Proverbs 7 Commentary

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Proverbs 7:1 My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you.

  • Son - Pr 1:8; 3:1
  • Keep - Lk 8:15; 11:28; Jn 14:23; 15:20; Re 1:3; 22:9
  • Treasure - Pr 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; 10:14; Deut 11:28; Job 22:22

Note: All verbs in bold red indicate commands, not suggestions! 

Bridges - The study of wisdom in the Word of God is now commended to us with affectionate earnestness and with a variety of beautiful images. Let us ponder these valuable rules and see how we can put them into practice in our lives. Let the whole mind and heart be occupied with this. Keep it as the daily means of life. Sir Matthew Hale told his children, “If I omit reading a portion of Scripture in the morning, it never goes well with me through the day.” Store up my commands, we are told, not on our shelves but in our hearts. (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See Bridgesunabbreviated comments below).

My son - An introductory phrase used 23 times in Proverbs (these are worth studying - hold pointer over reference) - Pr 1:8, 1:10, 1:15 (See Proverbs 1 Commentary), Pr 2:1, 3:1, 3:11, 3:21, 4:10, 4:20, 5:1, 5:20, 6:1, 6:3, 6:20, 7:1, 19:27, 23:15, 23:19, 23:26, 24:13, 24:21, 27:11, 31:2.

Proverbs 7 in dramatic and vivid language describes how a naive young man falls into the trap of the adulteress and we do well to take careful note of the steps that lead to his destruction, lest we fall into a similar trap (Don't say "That could never happen to me!" - See 1Co 8:2, 10:12, Pr 16:18)

For the third time n Proverbs 5-7, Solomon prefaces his warnings about sexual impropriety with a call to pay attention to the Word of God (Pr 5:1, 2, 7, 8, 6:20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25; 7:1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The Truth of God's Word heard and heeded is like a mighty buttress to keep us from believing the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil that the "grass is greener" on the other side of the fence. Remember that "lust" begins with our thoughts (and images that convey thoughts) and that the best defense is a good offense, taking in Truth to counter and expose the Lie. I pray Solomon's warnings and explanation of the danger encourage each of us as men to fight the good fight of faith. Amen.

The Word of God is not just our offensive weapon but it is our shield, Solomon writing that...

Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. (Pr 30:5, cp Ps 119:9, 11)

Keep (Hebrew = shamar; Lxx = phulasso) - Command to guard, to be on one's guard, to take heed, to watch over carefully. For example, Adam and Eve were to watch over (keep = shamar) and care for the Garden of Eden where the Lord God had placed them (Ge 2:15). Solomon is charging us to carefully watch over God's word, a charge which is always relevant, but which is strategically important if we as godly men are to keep our feet from stumbling into sexual immorality in this increasing ungodly age.

Treasure (to conceal, hide, store) (06845)(tsapan/sapan-word study) - Command to hide, store up. What do you treasure and hide or store up? That which you greatly value! Do you value the Word of God as precious to your life, even more valuable than your necessary food. The sorely afflicted OT saint Job did, declaring...

I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured (same Hebrew verb tsaphan) the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:12-note)

Comment: I would submit in fact that this declaration by Job gives us a very important "clue" as to how this saint was able to endure and persevere such incredible trials - see the study discussing this premise.

In a similar use of the Hebrew verb treasure (tsaphan) the writer of Psalm 119 linked the treasuring of God's holy word with a life of holiness and purity...

9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. (Spurgeon note)

10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. (Spurgeon note)

11 Your word I have treasured (tsaphan) in my heart, that I may not sin against You (Spurgeon note). (Ps 119:9, 10, 11)

I like what John Piper says in his practical message on Thy Word I Have Treasured in my Heart...

I believe that the Bible teaches us to memorize scripture the way an ant gathers food in summer: because it is so valuable and will be needed in the winter months. “[The ant] prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest” (Proverbs 6:8). Memorizing scripture is not a discipline for its own sake. It is because the scriptures are a treasure and will be needed before the day is done to help you escape a sinful attitude and live a life that glorifies God. (Dr Piper's message is highly recommended for the equipping of God's men in the battle with the lusts of our flesh - I would encourage you if you have time to listen to the audio Mp3 version as it is even better than the transcript - Transcript = Thy Word I Have Treasured in my Heart; or the Mp3 Audio Version)

Within you - Don't miss the implication of the little Hebrew preposition 'eth which is translated within. (Lxx = para = beside which can speak of closeness or in one's presence). The Hebrew preposition 'eth indicates an even closer proximity than another Hebrew preposition (im) also translated "with".

The TWOT has this note on 'eth...

To return to the basic meaning “with,” this preposition is used frequently in a particular theological context. This is (a) in the promises of God to man: “I am/will be with you”; (b) affirmations from man that God is indeed with them; (c) prayers of petition that God may be with them. The Scripture then is replete with the idea that God calls His people to fellowship with Himself, be it in the garden of Eden, in the odyssey of an Abraham, in a covenant situation at Sinai, in the tabernacle, in a wilderness, crossing a Jordan, entering a Canaan, and so forth. At this point we should observe that the NT is no different. It is Mark (Mark 3:13, 14, 15) who tells us that Jesus’ primary reason for calling the twelve was “that they might be with him.” The call to fellowship always precedes the call to service. (Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press)

Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.

  • Keep - Pr 4:13; Lev 18:5; Is 55:3; Jn 12:49,50; 14:21; 15:14; 1Jn 2:3,4; 5:1, 2, 3; Re 22:14
  • Apple - Deut 32:10; Ps 17:8; Zech 2:8

Bridges - Keep a jealous regard for the law. What care is necessary to guard … the apple of your eye, that most tender part of the most tender part of the body! With the same care preserve the integrity of the law. Let every part of it have its full weight. To explain it away or to lower its requirements breaks down the barrier and gives temptation an easy way in. The sensual sinner is often a covert infidel. (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See Bridgesunabbreviated comments below). - Observe that both verbs are commands. God is commanding us to guard or give heed His commandments and to live! Solomon is not just referring to living physically but really living (in Jesus' words) the abundant life (Jn 10:10, cp references on life - 2Ti 1:1, Col 3:4-note, 2Co 4:10, 11, Jn 20:31, 14:19, 1Jn 5:11, 12, 13) as our Creator meant it to be lived on the highest plane, as Christ lived while He trod sod and which is possible for all believers who will but surrender (yield, submit, trust and obey) to the power of the Spirit of Christ (Gal 5:16-note), Who alone can facilitate, motivate and empower a life of holiness (cp Php 2:12, 13 - see notes Php 2:12; 13).

Keep in Septuagint is Lxx = phulasso [word study] = to guard

In Deuteronomy (just before Israel was to enter the promised land) Moses linked the hearing and heeding of God's Word with real life and with blessing...

(Moses) said to them, "Take (Septuagint = Lxx = prosecho in present imperative = make this your habitual practice to be alert and concerned) to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully (i.e., obey, cp Lk 11:28, James 1:22, 23, 24, 25-see notes), even all the words of this law. 47 For it (the words of this law) is not an idle (empty, vain) word for you; indeed it (the word) is your life. (You might want to read Moses' explanation again!) And by this word you will prolong your days in the land, which you are about to cross the Jordan to possess (blessings for obedience to the Word)." (Deut 32:46, 47)

This command to keep my commandments is similar to that given by Paul to Timothy...

Retain (present imperative = command calling for this to be a way of life, our continual, habitual practice) the standard (see word study) of sound (hugiaino = "healthy") words which you have heard from me, (How can we retain this standard?) in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus (Thus we need to continually abide in His Word, abide in the Vine if we would be enabled with faith and love He provides through His indwelling Spirit). (2Ti 1:13 - note)

As the apple (iyshown) - (figurative of course = simile) The idea of this figurative comparison is that the teaching like the pupil of the eye is necessary for sight and must be assiduously kept from injury. The pupil was considered by the ancients to be a sphere like an apple.

See note on the value of observing and accurately interpreting terms of comparison = metaphors and similes. See also Guidelines for Figuring our Figurative Language

Semantic Domains says that 'iyshown (apple) is...

the black center of the eyeball, tender and important part of sight (Dt 32:10; Ps 17:8; Pr 20:20), note: NIV translates as “apple (of the eye)” not as a reference to fruit, but the English idiom of what is precious and cherished

The point is that even as the pupil is a symbol of a most precious thing which is carefully protected, so too we are to give constant attentiveness and care to the teaching (cf. Dt 32:10). We are to guard these teachings because they give spiritual and moral sight.

In the context of Solomon's mini-seminar on "How to Keep from Sexual Immorality", it is notable that sexual sin often begins with undisciplined eyes and hands (Mt 5:27, 28, 29, 30). As alluded to elsewhere the real problem is the problem of the heart.

TSK writes - As the pupil of the eye, the hole or the opening of the uveous coat, or iris, through which the rays of light pass, and falling upon the retina, there depict every object in its natural colour, as upon a piece of white paper. Now the pupil of the eye being essentially necessary to sight, and easily injured, it is not only, in common with the other parts, deeply entrenched in the skull, ramparted with the forehead and cheek bones, defended by the eyebrows, eyelids, and eyelashes, and placed so as to be best protected by the hands, but, by a wonderful mechanism, is contracted or dilated by the muscular power of the iris, without which an excess of light would cause instant blindness. (Treasury of Scripture Knowledge)

Proverbs 7:3 Bind them on your fingers. Write them on the tablet of your heart.

