity, fornication, and adultery. The evil woman (Hebrew, esheth ra); strictly, a woman of evil, or vileness, or of a wicked disposition, addicted to evil in an extraordinary degree; ra being here a substantive standing in a genitive relation to esheth, as in Proverbs 2:12, "The way of evil (derek ra)." Cf. also tah'pukoth ra, perverstates mali (Proverbs 2:14), and makh'sh'voth ra, cogitationes mali (Proverbs 15:26), and an'shey ra, viri mali (Proverbs 28:5). The Vulgate, however, gives an adjectival force to ra rendering, it muliere mala. The LXX. ἀπὸ γυναικὸς, i.e. "from the married woman," arises from reading rea, "a companion," for ra, "evil." From the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman; i.e. from her enticements; Hebrew, mekhel'kath lashon noh'riyyah; literally, "from the smoothness of a strange tongue," as in the margin. Zockler, however, proposes an emendation of the Masoretic text, and substitutes the construct case, l'shon, for the absolute, lashon, rendering as in the Authorized Version, on the ground that the emphasis lies, not on the "tongue," which would be the case if we render "of a strange tongue," but on "the strange woman," who is the subject of the discourse, as in Proverbs 2:16 and Proverbs 5:20. But nok'riyyah is feminine of the adjective nok'ri, ann in agreement with lashon, which, though common, is more frequently feminine (Gesenius), and hence the two words may stand in agreement. The marginal reading is to be preferred (Wordsworth). Again, me-khel'kath, the construct ease of khel'kah, literally, "smoothness," and metaphorically flattery, with the prefix me, forms one member of the phrase, while the compound expression, lashon nok'riyyah, forms the second. Ewald and Bertheau render, "from the smooth-tongued, the strange woman," thus connecting mekhel'kath lashon, and regarding nok'riyyah as a separate and distinct idea. They agree with Symmachus and Theodotion, ἀπὸ λειογλώσσου ξένης, i.e. "from the smooth-tongued or flattering stranger." So the Vulgate, a blanda lingua extraneae, i.e. from the smooth tongue of the strange woman. The LXX. again favours the marginal reading, ἀπὸ διαβολῆς γλώσσης ἀλλοτρίας, "from the slander of a strange tongue." So the Chaldee Paraphrase. The Syriac reads, "from the accusation of a woman of a strange tongue," i.e. who uses a foreign language. If, however, the Authorized Version be retained, the Hebrew nok'riyyah will, as in other passages, mean "an adulteress" (Gesenius); Proverbs 5:20; Proverbs 7:5; Proverbs 23:27. Under any circumstances, we have here attributed to the tongue what, in fact, belongs to the woman. It is against the enticements and blandishments of a woman of depraved moral character that the "commandment" and "law" form a safeguard to youth. Verse 25. - Lust not after her beauty in thine heart. The admonition of this verse embraces the two sides of the subject - the external allurement and the internal predisposition to vice. Lust not after (Hebrew, al-takh'mod); strictly, desire not, since the verb khamad is properly" to desire, or covet." The same verb is used in Exodus 20:17, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife," and Exodus 34:24, "Neither shall any man desire thy land" (cf. Micah 2:2 and Proverbs 12:12). In Psalm 68:19; Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 53:2, it has the sense of taking delight in anything. It may be questioned whether it ever has the strong meaning given in the Vulgate (non concupiscat) and adopted in the Authorized Version, "to lust after" (Holden). Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus render μὴ ἐπιθυμήσῃς. The use of khamad here reveals the warning of the Decalogue. In thine heart; Hebrew, bil'va-veka. corresponding to the ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ of Matthew 5:28. The admonition is a warning to repress the very first inclinations to unchaste desires. They may be unobserved and undetected by ethers, but they are known to ourselves, and the first duty of repressing them calls for an act of determination and will on our part. Our Lord teaches (Matthew 5:28, cited above), "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." The LXX. reading is Μή σε νικήσῃ κάλλους ἐπιθυμία, "Let not the desire of beauty conquer thee." Neither let her take thee with