Proverbs 7 COMMENTARY (Ellicott)

Proverbs 7
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

(m). Thirteenth Discourse:Also Against Adultery (Proverbs 7).

(3) Bind them upon thy fingers.—See above on Proverbs 3:3. The thong of the phylactery or fillet for the left arm was wound seven times round it, and as many times round the middle finger.

Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
(7) Among the simple ones.—He was not yet vicious, only empty-headed.

Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
(8) And he went the way . . .—The word is used of the slow step of a religious procession (2 Samuel 6:13), here of the sauntering of the idle youth up and down the street within view of the temptress’s house.

In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
(9) In the twilight . . .—He has no excuse of sudden temptation to offer; from twilight till dark night he had trifled with danger, and now at last his “calamity comes” (Proverbs 6:15).

And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
(10) Subtil of heart.—Feigning love to her husband and devotion to her lovers, yet caring for none, only to satisfy her own passions.

(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
(11) Her feet abide not in her house.—She is not a “keeper at home,” as St. Paul (Titus 2:5) would have Christian matrons to be.

Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
(14) I have peace offerings with me.—Rather, upon me, i.e., I had vowed them, and to-day I have accomplished my vow. The peace-, or thank-offering as it is also rendered, was purely voluntary, in token of thanksgiving for some mercy. The breast and right shoulder of the victim were given to the priest, and the rest belonged to the offerer, who was thus admitted, as it were, to feast with God (Leviticus 3, 7), profanation of this privilege being punished with death. Peace-offerings were accordingly offered on occasions of national rejoicing, as at the inauguration of the covenant (Exodus 24:5), at the accession of Saul (1 Samuel 11:15), and at the bringing up of the ark to Zion (2 Samuel 6:17), &c. This turning of what should have been a religious festival for the family into an occasion for license, is paralleled by the desecration of the Agapæ at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:20 sqq.) and the history of Church-feasts among ourselves. (For the spiritual interpretation of this passage as symbolising false doctrine, see Bishop Wordsworth; and also Notes on Proverbs 2:16-19 above.)

Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
(16) Carved works.—Rather, with coloured or striped coverlets. For another notice of the extravagance of the women of Jerusalem, see Isaiah 3, and for a description of the trade of Tyre, the great supplier of foreign luxuries, see Ezek. xxvii Myrrh is said to be a natural product of Arabia, aloes and cinnamon of the east coast of Africa and Ceylon.

I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
(19) The goodman.—Literally, the man; she does not even call him “my husband.”

At the day appointed.—Rather, at the full moon, a fortnight later, as now it would seem to have been new moon, when the nights are dark.

He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
(22) Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks.—This sense is only gained by a transposition of the original. It has been attempted to translate it literally “and as if in fetters to where one corrects fools,” i.e., to prison.

Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
(23) Till a dart strike through his liver.—These words must be taken in a parenthesis.

That it is for his life.—i.e., at the cost of it, when “his flesh and body are consumed,” and remorse has seized upon him (Proverbs 5:11).

Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
Courtesy of Open Bible