  • Deut 11:18, 19, 20; Is 30:8; Je 17:1; 31:33; 2Co 3:3

Bridges - Let God’s commands be at hand for constant use. Bind them on your fingers. In this way they will always be in sight, so they may be ready whenever they are needed. So they can be used in a practical way, write them on the tablet of your heart. Oh, my God, this is your almighty work! But you have promised to do it for your people (Jeremiah 31:33). I take hold of your covenant. Lord, seal your promised grace on me! (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See Bridgesunabbreviated comments below).

Bind them - (Hebrew = qashar = of literal binding, but here figurative, cp souls of David and Jonathan in 1Sa 18:1) This command is a common metaphor in the OT emphasizing the vital importance and absolute necessity to hold fast to the faithful (Titus 1:9-note) commandments and teaching of God. All four of the following parallel passages use qashar for bind.

Proverbs 3:3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 6:21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck (Ed: not to "choke" you but to give you life!).

Deuteronomy 6:8 "And you shall bind (perfect tense) them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 "And you shall write (perfect tense) them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 11:18 "You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind (perfect tense) them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 19 "And you shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 "And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,

Proverbs 7:4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call (imperfect tense) understanding your intimate friend

  • Say - Pr 2:2, 3, 4; 4:6, 7, 8
  • You - Job 17:14; Song 8:1; Mt 12:49,50; Lk 11:27,28)

Bridges - Let wisdom be the object of tender affection, as a sister or kinsman. (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See Bridgesunabbreviated comments below).

Wisdom...sister...understanding...intimate friend - Pictures the close attachment we are to maintain with wisdom and understanding. Be in continual contact with them even as you frequently get in touch with your relative or close friend.

See = Wisdom (02451) chokmah

Intimate friend is used only one other place in the OT - Ruth 2:1 "kinsman".

F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily -This wisdom might seem to be too unearthly and ethereal to engage our passionate devotion, unless we remember that she was incarnated in Jesus Christ, who, throughout this book, seems forthshadowed in the majestic conception of wisdom. And who shall deny that the most attractive and lovable traits blended in his matchless character as Son of Man and exalted Redeemer.

With what sensitive purity He bent his face to the ground and wrote on the dust, when her accusers brought to Him a woman taken in the act of sin! With what thoughtfulness He sent word to Peter that he was risen, and provided the meal for his weary and wave-drenched sailor friends on the shores of the lake! With what quick intuition He read Mary’s desire to anoint Him for the burying!

It was this combination of what is sweet in woman and strong in man, which so deeply satisfied men like Bernard, Rutherford, Fénélon, and thousands more, who have been shut out from the delights of human love, but have found in Jesus the complement of their need, the satisfaction of their hunger and thirst. In Him, for them, was restored the vision of the sweet mother of early childhood; of the angel sister who went to be with God; of the early love that was never destined to be realized.

Women find in Jesus strength on which to lean their weakness; and men find in Him the tender; thoughtful sympathy to which they can confidently, entrust themselves. We are born for the infinity and Divine; earthly loves, at their best, are only patterns of things in the heavens. They are priceless; but let us look into them and through them, to behold the unseen and eternal that lie beneath.

Proverbs 7:5 That they may keep you from an adulteress *, from the foreigner who flatters with her words .

  • Pr 2:16; 5:3; 6:24

To preserve thee from a strange woman, from a stranger who hath made smooth her sayings. (Young's Literal)

Bridges - Man must have the object of his delight. If wisdom is not loved, lust will be indulged. The Bible therefore, not merely read but cherished, proves a sacred exorcist to expel the power of evil (Pr 2:10, 16; 6:23-24; 23:26-27). (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See Bridgesunabbreviated comments below).

What guards one from an adulteress (strange woman)? Godly wisdom and understanding. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge or the ability to think and act utilizing knowledge. Wisdom is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge. Note that it is not enough to have knowledge but it must work itself out in wise living (wisdom). Wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good.

In his letter to the Colossians Paul writes that...

we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Why? Read on) 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14-see notes)

Adulteress (literally a "woman who is a stranger", ESV = forbidden woman) - This English word is the translation of 2 Hebrew words, one the generic word for woman (ishshah) coupled with the Hebrew verb zur which means to be a stranger (from literal meaning of to turn aside as for lodging, but also can mean to go astray). The ESV picks up on the fact that there are 2 words

TWOT writes that the verb zur "is principally used in the participial form, zār, appearing sixty-nine times. It carries the force of a noun, and is so listed by KB. It is used for some action strange to the law (Lev 10:1), and for one who is a stranger to another household (Deut 25:5), to another person (Pr 14:10), and to another land (Ho 7:9). The basic thought is of non-acquaintance or non-relatedness. The feminine form, “The Strange Woman,” often in Prov is the adulteress. (Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press)

Here are the uses of zur in Proverbs -

  • (Prov 2:16) To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words;
  • (Prov 5:3) For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech;
  • (Prov 5:10) And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien;
  • (Prov 5:17) Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you.
  • (Prov 5:20) For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
  • (Prov 6:1) My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger,
  • (Prov 7:5) That they may keep you from an adulteress, From the foreigner who flatters with her words.
  • (Prov 11:15) He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it, But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.
  • (Prov 14:10) The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.
  • (Prov 20:16) Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger; And for foreigners, hold him in pledge.
  • (Prov 22:14) The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.
  • (Prov 23:33) Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things.
  • (Prov 27:2) Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.
  • (Prov 27:13) Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger; And for an adulterous woman hold him in pledge.

Foreigner - In Proverbs, foreigner or "foreign woman" refers to a prostitute or an adulteress. See other uses..

  • (Prov 2:16) To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words;
  • (Prov 5:10) And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien;
  • (Prov 5:20) For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
  • (Prov 6:24) To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
  • (Prov 7:5) That they may keep you from an adulteress, From the foreigner who flatters with her words.
  • (Prov 23:27) For a harlot is a deep pit And an adulterous woman is a narrow well.
  • (Prov 27:13) Take his garment when he becomes surety for a stranger; And for an adulterous woman hold him in pledge.

Flatters with her words (ESV = "smooth words") - It is notable that the idea of "smooth" words is repeatedly associated with an adulteress. (Pr 2:16, 6:24, 7:5). Here's the point guys, be careful when someone other than your wife flatters you with "smooth" words!

Seneca wrote that...

The voice of the flatterer stays long in the ear.

Unfortunately Benjamin Disraeli was correct when he mused...

Talk to a man about himself and he will listen for hours.

Flatters (02505) (chalaq) - means to be smooth, creamy, slippery, i.e., pertaining to a state or condition of a moist, viscous food, which is therefore easy to swallow. Webster says that to flatter is to praise excessively especially from motives of self-interest. Flattery is praise insincerely given for an interested purpose.

The 1828 Noah Webster's dictionary has a great definition of flattery as...

to please a person by applause or favorable notice, by respectful attention, or by any thing that exalts him in his own estimation, or confirms his good opinion of himself.

Flattery is like chewing gum—enjoy it briefly, but don’t swallow it! Flattery is the art of telling a person exactly what he thinks of himself.

The one who flatters is like a bee which has honey in his mouth and a sting in his tail.

Thomas Brooks rightly said that

Flattery is the devil's invisible net.

George Chapman described flatterers this way...

Flatterers look like friends as wolves look like dogs.

TWOT says that chalaq/halaq is a verb which...refers once to the literal process of smoothing metal to make an idol by hitting it on an anvil with a forge hammer (Is 41:7). Its principal use (Qal and Hiphil) is of smooth speech or flattery, i.e. words which were smoother than butter and like oil (Ps 55:21). This use of the tongue is always condemned (Ps 5:9) and ends in the speaker being himself entrapped (Pr 29:5). It is characteristic of the seductive woman who is to be avoided (Pr 2:16; 7:5). The enigmatic man who “flatters himself in his own eyes” (Ps 36:2) may possibly be better translated, “His God will destroy him with a glance when he uncovers his impious slander” (cf. Dahood, M. “Psalms” I, AB, p. 271), taking this from halaq III “perish.” Ugaritic hlq “perish” is parallel to mt “die” (UT 19: no. 969) and Akkadian halāqu “disappear.” “Their heart is divided” (Ho 10:2 KJV) is better taken as “is false” (RSV) that is, figurative of the fickle heart. (Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press) (Bolding added)

Charles Bridges' unabbreviated comments on Pr 7:1-5 - 1. My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2. Keep my commandments and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4. Say unto wisdom, thou art my sister, and call understanding thy kinswoman: 5. That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger that flattereth with her words.

THE study of wisdom in the word of God is here commended to us with affectionate earnestness, and with a beautiful variety of imagery. Let us ponder these valuable rules for practical application.

Let the whole heart and mind be occupied with it. Keep it as the daily means of life. (Pr p. 3:21, 22; 4:4, 13, 6:23. Comp. Isa. 55:2, 3, Jer. 22:15.) Sir Matthew Hale told his children—’ If I omit reading a portion of Scripture in the morning, it never goes well with me through the day.’ Lay it up (Pr  10:14, Deut. 11:18, Luke 2:19, 51.) carefully, not on our shelves, but in our hearts. Let the whole word of God be our precious treasure. Receive the promises from his grace with simple affiance, and the commandments from his holiness with ready obedience. Stand with your eye in the land of promise; but with your feet in “the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10.)

Maintain a jealous regard for the law. What care is necessary to keep the apple of the eye—that most tender part of the most tender member! (Deut. 32:10, Psalm 17:8, Zech. 2:8) With the same care preserve the integrity of the law. Let every part of it have its full weight. To explain it away, or to lower its requirements—breaks down the barrier, and gives an easy entrance to temptation. The sensual sinner is often a covert infidel.