her eyelids; i.e. do not let her captivate thee with her amorous glances. Take. The Hebrew verb, lakakh, is "to captivate" with blandishments, "to allure, beguile" (cf. Proverbs 11:30); LXX., μήδε ἀγρευθῃς. With her eyelids (Hebrew, b'aph'appeyah); or perhaps more literally, with her eyelashes (Zockler). The eyelids; Hebrew, aph'appayim, dual of aph'aph, so called from their rapid, volatile motion, are here compared with nets, as by Philostratus ('Epistles:' Γυναικί), who speaks of "the nets of the eyes (τὰ τῶν ὀμμάτων δίκτυα)." The eyelids are the instruments by which the amorous woman beguiles or catches her victims. She allures him by her glances. So St. Jerome says, "The eye of an harlot is the snare of her lover." The wanton glance is expressed in the Vulgate by nutibus illius; cf. "The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids" (Ecclus. 26:9). Milton ('Paradise Lost,' 11:620) speaks of the daughters of men "rolling the eye," amongst other things, in order to captivate the sons of God. Piscator and Mercerus understand the eyelids as standing metonymically for the beauty of the eye; and Bayne, for the general adornment of the head in order to attract attention. Allusion may possibly be made to the custom of Eastern women painting the eyelids to give brilliancy and expression; cf. 2 Kings 9:30 (Wordsworth). A striking parallel to the verse before us occurs in Propertius, lib. 1. 'Eleg.' 1., "Cynthia prima suis miserum me cepit ocellis."
For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
Verse 26. - For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread. From this verse onwards to the end of the chapter the discourse consists of a series of arguments, each calculated to deter youth from the sins of fornication and adultery, by exhibiting the evil consequences of such indulgence. The first is the poverty and extreme beggary to which a man is brought. For by means of; Hebrew, ki v'ad. Lee gives the preposition vaad the force of "after," i.e. after associating with. The radical idea of the preposition is that of nearness, by, near, and easily passes to that of "because" (Gesenius) or "by means of," as in the Authorized Version. It is here used for per, "through," as in Joshua 2:15; 2 Samuel 20:23, and so indicates the transit through the way of fornication to extreme beggary (Gejerus). A whorish woman; Hebrew, ishshah zonah; Vulgate, scortum; LXX., πόρνη; "a harlot," here corresponding to "the adulteress" (esheth ish), since the root zonah, "to commit fornication," is attributed both to married and unmarried women (Genesis 38:24; Leo. 19:29; Hosea 3:3). The word zonah is sometimes written alone, as in Genesis 38:15 and Deuteronomy 23:19. The fuller expression, as here, occurs in Leviticus 21:7; Joshua 2:1; Judges 11:1. To a piece of bread; Hebrew, adkikkar lakhem. It will be noticed that there is an ellipsis in the Hebrew, which, however, may be easily supplied, as in the Authorized Version. Delitzsch supplies "one cometh down to;" so Zockler. "A piece of bread' is properly "a circle of bread, a small round piece of bread, such as is still baked in Italy (pagnotta) and in the East (Arabic kurs), here an expression for the smallest piece" (Fleischer). The term occurs in Exodus 29:23; 1 Samuel 2:36, in the latter of which passages it expresses the extreme destitution to which the members of the house of Eli were to be reduced. As illustrating the term, see also ch. 38:21 and Ezekiel 13:19. The LXX. and Vulgate singularly render, "For the price of a harlot is scarcely that of a bit of bread," which may mean, as Castalio, that she is of so little value; but the context is opposed to this rendering, where the Point brought out is not the vile character of the harlot as the ruin she inflicts or is the cause cf. Besides, the Hebrew ad does not mean ever "scarcely," or "hardly," which the Vulgate vix gives to it. And the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. The adulteress is isheth ish, literally, "the woman of a man," or "a man's wife," as in the margin - as, therefore, strictly an adulteress here (cf. Leviticus 20:10). Will hunt; Hebrew, thatsud; LXX., ἀγρεύει; Vulgate, capit. The Hebrew verb tsud, "to lie in wait for," "to hunt," also signifies "to take, or capture," like the Vulgate capere, The verb in its