|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:20-35 The word of God has something to say to us upon all occasions. Let not faithful reproofs ever make us uneasy. When we consider how much this sin abounds, how heinous adultery is in its own nature, of what evil consequence it is, and how certainly it destroys the spiritual life in the soul, we shall not wonder that the cautions against it are so often repeated. Let us notice the subjects of this chapter. Let us remember Him who willingly became our Surety, when we were strangers and enemies. And shall Christians, who have such prospects, motives, and examples, be slothful and careless? Shall we neglect what is pleasing to God, and what he will graciously reward? May we closely watch every sense by which poison can enter our minds or affections.
Verse 25. - To keep thee from the evil woman. The specific object to which the discourse was tending. The "commandment" and the "law" illuminate the path of true life generally, but in a special degree they, if attended to, will guard the young against sins of impurity, fornication, and adultery. The evil woman (Hebrew, esheth ra); strictly, a woman of evil, or vileness, or of a wicked disposition, addicted to evil in an extraordinary degree; ra being here a substantive standing in a genitive relation to esheth, as in Proverbs 2:12, "The way of evil (derek ra)." Cf. also tah'pukoth ra, perverstates mali (Proverbs 2:14), and makh'sh'voth ra, cogitationes mali (Proverbs 15:26), and an'shey ra, viri mali (Proverbs 28:5). The Vulgate, however, gives an adjectival force to ra rendering, it muliere mala. The LXX. ἀπὸ γυναικὸς, i.e. "from the married woman," arises from reading rea, "a companion," for ra, "evil." From the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman; i.e. from her enticements; Hebrew, mekhel'kath lashon noh'riyyah; literally, "from the smoothness of a strange tongue," as in the margin. Zockler, however, proposes an emendation of the Masoretic text, and substitutes the construct case, l'shon, for the absolute, lashon, rendering as in the Authorized Version, on the ground that the emphasis lies, not on the "tongue," which would be the case if we render "of a strange tongue," but on "the strange woman," who is the subject of the discourse, as in Proverbs 2:16 and Proverbs 5:20. But nok'riyyah is feminine of the adjective nok'ri, ann in agreement with lashon, which, though common, is more frequently feminine (Gesenius), and hence the two words may stand in agreement. The marginal reading is to be preferred (Wordsworth). Again, me-khel'kath, the construct ease of khel'kah, literally, "smoothness," and metaphorically flattery, with the prefix me, forms one member of the phrase, while the compound expression, lashon nok'riyyah, forms the second. Ewald and Bertheau render, "from the smooth-tongued, the strange woman," thus connecting mekhel'kath lashon, and regarding nok'riyyah as a separate and distinct idea. They agree with Symmachus and Theodotion, ἀπὸ λειογλώσσου ξένης, i.e. "from the smooth-tongued or flattering stranger." So the Vulgate, a blanda lingua extraneae, i.e. from the smooth tongue of the strange woman. The LXX. again favours the marginal reading, ἀπὸ διαβολῆς γλώσσης ἀλλοτρίας, "from the slander of a strange tongue." So the Chaldee Paraphrase. The Syriac reads, "from the accusation of a woman of a strange tongue," i.e. who uses a foreign language. If, however, the Authorized Version be retained, the Hebrew nok'riyyah will, as in other passages, mean "an adulteress" (Gesenius); Proverbs 5:20; Proverbs 7:5; Proverbs 23:27. Under any circumstances, we have here attributed to the tongue what, in fact, belongs to the woman. It is against the enticements and blandishments of a woman of depraved moral character that the "commandment" and "law" form a safeguard to youth. Verse 25. - Lust not after her beauty in thine heart. The admonition of this verse embraces the two sides of the subject - the external allurement and the internal predisposition to vice. Lust not after (Hebrew, al-takh'mod); strictly, desire not, since the verb khamad is properly" to desire, or covet." The same verb is used in Exodus 20:17, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife," and Exodus 34:24, "Neither shall any man desire thy land" (cf. Micah 2:2 and Proverbs 12:12). In Psalm 68:19; Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 53:2, it has the sense of taking delight in anything. It may be questioned whether it ever has the strong meaning given in the Vulgate (non concupiscat) and adopted in the Authorized Version, "to lust after" (Holden). Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus render μὴ ἐπιθυμήσῃς. The use of khamad here reveals the warning of the Decalogue. In thine heart; Hebrew, bil'va-veka. corresponding to the ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ of Matthew 5:28. The admonition is a warning to repress the very first inclinations to unchaste desires. They may be unobserved and undetected by ethers, but they are known to ourselves, and the first duty of repressing them calls for an act of determination and will on our part. Our Lord teaches (Matthew 5:28, cited above), "That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." The LXX. reading is Μή σε νικήσῃ κάλλους ἐπιθυμία, "Let not the desire of beauty conquer thee." Neither let her take thee with her eyelids; i.e. do not let her captivate thee with her amorous glances. Take. The Hebrew verb, lakakh, is "to captivate" with blandishments, "to allure, beguile" (cf. Proverbs 11:30); LXX., μήδε ἀγρευθῃς. With her eyelids (Hebrew, b'aph'appeyah); or perhaps more literally, with her eyelashes (Zockler). The eyelids; Hebrew, aph'appayim, dual of aph'aph, so called from their rapid, volatile motion, are here compared with nets, as by Philostratus ('Epistles:' Γυναικί), who speaks of "the nets of the eyes (τὰ τῶν ὀμμάτων δίκτυα)." The eyelids are the instruments by which the amorous woman beguiles or catches her victims. She allures him by her glances. So St. Jerome says, "The eye of an harlot is the snare of her lover." The wanton glance is expressed in the Vulgate by nutibus illius; cf. "The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids" (Ecclus. 26:9). Milton ('Paradise Lost,' 11:620) speaks of the daughters of men "rolling the eye," amongst other things, in order to captivate the sons of God. Piscator and Mercerus understand the eyelids as standing metonymically for the beauty of the eye; and Bayne, for the general adornment of the head in order to attract attention. Allusion may possibly be made to the custom of Eastern women painting the eyelids to give brilliancy and expression; cf. 2 Kings 9:30 (Wordsworth). A striking parallel to the verse before us occurs in Propertius, lib. 1. 'Eleg.' 1., "Cynthia prima suis miserum me cepit ocellis."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Lust not after her beauty in thine heart,.... Do not look upon it with the eye, nor dwell upon it in the thought; the one will lead on to and kindle last in the heart, and the other will cherish it and blow it up into a flame; and lust thus conceived and nourished in the heart is no other than committing adultery, Matthew 5:28;
neither let her take thee with her eyelids; let her not take thee from instruction with them, so Aben Ezra, from attending to that; or let her not take thy wisdom from thee, so Jarchi; or rather let her not take thee as in a net, with the sparkling of her eyes, with the wanton and amorous glances of them; so the Syriac version, "let her not captivate thee", &c. which applied to the antichristian church, may signify the outward pomp and grandeur of it, its pretensions to antiquity, to the apostolic see, to infallibility, miracles, great devotion, &c. which are taking to men, and are the Circean cup with which she bewitches and allures, Revelation 17:4. The Targum is,
"let her not seduce thee,'' &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. One of the cautions of this instruction, avoid alluring beauty.
eyelids—By painting the lashes, women enhanced beauty.
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