Let it be at hand for constant use. Bind them upon thy fingers (Pr  3:3, Deut. 6:8, 11:18.)—that, being always in sight, they may be always ready for the present moment. And for their practical influence—write them upon the table of thine heart. Oh! my God—this is thy Almighty work. (Isa. 26:12, 2 Cor. 3:3.) But thou hast engaged to do it for thy people. (Jer. 31:33) I “take hold of thy covenant.” Lord! seal thy promised grace.

Let it be the object of tender affection—as our sister—our kinswoman. It is her embrace, that throws the harlot’s beauty into the shade. Man must have his object of delight. If wisdom is not loved, lust will be indulged. The Bible therefore—not merely read, but made the cherished object of familiar intercourse—proves a sacred exorcist to expel the power of evil. (Pr 2:10, 16; 6:23, 24; 23:26, 27.)

Proverbs 7:6 For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice,

  • Ge 26:8; 2Sa 6:16

For - Always pause and ponder this strategic term of explanation - Ask (and attempt to answer) at least one simple question - "What is the writer explaining?" Remember that when you find a "for" at the beginning of a verse, it is usually (not 100% - check the context = Keep Context King) a term of explanation. In Proverbs 5-7 there a several "for's" for you to pause and ponder. (Pr 5:3, 20, 21, Pr 6:23, 26, 34, Pr 7:6, 19, 26). As an aside there are over 9000 occurrences of for in the NASB, which should give you many opportunities to practice (and make "perfect") the discipline of interrogating the Biblical text (See interrogate with the 5W/H questions).

Solomon speaks in the first person as if he had witnessed the lurid drama which he proceeds to describe.

Proverbs 7:7 And I saw among the naive, and discerned among the youths a young man lacking sense ,

  • Naive - Pr 1:4,22,32; 8:5; 14:15,18; 19:25; 22:3; 27:12; Ps 19:7; 119:130; Ro 16:18,19
  • Youths - Pr 6:32; 9:4,16; 10:13; 12:11; 19:2; 24:30; Je 4:22; Mt 15:16)

Bridges - A youth who lack[s] judgment is in the company of young people as simple as himself. (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Naive (KJV = simple ones) (06612) (pethi - word study) is related to a verb which conveys the basic idea of to be open, spacious, wide. When applied to persons as in this verse it describes the immature or simple man who is open to all kinds of enticement, not having developed a discriminating judgment (see Pr 5:2 discretion that comes from Pr 5:1) as to what is right or wrong. Most of the OT uses are in Proverbs (Ps 19:7; 116:6; 119:130; Pr. 1:4, 22, 32; 7:7; 8:5; 9:4, 6, 16; 14:15, 18; 19:25; 21:11; 22:3; 27:12; Ezek 45:20)

Spurgeon aptly described such a naive young man when he quipped...

None but the silliest of geese would go to the fox's sermon

As used in Proverbs naive designates the opposite of a moral man. It does not mean a simpleton in our sense of the term, but a sinner, a rascal. Proverbs has a message of morality for the wicked.

TWOT writes that if the pethiy...refuses to learn he will go on to inherit folly (the impairment of moral and spiritual values, Pr 14:18). To achieve moral and spiritual maturity, the naive are encouraged to receive prudence (Pr 1:4), to understand wisdom (Pr 8:5), and to dwell where wisdom makes her home (Pr 9:4). Otherwise, he may drift into temptation and then sin, immorality (Pr 7:7f.), robbery and murder (Pr 1:10, 11, 12, 13, 14). Apart from godly tutelage, he is on the road to death (Pr 7:7; 22:3). (Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press)

A naive person is deficient in worldly experience, worldly wisdom or informed judgment (gullible, "wet behind the ears")

Discerned (0995) (bin/biyn - word study) conveys the primary ideas of understanding or insight (cp Ps 19:12, 73:17) and discernment is the closely related meaning. It is not a description merely of data accumulation but of superior knowledge, knowledge that in some contexts implies the distinguishing between good and evil (1Ki 3:9)

Youths - Henry Scougal captured the essence of youths when he said...

Youth is a time of life wherein we have too much pride to be governed by others, and too little wisdom to govern ourselves.

A young man - Old men don't think you are immune! You know you are not for the passions of the young are ever the vices of the old! (the "dirty old men"!)

Lacking (02638) (chacer) means in need of, in want of, needy, lacking. It is used primarily, however, in reference to the lack of wisdom and understanding. Thus it occurs most frequently in the wisdom literature and primarily in Proverbs. (1Sa 21:15; 2Sa. 3:29; 1Ki. 11:22; Pr 6:32; 7:7; 9:4, 16; 10:13, 21; 11:12; 12:9, 11; 15:21; 17:18; 24:30; 28:16; Eccl 6:2)

Sense (03820) (leb) describes the inner man, heart. In other words it refers either to the inner or immaterial nature in general of a person or to one of the three traditional personality functions of man, the emotion, the thought, or the will.

Pr 6:32 The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it.

Pr 9:4 "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!" To him who lacks understanding she (not an adulteress but Wisdom) says,

Pr 9:16 "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here," And to him who lacks understanding she (the woman of folly who is boisterous) says,

Proverbs 7:8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he takes the way to her house , 

  • Pr 4:14,15; 5:8; Jdg 16:1; 2Sa 11:2,3; 1Co 6:18; 2Ti 2:22; Jude 1:23

Takes the way to her house - He was already being carried away and enticed by his own lust that came from his fallen flesh (James 1:14- see note). He is fleeing to rather than fleeing from. “Fleeing immorality” (1Co 6:18) starts by not being in the strange woman's neighborhood at night!

This naive young man would have done well to read and heed an earlier proverb...

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. (Pr 4:14,15) (Red = commands)

How could the youth have experienced victory over sexual immorality? His first step toward her house was his mistake and as he came closer, his way of escape, his window of opportunity (cp "the [specific] way of escape" - don't refuse it or ignore it! - 1Co 10:13), markedly decreased, so that it his lust was well on its way to conceiving and bringing forth sin.

What happens when we cannot avoid the place of temptation? The story of Joseph in Genesis 39:1-23 illustrates this situation and the necessary action. Notice that in Ge 39:11 Joseph went into the house to do business (in contrast to the naive youth who went toward the temptation to see what might transpire). In Genesis 39 we read...

So [Potiphar] left everything he owned in Joseph's charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance...Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work (Joseph was not "looking for sin" or "making a provision" for the lusts of his flesh - see Ro 13:14 - note), and none of the men of the household was there inside. 12 And [Potiphar's wife tried to seduce Joseph and] caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me!" And he left his garment in her hand and fled (cp Pr 1:15, 5:8, 6:5, Eccl 7:26, 1Co 15:33), and went outside. (Ge 39:6,11,12) (Note: Hebrew word "flee" is translated in the Septuagint by the verb pheugo which is also used in Paul's command to Timothy below)

Paul instructed young Timothy...

Now flee (present imperative = command calling for this to be a way of life, our continual, habitual practice) from youthful lusts (epithumia = strong desires in context desires for evil, for gratification, thus originating from our fallen flesh) and pursue (present imperative) righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2Ti 2:22 - see note)

Comment: Note that the verb flee (pheugo) means to move quickly from a point or area in order to avoid presumed danger or difficulty, seeking safety by flight, running hastily from danger. Don’t entertain them, rationalize them, negotiate with them, try to challenge them or try and endure them. If you have the idea that you will just "test yourself" on this one to see if you can stand against it (You cannot! At least not in your own strength! cp 1Co 10:12), beware for this approach has made many a man or a woman fall into sin. Instead, run for your spiritual life! Run to godly virtues which are an amazingly powerful preventative for ungodly temptations. And seek fellowship and accountability with other men who are disciplining themselves for godliness.

Dwight Edwards reminds us "that as demonstrated by Joseph, we must not linger in the house of temptation but must make a hasty exit into the golden fields of uncompromising holiness. The danger of not fleeing so is well described by Alexander Pope in one of his poems

Vice is a monster of such terrible mien**
That to be hated, needs but to be seen.
Yet seen too often; familiar her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
**Bearing, presence, demeanor, appearance

As Steven Cole says of temptation...Don’t flirt with it. Don’t stand there and pray about what to do. Don’t get near it. If it comes knocking, run for your life!...We usually associate the term (lusts) with sexual temptations, but as one older seminary professor told us, “Men, they aren’t just youthful!” You don’t outgrow sexual temptations. Where do you think we got the term, “dirty old man”? (2 Timothy 2:20-22 The Person God Uses)

Here are some other passages on fleeing various tempting situations...

1Co 6:18-note Flee (present imperative = command to make it your habit, your lifestyle, enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit) immorality (porneia = gives us English "pornography"). Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

Comment: Why must we continuously flee? Our flesh is irrepressibly wicked. It never improves! This fallen flesh nature inherited from Adam (Ro 5:12-note, 1Co 15:22) although made ineffective in believers by the Cross (Ro 6:6- note) still inhabits our mortal bodies (Gal 5:16-note; Gal 5:17-note) and can spring into action if by the power of the Spirit (Gal 5:16-note; Ro 8:13 - note) we do not mortify it's desires (Col 3:5-note), the devil is a roaring lion (1Pe 5:8 - note), and the world system cries out to satisfy your desire (witness the Nike commercial "Just Do It!") with the passing pleasures of sin (cp Heb 11:25-note).

1Co 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee (present imperative = command to make it your habit to do so) from idolatry (word study).

