"he will not accept the face of anyone that gives a gift:''
he will have no respect unto him for the sake of the gift; whatever gift is offered, be it what it will, for the ransom of his life from death, it will be disregarded;
neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts; increase them, and keep continually giving; nothing but the life of the adulterer will satisfy him, which he will either take away himself, or obtain it in a way of legal prosecution. How foolish therefore is the man that will expose his name and credit, his health and substance, his life in this world, and his soul in another, to utter ruin, for the sake of gratifying a sordid lust! This may be interpreted of God, who is a jealous God in matters of worship, and will not suffer idolatry to go unpunished, which is spiritual adultery.
(z) "non accipiet facies", Montanus; "non acceptabit faciem ullius redemptionis", Mercerus, Gejerus; "ullius lytri", Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens.
INTRODUCTION TO Proverbs 7
The sum of this chapter is to exhort men to attend to the doctrines and precepts of Wisdom, in order to avoid the adulterous woman; the exhortation to keep them with care, affection, and delight, in order to answer the end, is in Proverbs 7:1. A story is told, of Solomon's own knowledge, of a young man ensnared and ruined by a lewd woman; it begins Proverbs 7:6. The young man is described as foolish, and as throwing himself in the way of temptation, Proverbs 7:7; the harlot that met him is described by her attire, her subtlety, her voice, her inconstancy, her impudence, and pretensions to piety, Proverbs 7:10. The arguments she made use of to prevail upon him to go with her are taken partly from the elegance of her bed, the softness of it, and its sweet perfume, and satiety of love to be enjoyed in it, Proverbs 7:15; and partly from the absence of her husband, who was gone a long journey, and had made provision for it for a certain time, Proverbs 7:19. By which arguments she prevailed upon him to his utter ruin: which is illustrated by the similes of an ox going to the slaughter, a fool to the stocks, and a bird to the snare, Proverbs 7:21. And the chapter is concluded with an exhortation to hearken to the words of Wisdom, and to avoid the ways and paths of the harlot, by which many and mighty persons have been ruined; they being the direct road to hell and death, Proverbs 7:24.
and lay up my commandments with thee: as a treasure in his heart, to be brought out upon occasion; to be kept as valuable, and made use of as an antidote against and a preservative from sinning; see Psalm 119:11. The Septuagint and Arabic versions add, what is not in the Hebrew text,
"son, honour the Lord, and thou shalt be strong;''
the Arabic adds,
"and he shall strengthen thee; and fear none besides him.''
and my law as the apple of thine eye; the doctrine of Christ, the law of the Lord, that goes out of Zion; which should be as dear to men as the apple of their eye, and as carefully preserved, that the least injury is not done to it; it should be kept inviolate.
write them upon the table of thine heart; that they may be strong in the memory, deep in the affection, and abiding in the understanding and will; see Proverbs 3:3.
and call understanding thy kinswoman; or "kinsman" (a); such Christ is in our nature, our "goel", our near kinsman, partaker of the same flesh and blood, and therefore is not ashamed to call us brethren, nor should we be ashamed to call him kinsman: moreover, his Word and Gospel, and the understanding of it, should be familiar to us; it should be well "known" (b) by us, as the word used signifies, and dwell richly in us.
(a) "cognatum", Piscator. (b) "Notam", Montanus, Michaelis.
from the stranger which flattereth with her words; See Gill on Proverbs 2:16; see Gill on Proverbs 5:3, and see Gill on Proverbs 6:24.
I looked through my casement; or "lattice" (c); the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions: understand this of the harlot looking out of the window of her house and through the casement, when she spied a young man, as follows; but this agrees not with the Hebrew text, which carries it to Solomon; though a greater than he may be designed, the omniscient God, who looks through the windows and lattice of heaven, and beholds all the actions of the children of men; those that are most private, and done in the dark; and Christ the Son of God, whose "eyes are like unto aflame of fire", to look through all the darkness of Popery, represented by the Thyatirian church state; into all the intrigues of the Romish harlot, and behold all the follies of those that commit fornication with her, Revelation 2:18.
(c) "per cancellum meum", Montanus; "per cancellos", Tigurine version, Michaelis.
I discerned among the youths; or "children" (d); at least in understanding, the children Jezebel, Revelation 2:23;
a young man void of understanding; or "wanting a heart" (e); to know and fear the Lord, and not in the way to learn and improve; but in company like himself, and so in a fair way to continue foolish and simple, and destitute of the true understanding of things, and exposed to the snares delusions of such that lie in wait to deceive.