metaphorical use also occurs in Lamentations 3:52; Micah 7:2; Psalm 140:12, and refers to those beguilements resorted to by the adulteress to seduce youth. In Ezekiel 13:18 it carries with it the idea of death, and if understood in this sense here it may have reference to the death penalty inflicted on adulterer and adulteress by the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 20:10), and introduces what is said more fully in vers. 32, 34, 35. The precious life; Hebrew, nephesh y'karah The epithet y'karah is appropriately added to nephesh, as indicating the high value of the life. All is implied in the nephesh, "the life," moral dignity of character, the soul of man. It is the ever-existing part of the man, and therefore is precious - nothing can exceed it in value. Our Lord says (Matthew 16:26), "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" and the psalmist (Psalm 49:8), "For the redemption of their life is precious." But it is for this life, or soul, that the adulteress hunts, and which she destroys. Lives of fornication and adultery, therefore, carry with them the severest penalties, the loss of temporal possessions, for the enjoyment of a transient passion, and far beyond this the loss of life both temporal and eternal. We cannot imagine a more deterrent warning.
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
Verse 27. - In this and the two following verses (28 and 29) the discourse proceeds from statement to illustration, and by examples of cause and effect the teacher shows "the moral necessity of the evil consequences of the sin of adultery" (Delitzsch). The meaning of the verses is plain enough, viz. that as it is in vain to suppose that a person's garment will not be burnt or his feet not be scorched if fire is brought near them, so it is equally inconceivable that a person indulging in adultery can escape its consequences or the retribution that follows. The two questions in vers. 27 and 28 imply a strong negative, and so prepare for the conclusion in ver. 30. Take fire. The Hebrew verb khathah signifies "to take burning or live coals from the hearth" (Placater); and hence is used here in a pregnant sense "to take from the hearth and place in" (cf. Proverbs 25:22, "For thou wilt take coals ['and heap them:' Hebrew, gekhalim khotheh] on his head"). The fuller expression is met with in Isaiah 30:14, "So that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth (lakh'toth esh miyyakud).'" The Vulgate renders by abscondere," to hide: Numquid potest homo absconders ignem; and the LXX. by ἀποδεῖν, equivalent to the Latin alligare "to tie or bind fast." Wordsworth explains "to take and heap up, as in a firepan or censer." In his bosom; Hebrew, b'kheyko; LXX., ἐν κόλπῳ; Vulgate, in sinu suo. The word kheyk is properly "an undulation" (Delitzsch). not the lap, but as in the Authorized Version here, "the bosom," and "the bosom of a garment" as in ch. 16:33; 17:23; 21:14. The answer to the question of this and the next verse is of course a decided negative, but we may note that the teacher compares adultery to a burning fire in its consequences.
Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
Verse 28. - Can one go upon hot coals, etc.? The repeated question is introduced by gin, "if," here equivalent to the Latin an, used in double questions, as in Genesis 24:21; Exodus 17:7; Judges 9:2, etc. Go; i.e. walk upon hot coals (Hebrew, al-haggekalim); literally, upon the hot coals. The Hebrew gakheleth is coals thoroughly ignited, as in Leviticus 16:12 and Proverbs 25:22; different from pekham of Proverbs 26:21, which is "a black coal," or, as Gesenius explains, charcoal unkindled. Be burned; Hebrew, tikkaveynah; i.e. be burned or scorched so as to leave a mark by burning, as in Isaiah 43:2; this being the force of the verb kavah. The flames of lust will certainly be visited with punishment, and with the stings of conscience. Job, speaking on this very subject, says a deviation from the paths of virtue "is a fire that consumeth to destruction." And to him who gives way to adultery it may be said, in the words of Horace, though with a different application from that in which they were used by that poet, "incedis per ignes suppositos cineri doloso." "You are walking over fire that lies hidden under deceitful ashes" (Gejerus).