Cole remarks "You may be thinking, “Well, at least that one isn’t a problem for me! I’m never tempted to set up an idol.” Really? You’re never tempted to set up anything in the place that rightfully belongs to God alone? You never allow watching TV or playing computer games to usurp the time that you should spend alone with God or serving Him? Run from anything that pulls you away from full devotion to God! (cp 2Co 11:3, Php 3:12, 13, 14 [notes] - The Person God Uses

1Ti 6:11-note But flee (present imperative = command to make it your habit to do so) from these things, you man of God; and pursue (present imperative = make it your habit to chase after) righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

Cole remarks that Paul in context issues a command to "to flee from the love of money. Are you tempted to gamble? Run! It’s the love of money that feeds gambling. Do you look at the rich and think, “I want to live that way”? Run! Are you tempted to steal or cheat on your taxes or be greedy rather than generous? Run! Cleansed people flee from sin. (The Person God Uses)

Eccl 11:10 So, remove (command) vexation (anger) from your heart and put away (command) pain (evil) from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.

1Peter 2:11 (see note) Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers (keep in mind as believers we are short timers and need to continually live in the light of eternity) to abstain (present tense = continually - see word study) from fleshly lusts (strong desires that originate from within, not without!), which wage war (present tense = continually. So don't fall asleep at the guard post of your eyes and/or your heart! Remember our enemies [world, flesh, devil] never take a furlough and don't go AWOL! cp Pr 4:23) against the soul.

1Thes 4:3 (see note) For this is the will of God, your sanctification (holiness - progressive sanctification = "present tense salvation" - see the Three Tenses of Salvation); that is, that you abstain (present tense = continually, implying it is a continual need! see word study) from sexual immorality immorality (porneia)

Proverbs says "Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house... (Pr 5:8)


(1). PLEASURE: the inordinate craving for the satisfaction of the physical appetites: the “lust” for food and drink, pleasure-madness, uncontrolled sexual desire

(2). POWER: the ungoverned passion to shine or be dominant which results in envy, quarrelsomeness, etc.

(3). POSSESSIONS: uncontrolled yearning for material possessions and for the glory that goes with them

Why did the youth fail to make the wise choice to abstain and/or flee? Pr 7:7 explains that he was naive and lacking sense. In other words he was a fool.

Rich Cathar illustrates this section of Proverbs 7 with "The Five Chapter Book"...

Chapter One: A man was walking down the street. He fell into a hole. He groped his way in the darkness. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Two: A man was walking down the same street. He pretended not to see the hole. He fell in. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Three: A man was walking down the same street. He sees the hole. He falls in. He says it’s not his fault. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Four: A man walks down the same street. He sees the hole. He knows it’s there. He tries to walk around it. He falls in. He knows it’s his fault. He quickly gets out.

Chapter Five: A man takes another street.

Ed comment: There is one chapter left out - the chapter about the man who does not get out of the hole! That's the picture of the youth in this next section -- finally an arrow pierces through his liver! (Pr 7:23).

Proverbs 7:9 In the twilight, in the evening *, In the middle of the night and in the darkness

  • Ge 39:11; Job 24:13, 14, 15; Ro 13:12, 13, 14; Ep 5:11
  • Ex 12:6)

Bridges - Under the cover of twilight he makes his way to the prostitute’s house. (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Middle of the night - literally, “in the center of night, even darkness”.

As Robert L. Alden wrote - If you want to avoid the devil, stay away from his neighborhood. If you suspect you might be vulnerable to a particular sin, take steps to avoid it (cp "make no provision for the lust of the flesh" Ro13:14-note).

In the darkness - The naive youth who lacked sense turned from the light of godly wisdom and understanding, and headed into the darkness. John illustrates this same principle in regard to mankind's response to the light of the World, the Lord Jesus, explaining that they hated the light and loved the darkness.

And this is the judgment, that the light (Jn 1:4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 8:12, 9:39, 40, 41) is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (John 3:19, 20, 21)

Proverbs 7:10 And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart .

  • Genesis 38:14,15; 2 Kings 9:22,30; Isaiah 3:16-24; 23:16; Jeremiah 4:30; 1 Timothy 2:9; Revelation 17:3-5
  • Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 11:2,3

Bridges - There the woman comes out to meet him. (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Solomon now gives a very careful description of the strange woman who lives “at fever temperature”

Cunning of heart - Hebrew more literally reads "guarded of heart,” or "concealed of heart" and so speaks of one who is secretive or wily. This is an unfair contest between a simple young man, who lacks wisdom and truth, and a cunning woman, who knows her goal, but hides her true intentions.

This woman is like the deadly female black widow spider, who watches at the window, ready to pounce on her young prey dressing like a prostitute so she could attract men searching for her services (cp Ge 38:14).

Proverbs 7:11 She is boisterous and rebellious. Her feet do not remain at home ; (

  • Pr 9:13; 25:24; 27:14,15; 31:10-31
  • Ge 18:9; 1Ti 5:13,14; Titus 2:5)

Bridges - Her dress, her intent, her loud and defiant voice, her feet at this late hour, not staying at home, all reveal who she is. (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

In Proverbs 9 Solomon writes about the woman of folly telling us that...

13 The woman of folly is boisterous, She is naive, and knows nothing.

14 And she sits at the doorway of her house, On a seat by the high places of the city,

15 Calling to those who pass by, Who are making their paths straight:

16 "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here," And to him who lacks understanding she says,

17 "Stolen water is sweet; And bread eaten in secret is pleasant."

18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

The adulteress had been in the streets, looking for victims (Pr 7:11, 12), but now one was coming right to her door!

Proverbs 7:12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner .

  • Pr 9:14; 23:28; Je 2:20,33,36; 3:2; Ezek 16:24,25,31; Re 18:3,23

Bridges - Waiting for her prey. (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Lurks by every corner - What a vivid picture of the adulteress who is on prowl looking for choice game to devour. Compare with God's warning to Cain of "sin crouching at the door" like a wild animal in Genesis 4:5-7.

Proverbs 7:13 So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she says to him:

  • Ge 39:7,12; Nu 25:1,6-8; 31:16; Ezek 16:33; Rev 2:20
  • Isa 50:7; Ezek 2:4,6; 3:7, 8, 9

Bridges - Her brazen face shows that she has the forehead of a prostitute (Jeremiah 3:3). (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Seizes...kisses - Notice who the aggressor is in this tale. She seized him (cp Ge 39:12), kissed him (cp Pr 5:3), and convinced him that it was an opportune time for him to visit her.

Notice the spider's web being drawn tighter and tighter with enticing tactics of the adulteress -- kisses (Pr 7:13), flattery (Pr 7:15), sensuality (Pr 7:16, 17, 18), reassurance that no one will find out (Pr 7:19, 20).

Brazen (05810) (azaz) is a verb which means to strong, and in this context speaks of one who is marked by contemptuous boldness (bold face). Her bold face was a manifestation of her insolence and bold disrespect (for God's law, for marriage, for her husband). Her face expressed the fact that she was shameless and impudent (lacking modesty, "saucy").

Proverbs 7:14 "I was due to offer peace offerings. Today I have paid my vows .

  • Peace offerings - Pr 15:8; 17:1; 21:27; Leviticus 7:15; Deuteronomy 12:6,7
  • 2Sa 15:7, 8, 9; 1Ki 21:9,10; Jn 18:28)

Bridges - She allures her victim with the garb of sanctity. She has just been engaged in special religious duties. “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows.” (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Apparently she had gone to the temple, given peace offering (Lev 7:11-21), and now had some of the meat at home (see Ryrie's note below).

Ryrie concurs explaining that peace offerings is "literally, sacrifices of peace offerings. Having offered sacrifices, she had a good supply of meat on hand and urged her victim to share it with her, since it had to be eaten right away. The peace offering could be brought (1) as an act of thanksgiving (Lev 7:12, 13, 14, 15) for deliverance, answers to prayer, healing, and so on, (2) in connection with a vow (votive offering) relative to a past or future favor (Lev 7:16, 17), or (3) purely as a freewill, voluntary act (Lev 7:16, 17). The thanksgiving peace offering had to be eaten the same day it was offered; the vow or voluntary offerings might be eaten that day and the day following, but not left till the third day. (The Ryrie Study Bible)

Proverbs 7:15 "Therefore * I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.

To meet you, to seek your presence earnestly - She appeals to the naive young man’s ego flattering him and making him think he is special to her. In its very essence this is deception at its best (actually worst!).

As Frederick W. Faber said "The fountains of self-deceit are four in number: the rarity of reliable self-knowledge, self's power to deceive self, self letting itself be deceived by others, and self deceived by Satan."

Proverbs 7:16 "I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt.

  • Song 1:16; 3:7, 8, 9, 10; Re 2:22
  • 1Ki 10:28; Is 19:9; Ezek 27:7

Here the adulteress appeals to the young man's imagination as she describes her beautiful, exotic couch covered with expensive spices.

Proverbs 7:17 "I have sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.

  • Song 3:6; Is 57:7, 8, 9
  • Ps 45:8; Song 4:13,14

Sights and smells which the lust of the flesh uses to carry away and entice this naive youth (James 1:14).

Proverbs 7:18 "Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses.

Bridges - They fill themselves with every indulgence. “Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love!” (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Come let us drink - She is using a figure of speech that likens sexual relations to drinking from a fountain (cf. Pr 5:18; Song 4:12, 15). Brethren this water is "contaminated" and will make us spiritually ill (and may even cause death)! Adultery is not true love, but mere physical gratification.

Love - Or what the fallen world and the depraved nature calls "love". David Watson said "Whereas the charge levelled at the Victorians was 'love without sex', today it is 'sex without love'.