(d) "inter filios", Pagninus, &c. (e) "carentem corde", Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "destitutum corde", Schultens.
and he went the way to her house; that led directly to her house, which shows a bad intention; and if his design was not to commit fornication, yet to gratify his lusts by looks, dalliances, and impure discourse with her; and hither he went in a set, stately manner, as the word (f) signifies; with an air pleasing to the harlot, as a beau and fop of the town; and by which air and gait he was known by her to be a proper person to attack.
(f) "intelligitur incessus, compositus et pomposus", Piscator; "magnis et patheticis possibus", Michaelis; "est aliquid grande et audax in verbo", Schultens.
with the attire of a harlot; not with her face veiled, as Tamar was, Genesis 38:14; for though that might be the sign of a harlot in the daytime, yet not in the night, as this was; rather with showy gaudy garments, such as the Athenian whores wore, or short ones, as the Romans; the word signifies one fitted to her body, neat and well shaped, to recommend her: so the woman, the whore of Rome, is said to be arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls; signifying the outward pomp and splendour of the Romish religion, designed to captivate weak and unwary minds; see Gill on Revelation 17:4;
and subtle of heart; mistress of all artful and intriguing methods to seduce and ensnare (g); or, "reserved of heart" (h), cautious and wary what she said, told everything that was encouraging, but kept back what was discouraging; or she kept her own heart to herself, while she stole the hearts of others; so the Targum renders it,
"which takes away the hearts of young men;''
and to the same purpose are the versions of the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic: the subtlety of the popes, priests, jesuits, and other emissaries of Rome, to deceive the hearts of the simple, is well known; the coming of antichrist was after the working of Satan, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
(g) "Fallendique vias mille ministret amor", Tibullus ad Junonem, 6. v. 12. (h) "cauta corde", Tigurine version, Mercerus: Gejerus; "retento corde", Cocceius.
her feet abide not in her house; to attend the business of it; but site is gadding abroad to seek her lovers, and bring them in; it is the character of good women that they are keepers at home, but it is the sign of a harlot to gad abroad, which is enlarged upon in Proverbs 7:11.
now in the streets; takes her walks abroad in the streets of the city, to see who she can light of, to pick up and bring home;
and lieth in wait at every corner; of the street, where more ways meet, sometimes at one corner, and sometimes at another, that she may take all that comes; sometimes she is "without" in the fields, and in the country, to see what she can meet with there; and sometimes in the "streets" of the city, and in the populous places of it, in the markets, and courts, and in every private corner, trying all ways to gain lovers, and satisfy her lust (k): all which may represent the diligence and industry, art and cunning, of the Romish emissaries to gain proselytes to their idolatrous worship, who everywhere lie in wait to deceive.
(i) Targ. Onk. in Genesis 34.31. (k) "Mille modi veneris", Ovid de Arte Amandi, l. 3. prope finem.
and with an impudent face; or, "and she strengthened her face" (m); rubbed her forehead, put on a brasen face, a whore's front; see Jeremiah 3:3. And
said unto him; accosted him in the following manner, without shame or blushing.
(l) "apprehendit eum", Pagninus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis, Schultens. (m) "et roboravit facies suas", Montanus; "vultumque suum obfirmavit", Schultens, so Michaelis; "obfirmabat", Cocceius.
this day have I paid my vows; not on account of the young man, and for his health, and for meeting with him; for those vows were not now made to be paid, but were made and paid already: but her vows of peace offerings and thanksgivings, which, as she had promised, she had performed. Under this point may be reckoned the vows of virginity and celibacy, through a show of which the most shocking iniquities are committed by the members of the church of Rome.
diligently to seek thy face; which of all faces she desired to see, being most lovely to her; with the comeliness of which she was exceedingly taken and ravished, and got up betimes in the morning, as the word (n) signifies, even before day, to seek for him;
and I have found thee; which she speaks with a rapture and ecstasy of joy; blessing herself on this happy occasion, that she should come out so opportunely, and find him so quickly; intimating, that it was a kind providence, and that the thing was of God: so conversions to the antichristian church, which are the artifice of hell, are ascribed to the divine Being.