So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
Verse 29. - So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. It is as great a folly to suppose that an adulterer will escape punishment as to imagine that no injury will follow where fire has been applied. Delitzsch illustrates this verse by a passage from Pythagoras's maxim ('Eclog.,' 100, 39), Τὸ εἰς πῦρ καὶ εἰς γυναῖκα ἐμπεσεῖν ἴσον ὑπάρχει Goeth in; Hebrew, habba el; i.e. has intercourse with, as in Genesis 6:4; Genesis 19:31; Genesis 38:9; Psalm 51:2. The same in force as "toucheth." Shall not be innocent; Hebrew, lo-yinnakeh; i.e. poena vacuus,"exempt from punishment," or shall be unpunished (Delitzsch, Zockler, Gesenius); cf. Proverbs 11:21, "The wicked shall not be unpunished (lo yinnakeh)" ashore. The verb nakah signifies rimarily "to be pure;" Bothe Vulgate tenders non erit mundus," he will not be pure;" but the LXX. observes the secondary meaning of the verb, οὐκ ἀθωωθήσεται, non erit innoxius, "he shall not be let go unpunished," the Alexandrine verb ἀθωόω. Certain and the very heaviest punishment shall come upon him (see also Proverbs 17:5; Jeremiah 25:29; Jeremiah 49:12). With this explanation agree Gejerus and Vatablus.
Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
Verse 30. - The teacher continues his argument with another illustration, still keeping in view his object, which is to show that the punishment of the adulterer is a surely impending one and severe in its character. The argument in vers. 30-33 is one a fortiori. If men do not overlook but severely punish a crime which has been committed under extenuating circumstances, much less will they do so where the crime is of a much graver character and has nothing to excuse it. Theft and adultery are brought into comparison. Theft under all circumstances is a lesser crime than adultery, but here it is minimized to the lowest degree. The case of a man is taken who steals to satisfy his hunger; the extent of the theft cannot be large, but yet he is punished, and called upon to make the amplest restitution. Much more, does the teacher infer, will be the punishment, and equally certain, where adultery is in question, and the crime is of the most heinous character affecting the most precious interests, and indulged in from the lowest of motives. Men do not despise a thief, etc.; i.e. they do not condemn him under the circumstances, non grandis est culpa (Vulgate), "the fault is not a great one;" but they do despise an adulterer - him they hold in contempt as one "who lacketh understanding" and destroyeth his own soul (ver. 32). The verb buz has, however, been otherwise rendered as "to overlook." Zockler and Holden explain, "men do not overlook," though the former gives the literal sense as "men do not despise." Gesenius renders "despise," but explains, "i.e. they do not let him go unpunished." Vatablus, the Versions, Ariae, Montani, and Munsteri, Hitzig, Delitzsch, and Gesenius, Stuart, Muenscher, and Wordsworth, all agree m regarding the proper meaning of the verb to be "to despise" or "to treat scornfully." The verb buz, moreover, occurs in this sense in Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 11:12; Proverbs 13:13; Proverbs 14:21; Proverbs 23:9; and Song of Solomon 8:1, 7. Michaelis's explanation is as follows: "although a theft is deservedly regarded as infamous in the commonwealth, nevertheless, if it be compared with adultery, it is less wicked." The rendering of the LXX., οὐ θαυμαστὸν ἐάν ἁλῷ τις κλέπτων, i.e. "it is not a wonder if any thief be taken," it is difficult to reconcile with the text in the original, though it may be explained as expressing the certainty of arrest which follows theft, and thus gives colour to the secondary meaning attached to the verb, i.e. that of overlooking. The Syriac and Arabic Versions follow the LXX. while the Chaldee Paraphrase renders, "It is not a matter of surprise if a thief steals," etc. His soul; Hebrew, naph'sko. Nephesh is used here for desire, craving, or appetite, as in Ecclesiastes 6:2, 7; Ezekiel 7:19. "To satisfy his soul" is "to sustain his life." Anima, Vulgate; ψυχή, LXX.