Drink our fill of love - This is the perverted description of love, that offered by the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is a selfish merely physically gratifying love in contrast to the Spirit borne selfless love. The former takes and takes and takes, while the latter gives and keeps on giving. Paul "defines" the love that is made possible by the indwelling Spirit of God in one who is surrendered to His sweet will...

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Cor 13:4-7 - see notes beginning with verse 4)

Proverbs 7:19 "For my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long * journey ;

  • Mt 20:11; 24:43; Lk 12:39
  • Mt 24:48; Mark 13:34, 35, 36; Luke 12:45,46

For - Always pause and ponder this strategic term of explanation - Ask (and attempt to answer) at least one simple question - "What is the writer explaining?" Remember that when you find a "for" at the beginning of a verse, it is usually (not 100% - check the context = Keep Context King) a term of explanation. In Proverbs 5-7 there a several "for's" for you to pause and ponder. (Pr 5:3, 20, 21, Pr 6:23, 26, 34, Pr 7:6, 19, 26). As an aside there are over 9000 occurrences of for in the NASB, which should give you many opportunities to practice (and make "perfect") the discipline of interrogating the Biblical text (See interrogate with the 5W/H questions).

My husband is not at home - This is the assurance that his sin won't be found out, but that's naive because Scripture clearly teaches that nothing is hidden that will not be revealed.

In Numbers 32:23 Moses issues a clear, piercing (universally applicable) warning (specifically to tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, exhorting them to fulfill their commitment to participate with the other tribes in the campaign in Canaan) testifying...

But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD (Ed: Remember all sin, including all sexual sin, is first and foremost, against Jehovah! There is no sin that only injures the sinner and/or those he has wronged. - cp Joseph's awareness that undoubtedly helped him fend off the temptation to lie with Potiphar's wife - Ge 39:9), and be sure your sin will find you out. (!)

Spurgeon writes that "One danger of secret sin is that a person cannot commit it without its being eventually betrayed into a public sin (see above - Nu 32:23). If a person commits one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier on the Alps, the others must follow in time (cp Pr 5:22, Jn 8:34). As certainly as you heap one stone on the landmark today, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, stone by stone, becomes an actual pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot guess where it will create its pile. It will not build its rock as high as you please; it will not stop until an island is created. Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle; it must be mortified.

Bridges - Her husband is not named, as that might have awakened the youth’s conscience. “My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey.” Meanwhile, they take their fill of love without fear of interruption. Unarmed with principle, the weakness of resolution yields to the seduction of lust, and her unsuspecting prey rushes on to ruin. Trace this sad end to its source. Was not idleness the parent of this mischief? The loitering evening walk, the late hour, the vacant mind all bring the youth into contact with evil company. Was this not courting sin and tempting the tempter? How valuable self-discipline, self-control, constant employment, and vigorous activities are in keeping us from danger and preserving us under God’s blessing. See also the base varnish of religion. It is often used as a cover for sin (1Sa 2:22; 2Sa 15:8-11; John 18:28). “She dared not play the harlot with man until she had played the hypocrite with God and stopped the mouth of her conscience with her fellowship offerings” (Gurnall). It is a well-known fact that the favorite mistress of Louis XIV was so rigid in her religious duties that her bread was weighed during Lent, in case she should break the austerity of fasting. The adulteress in the Book of Proverbs is pictured as if she was reaping the reward for her religious observances. Beware of any voice, even if it comes from the most revered quarter, that manifestly encourages forbidden indulgence. Observe also the infatuation of the snare. “Man cannot be ruined till he has been made confident to the contrary. A man must get into his victim’s heart with fair speeches and promises before he can come at it with a dagger” (South). Thus the adulteress’s flattering speech chained the young blindfolded for destruction. As the ox goes to the slaughter, unconscious of his fate, perhaps dreaming of rich pasture, or as a fool goes to the stock, careless and unfeeling, so does this poor deluded victim rush on with pitiable mirth or indifference till an arrow pierces his liver (Pr 7:23). He is like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life (Pr 7:23). What will recollection bring but the fragrance of exciting perfume (Pr 7:16-17), changed into the bitterness of wormwood and gall? The short night of pleasure is succeeded by the eternal night of infernal torment. A cup of pleasure is replaced by an ocean of wrath (Pr 7:27). Lastly, note the danger of venturing into temptation. Could we expect any other results when we saw the youth going toward her house? He intended merely his own idle gratification, and when he yielded, it was probably not without some struggle. But it is a just judgment that those who do not fear temptation fall. “Who would avoid danger must avoid temptation to sin. Who would avoid sin must avoid temptation to sin” (Geier). Self-confidence has ruined many a promising profession. (Proverbs 7 Exposition)

Proverbs 7:20 He has taken a bag of money with him, At the full moon he will come home

  • 2Chronicles 2:4

She assures him that nobody will find out about it (except that somebody is watching, Pr 7:6) and that her husband won’t be home for many days. They have plenty of time to enjoy themselves.

Full moon - This is somewhat enigmatic but most likely (from the context) is that she means to assure him that her husband's return is some days off.

Proverbs 7:21 With her many persuasions she entices him. With her flattering lips she seduces him.

  • Pr 7:5; 5:3; Jdg 16:15, 16, 17; Ps 12:2
  • 1Sa 28:23; 2Ki 4:8; Lk 14:23; 24:29; Acts 16:15; 2Co 5:14

Many persuasions...entices...flattering lips...seduces - Once again note the abundance of and attractive power of her words.

Persuasions (03948)(leqah/leqach - word study) comes from a root verb which means to take, seize. The idea is of grasping with the mind. Leqach is used 9 times in the OT - Deut 32:2; Job 11:4; Pr. 1:5; 4:2; 7:21; 9:9; 16:21, 23; Is 29:24 - here are uses in Proverbs...

(Prov 1:5) A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

(Prov 4:2) For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction.

(Prov 7:21) With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him.

(Prov 9:9) Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.

(Prov 16:21) The wise in heart will be called understanding, And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.

(Prov 16:23) The heart of the wise instructs his mouth And adds persuasiveness to his lips.

Entices (05186)(natah) is from a root word which means to extend or stretch outward or toward something or someone. Moses stretched out his hand over the water (Ex 7:19). Figuratively as used in this verse it has the sense of inclining one’s ear, heart and mind in a certain direction, in this context to commit adultery. Natah was a verb Solomon should have been quite familiar with as it relates to the enticing effects of strange women because it is used repeatedly in the description in first Kings...

Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away (natah) your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. (1Ki 11:2, other uses of natah = "turned away" in 1Ki 11:3, 4, 9!)

David used natah in prayer to God...

Ps 17:6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline (natah) your ear to me; hear my words. (cp Ps 27:9 "turn not", Ps 31:2, 40:1, 71:2, 86:1, 88:2, 102:2, 116:2)

Seduces (05080)(nadach/nadah) means to banish, drive away and in the present verse the idea is that of being drawn away, lured or led astray to sinful behavior (cp "drawn away", "entices" Dt 4:19, 30:17, 13:6).

Proverbs 7:22 Suddenly he follows * her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool,

BGT  Proverbs 7:22 ὁ δὲ ἐπηκολούθησεν αὐτῇ κεπφωθείς ὥσπερ δὲ βοῦς ἐπὶ σφαγὴν ἄγεται καὶ ὥσπερ κύων ἐπὶ δεσμοὺς

BBE  Proverbs 7:22 The simple man goes after her, like an ox going to its death, like a roe pulled by a cord;

CSB  Proverbs 7:22 He follows her impulsively like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap

ERV  Proverbs 7:22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as fetters to the correction of the fool;

ESV  Proverbs 7:22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast

GWN  Proverbs 7:22 He immediately follows her like a steer on its way to be slaughtered, like a ram hobbling into captivity

KJV  Proverbs 7:22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;

  • Acts 14:13
  • Job 13:27; Je 20:2; Acts 16:24

Related Passages:

Proverbs 6:15  Therefore his (Pr 6:12-14) calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing. 

Proverbs 24:22 For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them? 

Judges 2:17+  Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside QUICKLY from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do as their fathers.



Wikipedia on Siren - In Greek mythology, the sirens (Ancient Greek: singular: Σειρήν, Seirḗn; plural: Σειρῆνες, Seirênes) were dangerous creatures who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. It is also said that they can even charm the winds.[1] (ED: BEWARE WHEN THE "SIREN" BEGINS TO SING IN YOUR MIND! RUN! FLEE FOR YOUR LIFE! 1Cor 6:18+)

Suddenly (pithorn) he follows her - The Septuagint translates "follows" with the verb epakoloutheo (aorist tense = at a moment in time, active voice = volitional choice) which describes one literally going along in someone's footsteps (the "Siren" in this passage), following along behind, with the nuance of devoting or dedicating oneself to this matter! Suddenly is not directly translated in the Greek, which uses the rare verb kepthoo (passive voice = force exerted from outside one's self) which mean to be easily cajoled, to be a booby, to ensnare like a kepphos (a pale waterbird mentioned by Greek authors including Aristotle), to come "feather-brained" (LSJM)! 

Sometimes (probably in truth most often) temptation comes with sense of urgency, with a “hurry up and do it now” mentality (this can often be in the context of having made previous provision for the lusts of the flesh - Ro 13:14+. The "slippage" began earlier and finally the "dam breaks" so to speak). When something has to be done right away, it is rarely a good thing. In the present context one must "kill" quickly (Ro 8:13+, Col 3:5+) the thought before it suddenly becomes an act!

