Proverbs 9:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!"

New Living Translation
"Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!"

English Standard Version
“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

New American Standard Bible
"Stolen water is sweet; And bread eaten in secret is pleasant."

King James Bible
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten secretly is tasty!"

International Standard Version
"Stolen waters are sweet, and food eaten in secret is delicious."

NET Bible
"Stolen waters are sweet, and food obtained in secret is pleasant!"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Stolen waters are sweet, and secret bread is pleasant”,

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Stolen waters are sweet, and food eaten in secret is tasty."

JPS Tanakh 1917
Stolen waters are sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.'

New American Standard 1977
“Stolen water is sweet;
            And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

King James 2000 Bible
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

American King James Version
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

American Standard Version
Stolen waters are sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Stolen waters are sweeter, and hid den bread is more pleasant.

Darby Bible Translation
Stolen waters are sweet, and the bread of secrecy is pleasant.

English Revised Version
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Webster's Bible Translation
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

World English Bible
"Stolen water is sweet. Food eaten in secret is pleasant."

Young's Literal Translation
'Stolen waters are sweet, And hidden bread is pleasant.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

9:13-18 How diligent the tempter is, to seduce unwary souls into sin! Carnal, sensual pleasure, stupifies conscience, and puts out the sparks of conviction. This tempter has no solid reason to offer; and where she gets dominion in a soul, all knowledge of holy things is lost and forgotten. She is very violent and pressing. We need to seek and pray for true wisdom, for Satan has many ways to withdraw our souls from Christ. Not only worldly lusts and abandoned seducers prove fatal to the souls of men; but false teachers, with doctrines that flatter pride and give liberty to lusts, destroy thousands. They especially draw off such as have received only partial serious impressions. The depths of Satan are depths of hell; and sin, without remorse, is ruin, ruin without remedy. Solomon shows the hook; those that believe him, will not meddle with the bait. Behold the wretched, empty, unsatisfying, deceitful, and stolen pleasure sin proposes; and may our souls be so desirous of the everlasting enjoyment of Christ, that on earth we may live to him, daily, by faith, and ere long be with him in glory.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 17. - This is what she says: Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. The metaphor of "stolen waters" refers primarily to adulterous intercourse, as to "drink waters out of one's own cistern" (Proverbs 5:15, where see note) signifies the chaste connection of lawful wedlock. Wisdom offered flesh and wine to her guests; Folly offers bread and water. Wisdom invites openly to a well furnished table; Folly calls to a secret meal of barest victuals. What the former offers is rich and satisfying and comforting; what Vice gives is poor and mean and insipid. Yet this latter has the charm of being forbidden; it is attractive because it is unlawful. This is a trait of corrupt human nature, which is recognized universally. Thus Ovid, 'Amor.,' 3:4, 17 -

"Nitimur in vetitum semper, cupimusque negata;
Sic interdictis imminet aeger aquis.'
Things easily attained, the possession of which is gotten without effort or danger or breach of restraint, soon pall and cease to charm. To some minds the astuteness and secrecy required for success have an irresistible attraction. Thus St. Augustine relates ('Conf.,' 2:4) how he and some companions committed a theft, not from want and poverty, nor even from the wish to enjoy what was stolen, but simply for the pleasure of thieving and the sin. They robbed a pear tree by night, carried off great loads, which they flung to the pigs, and their only satisfaction was that they were doing what they ought not ("dum tamen fieret a nobis, quod eo liberet quo non liceret"). Septuagint, "Taste ye to your pleasure secret bread, and sweet water of theft." Where water is a precious commodity, as in many pets of Palestine, doubtless thefts were often committed, and persons made free with their neighbor's tank when they could do so undetected, thus sparing their own resources and felicitating themselves on their cleverness. On the metaphorical use of "waters" in Holy Scripture, St. Gregory says, "Waters are sometimes wont to denote the Holy Spirit, sometimes sacred knowledge, sometimes calamity, sometimes drifting peoples, sometimes the minds of those following the faith." He refers to these texts respectively: John 7:38, etc.; Ecclus. 15:3; Psalm 69:1; Revelation 17:15 ("the waters are peoples"); Isaiah 22:20; and he adds, "By water likewise bad knowledge is wont to be designated, as when the woman in Solomon, who bears the type of heresy, charms with crafty persuasion, saying, 'Stolen waters are sweet'" ('Moral.,' 19:9).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Stolen waters are sweet,.... Wells and fountains of waters in those hot countries were very valuable, and were the property of particular persons; about which there were sometimes great strife and contention; and they were sometimes sealed and kept from the use of others; see Genesis 26:18; now waters got by stealth from such wells and fountains were sweeter than their own, or what might be had in common and without difficulty, to which the proverb alludes. By which in general is meant, that all prohibited unlawful lusts and pleasures are desirable to men, and sweet in the enjoyment of them; and the pleasure promised by them is what makes them so desirable, and the more so because forbidden: and particularly as adultery, which is a sort of theft (r), and a drinking water out of another's cistern, Proverbs 5:15; being forbidden and unlawful, and secretly committed, is sweeter to an unclean person than a lawful enjoyment of his own wife; so false worship, superstition, and idolatry, the inventions of men, and obedience to their commands, which are no other than spiritual adultery, are more grateful and pleasing to a corrupt mind than the true and pure worship of God;

and bread eaten in secret is pleasant; or, "bread of secret places" (s); hidden bread, as the Targum, Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions; that which is stolen and is another's (t), and is taken and hid in secret places, fetched out from thence, or eaten there: the sweet morsel of sin, rolled in the mouth, and kept under the tongue; secret lusts, private sins, particularly idolatry, to which men are secretly enticed, and which they privately commit, Deuteronomy 13:6; the same thing is designed by this clause as the forager.

(r) "Furtiva Verus", Ovid de Arte Amandi, l. 1. "Furta Jovis, furtiva munuscula", Catullus ad Mantium, Ephesians 66. v. 140, 145. So Propertius, l. 2. eleg. 30. v. 28. Pindar; for which he was indebted to Solomon, according to Clemens of Alexandria, Paedagog. l. 3. p. 252. (s) "latebraram", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis. (t) "Quas habeat veneres aliens pecunia nescis", Juvenal. Satyr. 13.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

17. The language of a proverb, meaning that forbidden delights are sweet and pleasant, as fruits of risk and danger.

Proverbs 9:17 Additional Commentaries
The Way of Folly
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." 18But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Cross References
Proverbs 5:16
Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares?

Proverbs 5:18
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 20:17
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
Treasury of Scripture

Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.


Proverbs 20:17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall …

Proverbs 23:31,32 Look not you on the wine when it is red, when it gives his color …

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that …

Romans 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, worked in me all manner …

James 1:14,15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed…

eaten in secret

Proverbs 7:18-20 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace …

Proverbs 30:20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats, and wipes her mouth, …

2 Kings 5:24-27 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and …

Ephesians 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of …

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