But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
Verse 31. - But if he be taken, he shill restore sevenfold. Men do not despise the thief, but yet they apprehend him and insist on fullest restitution. Be found; i.e. seized (Delitzsch), or legally convicted (Gejerus). He shall restore; i.e. he must restore (Zockler). Delitzsch, however, understands the future, y'shalem, as potential, "he may restore." Sevenfold; Hebrew, siv'athayim; LXX., ἐπταπλάσια; Vulgate, septulum. On this word Geier remarks, "Haec vox nullibi in sacris ponitur pio numero definito;" i.e. "It is nowhere put in Scripture for a definite number." It is therefore to be understood indefinitely of complete restitution, or, as it is expressed in the second and parallel clauses, "all the substance of his house." The word is used in this sense in Genesis 4:24; Leviticus 26:28; Job 5:19 (Lapide). Theft under the Mosaic Law was punishable by a fivefold, fourfold, and twofold restitution (Exodus 22:1-4, 9), and, in the event of this not forthcoming, the delinquent was to be sold into slavery (Leviticus 25:89). In 2 Samuel 12:6 a fourfold restitution is mentioned, and in the New Testament Zacchaeus promises to restore fourfold if he could be convicted of fraud (Luke 19:8). In the attempts to reconcile the "sevenfold" of our passage with the requirements of the Mosaic Law, Aben Ezra says that the combined penalties for two cases of theft are contemplated, and others that in the time of the writer the penalties had been increased. But proof of this is wanting. Grotius's explanation is more curious than correct, viz. that if the theft be repeated seven times, and he be "taken" seven times, the thief should only be punished by being forced to make restitution with some addition. Both the Greek and Roman law demanded a twofold restitution. Selden maintains that theft would have been subjected to the usual punishment (Selden, 'De Jure Not. et Gent.,' 6, 100, 6). We may therefore come to the conclusion that "sevenfold" is used in the sense indicated above. As to any objection which may be raised on the seem of inconsistency in talking of a man malting restitution, and giving all his substance when he steals to satisfy his hunger, it may be remarked that he need not necessarily be without substance of some sort or other, and he could acquire subsequently sufficient to satisfy the demand. On the question whether a person is justified by extreme want in stealing, see Grotius, 'De Jure Belli et Pacis,' 2, 100, 2, § 6; Puffendorf, 'De Jure Not. et Gent,' 2, 100, 6, § 5; Blackstone, 'Commentary,' 4:2 § 4.
But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
Verse 32. - But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding. The adversative "but" is wanting in the original, but is clearly demanded by the contrast which is instituted. The man who steals from hunger has a motive for so doing, but the adulterer has no such excuse for his crime, which is an unwarrantable invasion of his neighbour's rights. Because there are honest ways for satisfying his desires, he therefore "lacketh understanding." Committeth adultery with a woman; Hebrew, noeph ishshah; LXX., ὁ μοιχὸς; Vulgate, qui adulter est; i.e. an adulterer. The Hebrew naaph, "to commit adultery," is here followed by an accusative, as in Leviticus 20:10 and Jeremiah 29:23. Lacketh understanding; Hebrew, khasar-lev; deficit corde. The verb khaser is "to be devoid of anything," "to lack." The expression, which occurs again in ch. Proverbs 7:7 aud Proverbs 9:4, refers to the brutish and stupid condition to which lust has reduced him. Lust has displaced right reason. He is expers judicii (Syriac), devoid of judgment, without intelligence, senseless and stupid. In modern phraseology, he has taken leave of his senses. Both the LXX. and Vulgate have combined the two branches of this verse, the former rendering, "But the adulterer, on account of want of intelligence, compasses the loss of his life," and the latter, "But the adulterer, on account of want of intelligence, loses his life." He that doeth it destroyeth his own soul; or literally, whoso will destroy his life he will do this, i.e. adultery. So Ariae Montani, Munsterus, Chaldee Targum. The man who commits adultery is a self-murderer. The phrase, mashkith naph'sho, corrumpens animam suam, may be resolved into the concrete "a self-destroyer," as Delitzsch. The following verses seem to indicate that it is the temporal life which is referred to in nephesh, but the meaning of the term may be extended to embrace not only physical loss of life, but also moral and spiritual loss. By the Levitical Law adultery was punished by death: "The man that committeth adultery with another man's wife ... the adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to death" (Leviticus 20:10; cf. Deuteronomy 22:22; John 8:4, 5; see also 1 Thessalonians 4:6).