Solomon reminds us later of a similar picture

Like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit. (Pr 25:28)

As an ox goes to the slaughter - What's the picture? This sin will kill you! It will kill your fellowship with the Father (1Jn 1:6, James 1:15). Romans 8:6+ says "the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."  See note on the value of observing and accurately interpreting terms of comparison = metaphors and similes. See also Guidelines for Figuring our Figurative Language

Dr. Grey, making a slight alteration in the text, renders, "as a dog to the chain, and as a deer, till a dart strike through his liver;" and Dr. Hunt, "Or as a hart boundeth into the toils, till a dart strike through his liver." The LXX., Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, concur in this interpretation. The circumstance of the dart, as applied to the deer, is beautiful and proper, which otherwise we are at a loss to dispose of; and this creature, of all others, was the most proper to be noticed on this occasion; for the usual representation which the Egyptians made of a man overthrown by flattery and fair speeches was the picture of a heart captivated and ensnared by the sound of music.

John Phillips - Warning of the Harlot's Secret Wares (Pr 7:22-27)

She Deals in Death (Pr 7:22-23)

The wise man continued with his clear warning to avoid the harlot who deals in death and doom. He pondered the folly of her victim and said, "He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks" (Proverbs 7:22). Either way the victim is ruined. Death and disgrace await him.

The victim in our story was foolish because the woman was not to be trusted. Her own words testified to that. Her husband, a far greater fool than the young man, apparently trusted her. Otherwise he would not have gone away. But then, she might have been lying about having a husband too. In any case she was utterly unscrupulous and the young man was bereft of common sense when he put his life and reputation in her grasping little hands. A man in the heat of passion, however, never thinks of the consequences.

Many a man who has done what this dupe did has found himself not only in the hands of a harlot, but also in the hands of a blackmailer. This harlot had the young man at her mercy. A word from her could be his death sentence—he could face death at the hands of an outraged husband or death at the hands of the law. From now on he was going to pay in one way or another. He would pay with his health: a promiscuous person is a potential purveyor of disease. He would pay with his memory: he would never be able to forget losing his innocence to a common slut of the streets. He would pay with his money. The anonymous note would come demanding money—or else. He would pay for more gilded furniture for that accursed bedroom. He would pay for costly spices for that hateful bed.

And of course the courts might make the fool pay for his crime. He might be placed in the stocks, the public pillory in the center of town, if a merciful judge reduced his sentence from death to disgrace. Such a judge might take into consideration the character of the woman, the age and inexperience of the youth, and the fact that this was a first offense. However, the woman doubtless would accuse the youth of rape and produce a confederate, perhaps the chaperon her husband also trusted, to "prove" her charge.

There was always the chance that Solomon would review the case when it came to trial. Some twinges of the king's own conscience might prompt him to pronounce the lighter sentence. Who would know more about the case than Solomon? Who would know more about lust? Who but he could have saved the young man instead of watching him?

Even the lighter sentence was no laughing matter. In one of Jeffry Farnol's rollicking sea stories, an unjust judge seizes the hero, an escaped galley slave, and puts him in the public pillory. Then Farnol describes the horseplay that often attended such a victim. The position itself was galling. The prisoner's head and hands were secured between two pieces of wood so that he was helpless. Then he became the target for all the bullies in town. They would stand back and throw refuse, delighting when a rotten egg or overripe tomato made a direct hit, full in the face. A man with a personal grudge against the prisoner could come up and punch his helpless, bespattered face. (In Farnol's story, the village bully crowns the afternoon's entertainment by scoring a direct hit with a dead cat.) Added to all this persecution was the torment of heat, thirst, and flies. A well-known prisoner would also be tormented by the thought that he would never be able to live down the disgrace.

"As an ox goeth to the slaughter!" That was Solomon's final verdict as he watched the young man follow the harlot into her house and saw her shut the door. Behind that door no one could see the deeds of shame that ensued. But God could see. Even if the youth escaped all human retribution, which many seem to do, he would not escape God's. Solomon had doubtless visited the stockyards and seen oxen contentedly grazing on the fodder provided for them, ignorant of the doom that was only a heartbeat away. Once that door closed on the young man, he had no more chance of escape than an ox that has been bought, paid for, marked for death, and shut up in the slaughterhouse.

Thinking of the death the harlot deals in, Solomon pondered the fate of her victim and said, "He goeth after her... Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life" (Proverbs 7:22-23). Having discarded logic and enthroned lust, the youth was caught helpless in the harlot's hands. He would not come out from her house the way he went in. He would sneak away in the morning before sunrise, forever branded as an adulterer and marked for whatever punishment the future might hold.

ANTHEM: Strategies for Fighting Lust
November 5, 2001 | by John Piper | Topic: Sexual Purity

I have in mind men and women. For men it's obvious. The need for warfare against the bombardment of visual temptation to fixate on sexual images is urgent. For women it is less obvious, but just as great if we broaden the scope of temptation to food or figure or relational fantasies. When I say "lust" I mean the realm of thought, imagination, and desire that leads to sexual misconduct. So here is one set of strategies in the war against wrong desires. I put it in the form of an acronym, A N T H E M.

A – AVOID as much as is possible and reasonable the sights and situations that arouse unfitting desire. I say "possible and reasonable" because some exposure to temptation is inevitable. And I say "unfitting desire" because not all desires for sex, food, and family are bad. We know when they are unfitting and unhelpful and on their way to becoming enslaving. We know our weaknesses and what triggers them. "Avoiding" is a Biblical strategy. "Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness" (2 Timothy 2:22). "Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:14).

N – Say NO to every lustful thought within five seconds. And say it with the authority of Jesus Christ. "In the name of Jesus, NO!" You don't have much more than five seconds. Give it more unopposed time than that, and it will lodge itself with such force as to be almost immovable. Say it out loud if you dare. Be tough and warlike. As John Owen said, "Be killing sin or it will be killing you." Strike fast and strike hard. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" ( James 4:7).

T – TURN the mind forcefully toward Christ as a superior satisfaction. Saying "no" will not suffice. You must move from defense to offense. Fight fire with fire. Attack the promises of sin with the promises of Christ. The Bible calls lusts "deceitful desires" (Ephesians 4:22). They lie. They promise more than they can deliver. The Bible calls them "passions of your former ignorance" (1 Peter 1:14). Only fools yield. "All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter" (Proverbs 7:22). Deceit is defeated by truth. Ignorance is defeated by knowledge. It must be glorious truth and beautiful knowledge. This is why I wrote Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ. We must stock our minds with the superior promises and pleasures of Jesus. Then we must turn to them immediately after saying, "NO!"

H – HOLD the promise and the pleasure of Christ firmly in your mind until it pushes the other images out. "Fix your eyes on Jesus" (Hebrews 12:1). Here is where many fail. They give in too soon. They say, "I tried to push it out, and it didn't work." I ask, "How long did you try?" How hard did you exert your mind? The mind is a muscle. You can flex it with vehemence. Take the kingdom violently (Matthew 11:12). Be brutal (cf 1Co 9:27+) Hold the promise of Christ before your eyes. Hold it. Hold it! Don't let it go! Keep holding it! How long? As long as it takes. Fight! For Christ's sake, fight till you win! If an electric garage door were about to crush your child you would hold it up with all our might and holler for help, and hold it and hold it and hold it and hold it.

E – ENJOY a superior satisfaction. Cultivate the capacities for pleasure in Christ. One reason lust reigns in so many is that Christ has so little appeal. We default to deceit because we have little delight in Christ. Don't say, "That's just not me." What steps have you taken to waken affection for Jesus? Have you fought for joy? Don't be fatalistic. You were created to treasure Christ with all your heart – more than you treasure sex or sugar. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph. Plead with God for the satisfaction you don't have: "Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days" (Psalm 90:14). Then look, look, look at the most magnificent Person in the universe until you see him the way he is.

M – MOVE into a useful activity away from idleness and other vulnerable behaviors. Lust grows fast in the garden of leisure. Find a good work to do, and do it with all your might. "Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord" (Romans 12:11). "Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58). Abound in work. Get up and do something. Sweep a room. Hammer a nail. Write a letter. Fix a faucet. And do it for Jesus' sake. You were made to manage and create. Christ died to make you "zealous for good deeds" (Titus 2:14). Displace deceitful lusts with a passion for good deeds.

Fighting at your side,

Pastor John Piper

Related Resources:

Pr 7:22 As a fool to the correction of the stocks.

Slaughter of young men

1. We are apt to blame young men for being destroyed, when we ought to blame the influences that destroy them. Society slaughters a great many young men by the behest, “You must keep up appearances.” Our young men are growing up in a depraved state of commercial ethics, and I want to warn them against being slaughtered on the sharp edges of debt. For the sake of your own happiness, for the sake of your good morals, for the sake of your immortal soul, and for God’s sake, young man, as far as possible keep out of debt.

2. Many young men are slaughtered through irreligion. Take away a young man’s religion, and you make him the prey of evil. If you want to destroy a young man’s morals take his Bible away. You can do it by caricaturing his reverence for Scripture. Young man, take care of yourself. There is no class of persons that so stirs my sympathies as young men in great cities. Not quite enough salary to live on, and all the temptations that come from that deficit. Unless Almighty God help them they will all go under. Sin pays well neither in this life nor in the next, but right thinking, right believing, and right acting will take you in safety through this life and in transport through the next. (T. De Witt Talmage.)

John Butler - Sermon Starters - THE PUNISHMENT OF IMMORALITY Proverbs 7:22, 23

The punishment for immorality is depicted in four different ways. Each way shows the devastation immorality brings to the ones guilty of immoral conduct.

1. Slaying (Proverbs 7:22)
“As an ox goeth to the slaughter” (Proverbs 7:22). Immorality slays. It kills homes, marriages and even people (it produces many murders) It also kills spiritual life and opportunities and service.