(n) "ad quaerendum mane", Montanus.
with carved works; perhaps the bed's head, tester, and posts, were all carved, and cut out of cedar wood and others, as Gersom observes; though some think: this refers to the variety of work in tapestry, which look like incisions and carvings, or the network, and agnet holes made therein: this may be very well applied to the carved work, and carved images, set up in the Romish churches;
with fine linen of Egypt; the sheets, pillows, and bolsters, made thereof, and so soft to lie upon; which was reckoned the best and finest, though not the strongest. Pliny says (p), of the linen of Egypt, that it had less strength and firmness in it (it being so fine); but bore the best price, and was the most gainful and profitable. The word used is not what is elsewhere met with, even when the linen of Egypt is mentioned, and indeed is nowhere else used: the Targum renders it, an Egyptian covering; and so most of the Oriental versions interpret it of bed coverings of tapestry painted, brought out of Egypt. The word is used in the Chaldee language for cords; and may here signify threads of linen twisted together, or linen cords, with which the harlot's bed was corded, and looked beautiful. Pliny (q) says, there were four sorts of linen in Egypt; Tanitic, Pelusiac, Butic, and Tenterytic; so called from the names and provinces where they were cultivated; and perhaps the Etun of Egypt may be the Tanitic: the fine linen, called "byssus", was brought out of India into Egypt; and is said to grow upon a tree as high as the poplar, and its leaves like a willow (r). Egypt is very properly made mention of in this account; it being one of the names of the city of Rome, of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, and equal to both for lust and luxury, Revelation 11:8.
(o) Vid. Homer. Odyss. 4. c. 299. & Odyss. 7. prope finem. (p) Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1.((q) Ibid. (r) Philostrat. Vit. Apollen. l. 2. c. 9.
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon; all odorous, and of a sweet smell: Horace (u) speaks of the anointed beds of such persons; and of the above spices ointments were made, with which the harlot's bed might be perfumed. Cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, are reckoned among the wares of Babylon, or the church of Rome, Revelation 18:13.
(s) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 1.((t) Clemens Alex. Paedagog. l. 2. c. 8. p. 177. (u) "Uctis cubilibus pellicum", Epod. Ode. 5. v. 69, 70.
let us solace ourselves with loves; mutual love, not lawful, but criminal; more properly lusts; denoting the abundance of it, and the pleasure promised in it, which is very short lived, and bitterness in the end.
(w) "inebriemur", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis, Schultens. (x) Catullus de Acme, Ephesians 43. c. 11.
he is gone a long journey; or, "a way afar off" (z); into a distant country, and therefore need not fears return of him that night; she was prepared to answer all objections. The good man of the house may be understood of Christ, who is gone into a far country, to heaven, to take a kingdom to himself, and return, Luke 19:12; and in the mean while the church of Rome, who professes herself the true church and spouse of Christ, is committing fornication with the kings of the earth; and has set up another in his room and stead, whom she calls Christ's vicar on earth; and flatters herself and her lovers with impunity, from his distance from her, and his vicar having a right to do as he pleases.
(y) "quia non est vir in domo suo", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, &c. (z) "in via longinqua", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Schultens; "in via a longinquo", Montanus.
and will come home at the day appointed; and not before: Aben Ezra interprets it, at the beginning of the month, at the new moon, when the moon is covered (b), which Horace (c) calls "tricessima sabbata": but rather it is to be understood of the full moon, as Aquila and the Vulgate Latin version render it; when it is light all night, and so a proper time for travelling home again. Gersom takes it to mean the beginning of the year, when the holy blessed God, parabolically speaking, sits upon a throne to judge the world in righteousness: the Targum calls it the day of the congregation; some fixed festival day, when the congregation meets together; and at such a festival, or appointed time, this good man had fixed for his return, and when, and not before, he would. This she says to remove all fears from the young man of being surprised and caught by her husband. There is an appointed time for Christ's second coming, when he will certainly come, and not before; and which is supposed to be at a great distance of time: and therefore wicked men and seducers, and such as the apostate church of Rome make use of to encourage themselves in their wickedness, in hopes of impunity, put the evil day far away from them; but in the appointed time Christ will come, and call his servants to an account, good and bad.
(a) "in manu sua", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (b) "in die plenae lunae", V. L. Michaelis; "novilunii", so some in Vatablus, Piscator; "ad diem interlunii", Cocceius, Schultens. (c) Satirar. l. 1. Sat. 9. v. 69.
with the flattering of her lips she forced him; to go along with her, not against his will, but with it: though at first there was some reluctance, conscience rose up and opposed; but her words, which were smoother than oil, found a way into his heart, and prevailed upon him to yield to her entreaties; he could no longer withstand her attacks, but surrendered to her; her charming voice, and flattering lips, had more effect upon him than her kisses; notwithstanding these he was reluctant, but could stand it out no longer against her alluring words and soothing language. With this compare the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish through antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:10.