A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
Verse 33. - A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. Two other things more immediate await the adulterer - personal chastisement and loss of reputation. It seems clear that "a wound" (Hebrew, negav, "a stroke" or "blow"), used here in the singular, collectively refers to the corporal punishment, which the outraged husband will inflict upon the adulterer (Delitzsch, Zockler. Lapide). (For the word, see Deuteronomy 17:8; 21:5.) It may also have reference to the punishment inflicted by the Law. In the LXX. the idea is expressed by ὁδύνας, i.e. "pains," and so gives colour to Lapide's explanation of "afflictions of every kind" The Vulgate gives a moral turn to the meaning, and coordinates the word with "dishonour:" Turpitudinem et ignominiam congregat sibi, "Dishonour is the ignominious treatment he will receive on all hands." The second part of the verse states that a brand of disgrace will be attached to his name which will be perpetual, not confined to this life only, but extending beyond it, so that men will never recall it but with this stigma (Patrick, Mercerus). On shall be ... wiped away (Hebrew, timmakeh, the niph. future of makhah, "to wipe off, or away," and in hiph. "to be blotted out," equivalent to the Latin delere), see Deuteronomy 25:6; Ezekiel 6:6; Judges 21:17. The LXX. renders ἐξαλειφθήσεται, and adds, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, "forever." The statements of the verse are illustrated by Horace, 'Satires,' lib. 1:2, 37, who describes the dangers and mishaps which befall the adulterer and fornicator.

"Hic se praecipitem tecto dedit; ille flagellis
Ad mortem caesus: fugiens hic decidit acrem
Praedonum in turbam: dedit hic pro corpore nnmmos."
For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
Verse 34. - For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. The first hemistich is adduced as a reason for what has preceded, while the concluding hemistich and the following and last verses are a deduction strengthening what has been stated before, and also showing that the punishment will be inevitable. The general consensus of commentators and texts is to connect the two hemistiches of this verse. Thus the LXX., Μεστὸς γὰρ ζήλου θυμὸς ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς οὐ φεισεται ἐν ἡμέρα κρίσεως, "For the wrath of her husband filled with jealousy shall not spare in the day of judgment;" the Vulgate, Quia zelus et furor viri non parcet in die vindictae, "For the jealousy and rage of a man shall not spare in the day of vengeance;" the Syriac, Nam quia furor mariti plenus est zelotypia non parcet in die retributionis, "For because rage of a husband is full of jealousy he shall not spare in the day of retribution." So the Arabic, and the Tigarina Versio, and among the commentators Durandus. Dathe, Doderlein, Holden. But the Hebrew simply makes the statement, ki-kimah khamath-gaver, quia zelus excandescentia viri, i.e., as in the Authorized Version, "for jealousy is the rage of a man," ki, equivalent to the Greek γὰρ, "for" and kinah is the subject of the sentence. The Hebrew kinah is "jealousy" as in Proverbs 27:4, "Who is able to stand before envy?" or, as margin, "jealousy." The ordinary copulative verb "is" is best understood as connecting the subject and the predicate; "the rage of a man," Hebrew kamath-gaver, as above, i.e. "the glow of a man's anger" (Delitzsch), or "a man's fierce anger" (Zockler). Jealousy awakens and inflames the wrath and anger of a man or husband to its highest pitch. It evokes the strongest feelings for revenge. Man; Hebrew, gaver, equivalent to ish, "a man," in opposition to "a wife" - "a husband," as here. The word is chiefly found in poetry. Its derivation, from gavar, "to be strong," serves to bring out the idea also of the intensity