2. Shame (Proverbs 7:22)
“As a fool to the correction of the stocks” (Proverbs 7:22). Stocks really shamed the person put in them for punishment. It was a form of public punishment that made shame a great portion of the punishment.

3. Sickness (Proverbs 7:23)
“Strike through his liver” (Proverbs 7:23). The word translated “strike” means to slice. This reminds of autopsies. Immorality produces many physical ills. VD is the most notable physical problem. Some VD strains are incurable and will eventually slay and make insane.

4. Stupidity (Proverbs 7:23)
“As a bird hasteth to the snare … knoweth not” (Proverbs 7:23). A bird hastening for a bird trap, ignorant that the trap is for its life, so is the person who goes after immoral conduct. It is gross stupidity.

Suddenly (06597pithom (from same as petha = suddenness) means happening or coming unexpectedly and instantaneously, not immediately. All at once, in an instant or a flash. It is something marked by or manifesting abruptness. It refers to that which occurs all at once, surprisingly, all of a sudden! It describes something happening without previous notice or without warning. Suddenly stresses unexpectedness and sharpness or violence of action. In fact, if you review the following passages (in context), it becomes obvious that every use except 2 Chr 29:36 is associated with either disaster or judgment! As John MacArthur emphasizes "To come suddenly does not mean immediately, but instantaneously and unannounced. It usually refers to a calamitous event (cf. Is 47:11; 48:3; Jer 4:20, etc.)!

Num. 6:9; Num. 12:4; Jos. 10:9; Jos. 11:7; 2 Chr. 29:36; Job 5:3; Job 9:23; Job 22:10; Ps. 64:4; Ps. 64:7; Prov. 3:25; Prov. 6:15; Prov. 7:22; Prov. 24:22; Eccl. 9:12; Isa. 29:5; Isa. 30:13; Isa. 47:11; Isa. 48:3; Jer. 4:20; Jer. 6:26; Jer. 15:8; Jer. 18:22; Jer. 51:8; Mal. 3:1

Fetters (05914)(ekes) is used twice with two senses - anklet or fetter/noose. The noun ʿekes refers to an "anklet." The Lord will come in judgment against the haughty women of Jerusalem and remove their anklets and other fine clothing and jewelry (Isa. 3:18). Ultimately, it was not their clothing that brought judgment upon them, but it was their focus upon themselves to the neglect and oppression of the poor. This noun also occurs in Pr 7:22. The KJV and NASB translate the word as "stocks" and "fetters" respectively. The NIV translates the word as "noose." (A loop of rope used as a trap. A rope configured in a loop with a running knot that draws tighter as it is pulled.) These translations draw from an Arabic cognate 'ks, which refers to a rope placed around the head and front feet of a camel to restrict its movement. It also refers to a rope used to hold back the head of a camel when it is being broken in or the head of any animal when it is being slaughtered. (WHAT A PICTURE OF A MAN ENTRAPPED BY THE LUSTS OF HIS FLESH!) 

Proverbs 7:23 Until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life.

  • Arrow - Nu 25:8,9
  • Bird - Pr 1:17; Eccl 9:12
  • Pr 9:18

As a bird - See note on the value of observing and accurately interpreting terms of comparison = metaphors and similes. See also Guidelines for Figuring our Figurative Language

ILLUSTRATION - Sin has a price tag attached (Ro 6:23). Here's an illustration - A Golfer walks into the pro shop at the local course and asks the golf pro if they sell ball markers. The golf pro says, “Yes, they are just $1.00 each. “ The guy gives the golf pro a dollar and says he’ll take one... The golf pro opens the register, puts the dollar in the tray and with a big smile hands the guy a quarter. That’s the way it is with sin – you get back far less than you put into it.

Jill Briscoe sums it up observing that "The world is littered with the debris of what eros has promised but been unable to provide.

Charles Bridges unabbreviated comments on Proverb 7:6-23 -

6. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, 7. And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, 8. Passing through the street near her corner: and he went the way to her house, 9. In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: 10. And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: 12. Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) 13. So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, 14. I have peace-offerings with me: this day have I vowed my vows. 15. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. 17. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. 19. For the good man is not at home, he is gone a long journey: 20. He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. 21. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 22. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23. Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.

Solomon paints the deadly snare of the strange woman with a master’s hand, with exquisite fidelity of coloring. A young man without understanding, (Pr 1:4, 22, 13:16) in company with youths as simple as himself, taking in the dark of evening the way to the harlot’s house. She meets him—her attire (Ge 38:14, 15.); her subtilty (Pr 23:27, Eccl. 7:26, Jdg. 16:4–20); her loud and stubborn voice (Pr 9:13); her feet at this late hour not abiding in her house;(Comp. 1 Tim 5:13, Titus 2:5) lying in wait at every corner of the street; (Pr. 9:14, 15, 23:28. Dr. Richardson mentions seeing ‘these wretched women in a large commercial town in Egypt, in the harlot’s attire, sitting at the doors of their houses, and calling on the passengers as they went by, in the same manner as we read in the Book of Proverbs.’—Travels, Vol. i. p. 270.) her impudent face and conduct—all shew the harlot’s forehead (Ge 39:7, 12, Jer. 3:3). She allures her victim with the garb of sanctity. She had just been engaged in special religious duties. Now she was come forth to seek diligently her lover, that they might feast together upon her peace-offerings (See Holden. Comp. Lev. 7:16, 19:6, Deut. 12:6. Scott takes the same view—adding—‘that it is no wonder, that these sacred ordinances should have given occasion to carnal indulgence, when our Christian festivals Christmas especially)and abused for similar profanations.’), and solace themselves with love, with every indulgence. The goodman (perhaps the name of husband might have awakened conscience) is gone a long journey till the time appointed. Meanwhile therefore we may take our fill of loves without fear of interruption. Unarmed with principles, the weakness of resolution yields to the seduction of lust; and her unsuspecting prey rushes on to ruin.

Trace this sad end to its beginning. Was not idleness the parent of this mischief? (2 Sam. 11:2) The loitering evening walk—the unseasonable hour (Judges 19:25, Job 24:15, Rom. 13:12, 13.)—the vacant mind—all bringing the youth into contact with evil company (Pr 13:20, 1 Cor. 15:33)—was not this courting sin—tempting the tempter? “The house was empty,” and therefore ready for his reception, and soon altogether in his possession. (Matt. 12:44, 45.) How valuable are self-discipline, self-control, constant employment, active energy of pursuit, as preservatives under the Divine blessing from fearful danger!

See also the base varnish of religion. It is often a cover for sin (1 Sam. 2:22, 2 Sam. 15:8–11, John 18:28.). ‘She durst not play the harlot with man, till she had played the hypocrite with God, and stopped the mouth of her conscience with her peace-offerings.’ Nay—she seems to have emboldened herself in her wickedness, as if her meeting was a happy providence, the reward of her religious services.(Pr 7:14, 15, 1 Sam. 23:7, Zech. 11:5). Beware of any voice—from the most reverend quarter, that manifestly encourages forbidden indulgence.

Observe also the infatuation of the snare. ‘Man cannot be ruined, till he has been made confident to the contrary. (READ THAT AGAIN!!!) A man must get into his victim’s heart with fair speeches and promises, before he can come at it with a dagger.’ Thus the harlot’s flattering speech chained the youth blindfolded for destruction. As the ox goeth to the slaughter, unconscious of his fate—perhaps dreaming of rich pasture: or as a fool goeth to the stocks, (Ecc. 7:26, Judges 16:15) careless and unfeeling; so does this poor deluded victim rush on with pitiable mirth or indifference, till the dart strikes through his liver.(Ecc. 7:26, Judges 16:15) He hasteth as a bird to the snare,(Ecc. 9:12) thinking only of the bait, and he knoweth not that it is for his life. (Pr 9:18) What will recollection bring, but the fragrance of exciting perfume, (Pr 7:16, 17) changed into the bitterness of wormwood and gall; the short night of pleasure succeeded by the eternal night of infernal torment!

Lastly—mark the danger of venturing into temptation. Could we expect any other results, when we saw the youth going the way to the harlot’s house? (Pr 4:15; 5:8, Judges 16:15)  He intended merely his own idle gratification; and when he yielded, it was probably not without some struggle. But it is a just judgment, that those who fear not temptation, should fall into it. ‘Who would avoid danger, must avoid temptation to sin. Who would avoid sin, must avoid temptation to sin.’ The force, to which the youth’s own folly subjected him, he could not plead as an excuse. When the first bounds of modesty are broken through, the door of the fancy is open to the tempter for the kindling of lusts. Thus to rush into the very jaws of ruin, is to “enter into temptation,” by our own will, instead of being led or falling into it, under the providential discipline and dispensation of God. (Matt. 25:41, with Mt 4:1, James 1:2) Self-confidence has ruined many a promising profession. Tenderness of confidence, sensibility of weakness, dependence on Divine strength and promise (ED: The enabling power of the Holy Spirit - Ro 8:13+, Gal 5:16-18+)—this is the frame, in which “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (1 John 5:18)

Proverbs 7:24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth.