(d) "declinare facit eum", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Gejerus; "flexit", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Michaelin; "inclinavit illum", Cocceius. (e) "Verbosa gaudet Venus Ioquela", Catullus ad Camer. Ephesians 53. v. 20. (f) "multitudine discipline suae", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "doctrinae suae", Michaelis.
as an ox goeth to the slaughter; as senseless and stupid as that; and as ignorant of the issue as that is, led by the butcher, as if it was going to a pasture, when it is going to the slaughter house. So such persons as are ensnared by harlots; they follow them in a view of pleasure, but it ends in ruin; if not in the loss of bodily life, by the revengeful husband or civil magistrate; yet in the destruction of their immortal souls;
or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; a drunken besotted fool, who, while he is leading to the stocks, is insensible whither he is going; but when he has been there awhile, and is come out of his drunken fit, then he is sensible of his punishment and his shame. Or, "as the stocks are for the correction of a fool" (h): or, as a man goes to "the stocks, to the correction of a fool" (i); so the young man went after the harlot: or, as "one fettered" (k), goes thither, bound hand and foot; he cannot help himself, nor avoid the shame. It denotes both the power of sin, there is no withstanding its allurements and blandishments, when once given way to, and the shame that attends or follows it. The Targum is,
"as a dog to a chain;''
and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.
(g) "subito", Baynus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis. (h) "sicut compes ad castigationem stulti", Pagninus, Montanus, Baynus. (i) "Abiens post cam, quasi veniens ad compedes ad castigationem stultorum", Gejerus. (k) "Velut compeditus", Junius & Tremellius; "velut in compede ibat", Michaelis; "tanquam constricto ad pedes capite", Schultens.
"as an hart into whose liver an arrow flies;''
or is wounded by an arrow in the liver, as the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions: and so the meaning is, that this young man went as swiftly after the harlot as a hart does when it is wounded;
as a bird hasteth to the snare; it has its eye upon the bait, and flies swiftly to that, insensible of the snare that is laid for it;
and knoweth not that it is for his life; the bird knows not that the snare is set for its life, as Jarchi; or the fool knows not that it is for his soul; that it shall die, which hates correction, as Aben Ezra. The man that goes after the harlot knows not, or does not consider, that it is to the destruction of his precious and immortal soul; so the Targum,
"he knows not that it tends to the death of his soul;''
and to the same sense the Syriac and Arabic versions; the second death, which adulterers and idolaters shall have their part in, Revelation 21:8. The souls of men, and the ruin of them, are what the whore of Rome deals in, Revelation 18:13; she goes into perdition, into the bottomless pit, herself, and carries all her worshippers with her, Revelation 17:8.
(l) "Spleu ridere facit, cogit amare jecur", Ovid. "Si torrere jecur quaeris idoneum", Horat. Carmin. l. 4. Ode 1. v. 12. "Cum tibi flagrans amor et libido saeviet circa jecur ulcerosum". lbid l. 1. Ode 25. v. 13, 15.
and attend to the words of my mouth; the doctrines of Christ; the best preservative from the allurements of the whore of Rome.
go not astray in her paths; for whoever walks in her paths goes astray from God and his law; from Christ and his Gospel; and from the true church of God; and from the right paths of faith, duty and worship.
yea, many strong men have been slain by her; men famous for martial exploits, as Samson and others, have been overcome by her: some of great fortitude of mind have not been able to withstand her, she has prevailed over them; and others of robust constitutions have been weakened by diseases, contracted through incontinency with her; and some have suffered death by her means, either from her husband, or her gallants, or the civil magistrate: and of these there have been "innumerable" instances; so the word (o) for "strong men" sometimes signifies; and so it is here rendered in the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "and innumerable are they whom she has slain". All the world have wondered after the whore of Rome; kings of the earth and mighty men have committed fornication with her; high and low, rich and poor, have been ruined by her; thousands have gone to hell by her means; and some of the sycophants of Rome have even said, that if the pope of Rome should send thousands to hell, of which they seem themselves to be conscious, no one should say to him, What dost thou?
(m) "multos magnosque", Gejerus. (n) See Dr. Kennicott's Dissert. 1. p. 110. (o) Sept. so Arab. "numerosi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Amama, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens; so Bootius, Animadv. l. 4. c. 11. s. 2.