or force of the jealousy - it burns or rages with all the might of the man. The latter part of the verse in the Hebrew is simply, "and he will not spare (v'lo-yakh'mol) in the day of vengeance." The Authorized Version "therefore" serves to bring out the deduction, though it does net occur in the original. He will not spare; i.e. the injured husband will not show any clemency or mercy to the adulterer, the man who has wronged him so deeply. In the day of vengeance; Hebrew, b'yom nakam. The expression may refer to the time when the adulterer is brought before the judges, but more probably to every occasion on which the husband can exercise his vengeance. So Gejerus. For the expression, cf. Isaiah 34:8, "The day of the Lord's vengeance;" Job 20:28, "The day of his wrath;" and Proverbs 11:4, "The day of wrath." Jealousy is implacable (see Song of Solomon 8:6, "Jealousy is cruel as the grave").
He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
Verse 35. - He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts. No recompense or atonement, nor any gifts however great, will buy him off. These are supposed to be offered by the adulterer to the enraged husband, who, however, will never rest till he effects the utter ruin of his injurer. The literal rendering of the first hemistich is, "He will not accept the face of any ransom." The phrase nasa phanim, is equivalent to the Greek πρόσωπον λαμβάνειν, and signifies "to give a favourable reception to the outward expression of any one." The figure is taken from lifting up the face of a suppliant, the radical meaning of the verb nasa being "to take up," "to lift up." The ransom; Hebrew, kopher (the word usually applied to designate the price of redemption, mulct, or line demanded for expiation of a crime; see Exodus 21:30; Exodus 30:12; Numbers 35:31, 32); here the bribe offered by the adulterer to be let off will be altogether rejected, however alluring, the word p'ney, "face," carrying with it the idea of something recommendatory. For the expression, nasa phanim, cf. Genesis 19:21; Genesis 22:21; Job 13:10; Job 13:8; and Malachi 1:8. The LXX. rendering is, Οὐκ ἀνταλλάξεται οὐδενὸς λύτρου τὴν ἔχθραν, "He will not commute for any redemption his enmity." Neither will he rest content; literally, and he will not be willing; Hebrew, v'lo-yoveh; LXX., οὐδὲ μὴ διαληθῇ, "nor may it, i.e. his enmity, be dissolved or weakened." (On the verb avah, "to consent to," or "to be willing," see Proverbs 1:10.) Many gifts, each increasing in value, may be offered, but he will not be willing to forego his right of revenge. Though thou givest many gifts. It is noticeable that the address, which has been adapted to the third person, here becomes personal, and so takes up the form originally employed in vers. 20-25. A hypothetical case has been imagined in vers. 26-35, but still with the thought underlying it that it applies to the person addressed. "Though thou givest many gifts," or more literally, "though thou multipliest the gift," brings the matter homo to the young man. Gifts; Hebrew, shokad, "the gift," is the word usually employed to designate the bribe offered to corrupt a judge (see Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 10:17; Deuteronomy 16:19; Deuteronomy 27:25; 1 Samuel 8:3). Here it refers to the money offered to free from punishment. The Vulgate gives the idea that these gifts or bribes are offered by a third party on behalf of the adulterer: Nec acquiescet cujusquam precibus, nec suscipiet pro redemptione dona plurima. On these two last verses Lange remarks, "Just as little as the adulterer, taken in his adultery, is left unpunished by the injured husband, so little, yea, even less, wilt the spiritual adulterer remain unpunished of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:17)."

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