|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!
Verse 3. - The teacher enters upon the subject of his warning, and under two familiar figures - common alike to Oriental and Greek writers - describes the nature of the "strange woman's" allurements. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb. The conjunction "for" (Hebrew ki) here, like the LXX. γὰρ, states the reason why the preceding exhortation is worthy of attention. Some commentators render "although," "albeit," as corresponding with the antithetical "but" in ver. 4. The lips; siphthey, the construct case of saphah in ver. 2. The organ of speech is here used for the speech itself, like the parallel "mouth." A strange woman (zarah); i.e. the harlot. The word occurs before in Proverbs 2:16, and again inch. 5:20; 7:5; 22:14; 23. 33. She is extranea, a stranger with respect to the youth whom she would beguile, either as being of foreign extraction, or as being the wife of another man, in which capacity she is so represented in Proverbs 7:19. In this sense she would be an adulteress. St. Jerome, in Ezekiel 6, takes her as the representative of the allurements from sound doctrine, and of corrupt worship (Wordsworth). Drop as an honeycomb (nopheth tithoph nah); rather, distil honey. The Hebrew nophteth is properly a "dropping," distillatio, and so the honey flowing from the honeycombs (tsuphim). Kimchi explains it as the honey flowing from the cells before they are broken, and hence it is the pure fine virgin honey. Exactly the same phrase occurs in Song of Solomon 4:11, "Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as an honeycomb (nopheth tithoph'nah)." The only other places where we meet with the word nopheth are Psalm 24:10 (11) (there combined with tsuphim, which helps to determine its meaning) and Proverbs 24:13; Proverbs 27:7. The meaning is the same as she "flattereth with her words" of Proverbs 7:5, in which chapter the teacher gives an example of the alluring words which the strange woman uses (Proverbs 7:14-20). As honey is sweet and attractive to the taste, so in a higher degree are her words pleasant to the senses. Her mouth is smoother than oil; i.e. her words are most plausible and persuasive. The Hebrew khik is properly "the palate," though it also included the corresponding lower part of the mouth (Gesenius). It is used as the instrument or organ of speech in Proverbs 8:7, "For my mouth (khik) shall speak truth;" and in Job 31:30, "I have not suffered my mouth (khik) to sin." Under the same figure David describes the treachery of his friend in Psalm 55:22, "His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb,.... "Mulsa dicta", "honey words", as is Plautus's (e) expression. The Septuagint and Arabic versions premise something here which is not in the Hebrew text,
"do not give heed to a wicked woman;''
and the Vulgate Latin version,
"to the fallacy of a woman:''
but there is no need to connect the words by such a supplement; since, as they lie, they give a reason why it was necessary to attend to wisdom and understanding, in order to act discreetly and speak knowingly; since there is so much danger of being drawn aside by a wicked woman, a lewd and adulterous one; the kisses of whose lips, her confabulations and songs, are as pleasing to the carnal senses of men as honey is sweet to the taste; she promises them a great deal of pleasure in her embraces, and in the enjoyment of her: so the poet (f) describes an agreeable voice to be sweeter than the honeycomb;
and her mouth is smoother than oil; her fair speeches, enticing words, and flattering fawning language, and amorous expressions, easily find their way and slide into the hearts of men, to prevail upon them to listen to her, and yield to her temptations. Gersom interprets this strange woman of the imaginative faculty; and Jarchi of heresy: it is applicable enough to the whore of Rome; who, by the blandishments of pomp and grandeur, and the allurements of wealth and riches, draws many into her idolatrous practices; which are spiritual adultery, signified by her golden cup, Revelation 17:4.
(e) Rudens, Acts 2. Sc. 3. v. 84. Poenulus, 1, 2. v. 112. (f) , Theocrit. Idyll. 21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. (Compare Pr 2:16). Her enticing promises are deceitful.
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