|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-14 Solomon cautions all young men, as his children, to abstain from fleshly lusts. Some, by the adulterous woman, here understand idolatry, false doctrine, which tends to lead astray men's minds and manners; but the direct view is to warn against seventh-commandment sins. Often these have been, and still are, Satan's method of drawing men from the worship of God into false religion. Consider how fatal the consequences; how bitter the fruit! Take it any way, it wounds. It leads to the torments of hell. The direct tendency of this sin is to the destruction of body and soul. We must carefully avoid every thing which may be a step towards it. Those who would be kept from harm, must keep out of harm's way. If we thrust ourselves into temptation we mock God when we pray, Lead us not into temptation. How many mischiefs attend this sin! It blasts the reputation; it wastes time; it ruins the estate; it is destructive to health; it will fill the mind with horror. Though thou art merry now, yet sooner or later it will bring sorrow. The convinced sinner reproaches himself, and makes no excuse for his folly. By the frequent acts of sin, the habits of it become rooted and confirmed. By a miracle of mercy true repentance may prevent the dreadful consequences of such sins; but this is not often; far more die as they have lived. What can express the case of the self-ruined sinner in the eternal world, enduring the remorse of his conscience!
Verses 1-23. - 8. Eighth admonitory discourse. Warning against adultery, and commendation of marriage. The teacher, in this discourse, recurs to a subject which he has glanced at before in Proverbs 2:15-19, and which he again treats of in the latter part of the sixth and in the whole of the seventh chapters. This constant recurrence to the same subject, repulsive on account of its associations, shows, however, the importance which it had in the teacher's estimation as a ground of warning, and that he ranked it among the foremost of the temptations and sins which called the young off from the pursuit of Wisdom, and so led them astray from "the fear of the Lord." The vividness with which the ruin, bodily and moral, ensuing with absolute certainty on a life of vice, is described is a sufficient proof in itself that the subject before us is not brought forward from or for voluptuous motives, but for the purpose of conveying an impressive warning. Some commentators, e.g. Delitzsch, include the first six verses in the previous discourse; but the unity of the subject requires a different treatment. Zockler's reason against this arrangement, on the ground that the previous discourse was addressed to "tender youth," and thus to youth in a state of pupilage, while the one before us refers to more advanced age - to the married man - may be true, but is not the true ground for incorporating them in the present discourse. The unity of the subject requires that they should be taken with the central and didactic part of the discourse, as being in a sense introductory to it. The discourse divides itself into three sections.
(1) The earnest appeal to attention because of the counter-attraction in the blandishments of the harlot, which, however, in the end, are bitter as wormwood and sharp as a two-edged sword (vers. 1-6).
(2) The main or didactic section (vers. 7-20), embracing
(a) warnings against adulterous intercourse with "the strange woman" (vers. 7-14);
(b) the antithetical admonition to use the means of chastity by remaining faithful to, and rejoicing with, the wife of one's youth (vers 15-20). And
(3) the epilogue, which, in addition to the disastrous temporal consequences which follow on the violation of the sanctity of marriage, mentioned in vers. 9-14, represents the sin as one which will be examined by the universal Judge, and which brings with it its own Nemesis or retribution. All sins of impurity, all sins against temperance, soberness, and chastity, are no doubt involved in the warning, and the subject is capable of an allegorical interpretation - a mode of treatment in some instances adopted by the LXX. rendering, as that the "strange woman" stands as the representative of impenitence (Miller), or, according to the earlier view of Bede, as the representative of heresy and false doctrine; but the sin which is inveighed against, and which is made the subject of these repeated warnings, is not fornication simply, but adultery - the violation, in its most repulsive form, of the sacred obligations of marriage. The whole discourse is an impressive commentary on the seventh commandment. Verse 1. - The admonitory address is very similar to that in Proverbs 4:20, except that here the teacher says," Attend to my wisdom, bow down thine ear to my understanding," instead of "Attend to my words, and incline thine ear unto my saying." It is not merely "wisdom" and "understanding" in the abstract, but wisdom which he has appropriated to himself, made his own, and which he knows by experience to be true wisdom. It may therefore have the sense of experience and observation, both of which increase with years. To "bow down the ear" is to listen attentively, and so to fix the mind intently on what is being said. Compare the similar expressions in Psalm 31:2 and Proverbs 2:2; Proverbs 4:20; 33:12. The same idea is expressed in Mare Antony's address to his countrymen, "Lend me your ears" (Shakespeare, 'Julius Caesar,' act 3. sc. 2).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My son, attend unto my wisdom,.... Not the wisdom of the world or of the flesh, worldly wisdom and carnal policy; but spiritual and evangelical wisdom; such as one that is greater than Solomon has in him, even Christ; "for in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge", Colossians 2:3; and which he teaches and communicates to others, even all proper instructions for conduct in life: the Gospel, and each of the doctrines of it, which are "the wisdom of God in a mystery", 1 Corinthians 2:7, these every child of God, and disciple of Christ, ought carefully and diligently to attend unto;
and bow thine ear to my understanding: listen attentively to those things which I have, and give an understanding of, even things divine and spiritual; the understanding of which is of the utmost moment and importance.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Pr 5:1-23. A warning against the seductive arts of wicked women, enforced by considering the advantages of chastity, and the miserable end of the wicked.
1. This connection of wisdom and understanding is frequent (Pr 2:2; 3:7); the first denotes the use of wise means for wise ends; the other, the exercise of a proper discrimination in their discovery.
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