  • Pr 4:1; 5:7; 8:32,33; 1Co 4:14,15; Gal 4:19; 1Jn 2:1

Bridges - In the hand of a licentious poet or painter this picture might contaminate the unsanctified imagination. But as it stands on the page of inspiration, it is God’s solemn warning to sons, whether in years, understanding, or experience. Now then, now that you have seen the end of sin (Pr 7:22-23), listen to me. (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See his full comment below)

Listen - I like the ring of the old King James = "Hearken". Not a suggestion but an command (imperative). This is a "life and death" issue. Hearing is vital. In warfare if we mishear or misinterpret or fail to obey the commander, we may pay for it with our live. In spiritual battle for our souls (1Pe 2:11-note), the outcome is no different and even potentially worse (cp Mt 10:28). Therefore Lord, give all of us as your men, whether we be young and old, open hears and obedient hearts to hear the clarion call and command from the Captain of the hosts (Joshua 5:14,15), our Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Pay attention (also a command) (qashab) describes the activity of hearing, and emphasize either paying close attention or obeying (heeding). (In other words, Proverbs 5-7 do not just go "in one ear and out the other"!). The first use of qashab is instructive...

And Samuel said (to disobedient King Saul), "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed (qashab) than the fat of rams. (1Sa 15:22)

Comment: Saul did not obey and it cost him everything - including his kingdom and eventually his life!

Proverbs 7:25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths.

  • Pr 4:14,15; 5:8; 6:25; 23:31, 32, 33; Mt 5:28
  • Pr 5:23; Psalm 119:176; Isaiah 53:6

Bridges - An impure thought, an idle look, foolish company, are her ways (cf Eph 5:4, 5, 11). Dread the first step, and do not imagine that you can stop yourself when you want to. Familiarity with sin weakens our abhorrence of it. Soon you will begin to love the object of detestation. Too late you will find that you have chosen her house as your home. (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See his full comment below)

THOUGHT - Let me paraphrase Solomon's words and Bridges' comment ("do not imagine that you can stop yourself when you want to"). "Do not make even one click of that mouse on that pornographic link." Do not think you can hold back the flood of fleshly passions that a single mouse click will unleash! What you thought would be only a faucet dripping that you could easily turn off will turn out to be a spiritual tsunami you will not be able to resist! Only a fool reasons that they can "handle" the temptation. Just ONE LOOK is all it took for the fish to take the bait and be hooked and end up caught and dead. Just one look of a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22+) is all it took to bring irreparable damage to David's family (2 Sa 11:1-5). As James says "each one is tempted when he is carried away (see exelko) and enticed (see deleazo) by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." (James 1:14-16+)

Do not let your heart turn aside - Ultimately we make a choice either to turn or not to turn - that is the question - will you (I) refuse to turn aside?

We see that from the beginning God gave us free will and in some way I do not completely understand (especially in the OT) even gave Cain the ability to turn aside...

(Gen 4:6) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?

(Gen 4:7) “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (The only way God could have given this instruction is if Cain had also been given the ability to master it! What choice did he make? Read on...)

(Gen 4:8) Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

(Gen 4:9) Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

To quote Winston Churchill in his famous speech to a boy's school in the dark days of the WWII in England "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. (Read and listen to his full speech)

Turn aside (satah) means to go astray from certain behavior that is expected and thus is used to describe a woman who goes astray and commits adultery (Nu 5:12, 19, 20, 29). In Proverbs 4:15 satah speaks of turning away from the wicked. Here in Proverbs 7:25, satah describes one who allows their heart to turn aside to a harlot. Job 31:7 tells us that ones heart follows one's eyes so we must diligently guard what we allow into our eyes (see Ps 101:3).

Samuel Chandler writes on satah that "Mr. Schultens hath shown in his commentary on Proverbs 7:25 that satah hath a much stronger and more significant meaning than that of mere turning aside; and that it is used of an unruly horse, that champs upon the bit through his fiery impatience; and when applied to a bad man, denotes one impatient of all restraint, of unbridled passions, and that is headstrong and ungovernable in the gratification of them, trampling on all the obligations of religion and virtue. Such as these are the deserved objects of the hatred of all good men, whose criminal deviations and presumptuous crimes they detest; none of which shall cleave to them; they will not harbour the love of, or inclination to them, nor habitually commit them, or encourage the practice of them. Persons of this character are too frequently about the courts of princes, but it is their honour and interest, as far as ever they can, to discountenance them.

Matthew Henry rightly described the deadliness of lust when he said "Natural desires are at rest when that which is desired is obtained, but corrupt desires are insatiable. Nature is content with little, grace with less, but lust with nothing.

Proverbs 7:26 For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain.

  • Pr 6:33; Jdg 16:21; 2Sa 3:6, 7, 8,27; 12:9, 10, 11; 1Ki 11:1,2; Neh 13:26; 1Co 10:8; 2Co 12:21; 1Pe 2:11

For - Another term of explanation - what's Solomon explaining? Did he listen to his own advice? Read 1Ki 11:1-12.

Bridges - Many are slain in this way. It is the Almighty’s miracle of power and grace that plucks the child of God from the brink of destruction. The Gospel presents only one remedy. The love of Christ counters the love of lust. “If impure love solicits, remember the holy love of thy Savior to thee, proved by his most shameful death. Think of him as looking into thy heart boiling over with corruption, showing thee his wounds, and moving thee to a reciprocal love of himself” (Geier). The crucifixion of the flesh by a living union with him will keep us from iniquity (Galatians 5:24). The person who walks with God in gospel freedom and Christian discipline and watchfulness is safe. (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See his full comment below)

Proverbs 7:27 Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.

  • Pr 2:18,19; 5:5; 9:18; Eccl 7:26

Repeatedly Solomon warns that death stalks the adulterer, either figuratively (separation from relationships in this life, death of reputation, loss of job, etc in this life) and even physical death from a sexually transmitted disease.

Bridges - But if sin is not mortified by these principles (Col 3:5+), sooner or later it will break out; if it does not result, as here, in open disgrace, it will defile the conscience and quench the Spirit and by a certain, though perhaps imperceptible, course bring the soul and body to hell (Ro 6:21; James 1:14-15), to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. (Proverbs 7 Exposition) (See his full comment below)

See word study - Sheol (07585) she'ol

Here is Bridges' unabbreviated comments on Pr 7:24-27 

24. Hearken unto me now, therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. 25. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. 26. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. 27. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

In the hand of a licentious poet, or painter, a picture like this might serve to contaminate the unsanctified imagination. But as it stands on the page of inspiration, it is God’s solemn warning to children—whether in years, understanding, or experience. Now therefore, that you have seen the end of sin (Pr 7:22, 23), hearken unto me. That you may not go astray in her paths, let not thine heart decline.(Pr  4:23, 10:8)  An impure thought, a polluted fancy, an idle book, filthy conversation, foolish company, theatres or places of vain resort—these are her ways. Dread the first steps, and dream not that you can stop yourself at pleasure in her course. Familiarity with sin weakens abhorrence. Soon will you begin to love the object of detestation, and what! should you find too late, that you have chosen as your home her house, which is the way to hell, and to the chambers of death? (Pr 2:18, 9:18. The plural number (the ways, Heb.) seems to imply ‘many other ways of guilt, branching out—many other paths of ruin coinciding.’—Hervey’s Theron and Aspasio. Letter v. Schultens insists, that the present most wretched state—full of all horror and execration—is included, so that the man who hath entered the seducer’s house may be said to have entered alive into hell, and gone down to the chamber of death.—Pr 5:5) Many, not of the meaner sort, but strong men, has she cast down wounded and slain. And a miracle is it of Almighty power and grace, that plucks the child of God from the brink of destruction!

Let not then the most established Christian dismiss this subject as of no personal concern to himself. Be it so—that “you are risen with Christ;” that you have “set your affections on things above;” that “your life is hid with Christ in God;” that you are looking for the glorious hope of his “appearing” (Col  3:1-4+)—It is to you—in whom “fleshly lusts are yet warring against the soul,” (1 Pe 2:11+)—that the exhortation is given—mortify therefore your members that are upon the earth—even the worst members of the old man—fornication, uncleanness, evil concupiscence. (Col. 3:1–5+. A similar exhortation is given to another flourishing Christian Church. 1 Th 4:3–5+) And who—with the picture of the wounded and slain before him, will revolt? (2 Kings. 8:13)—“Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?—that he should need this warning? Look at the footsteps of the strong men who have gone in. (Samson—David—Solomon. Neh. 13:26. Vestigia terrent—Felix, quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.) Whom do we see come out whole? ‘Behold Kings stood not before her; how then shall we stand?” (2 Kings 10:4)

Nor let present steadfastness, or seclusion from temptation, blind our eyes to the liability of yielding to the vilest indulgence. The eye of God discerns a far deeper corruption than appears in the outer man—such a totality of depravation, that even the affections, designed to be the sources of our holiest delight, become the principle and occasion of the most awful departure from the ways of purity and peace.

The Gospel presents the only remedy. The love of Christ is the counteracting principle to the love of lust. (ED: See Expulsive Power of a New Affection) ‘If impure love solicits, remember the holy love of thy Saviour to thee, proved by his most shameful death. Think of him, as looking into thy heart boiling over with corruption, shewing thee his wounds and exciting thee to a reciprocal love of himself.’ (Comp. 1 Cor. 6:18, 20, 2 Cor. 5:14, 15) The crucifixion of the flesh by a living union with Him “will keep us from our iniquity.” (Gal. 5:24, with Ps 18:23) “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”  (Ro 6:2, 3) “The flesh will still lust against the spirit.” (Gal. 5:17) But the man, who walks with God in Gospel liberty, and Christian discipline and watchfulness, is safe (Ro 6:14, with 1 Cor. 9:27).

But if sin be not mortified by these principles, sooner or later it will break out; if not, as here, to open disgrace,—yet so as to defile the conscience, to “quench the Spirit,” (1 Th 5:19) and by a sure, though perhaps imperceptible course, to bring soul and body to hell,—to the chambers of eternal death. (Ro 6:21, James 1:14, 15+)