My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:Proverbs 5:1-2. My son, attend unto my wisdom — “There being nothing,” says Bishop Patrick, “to which youth is so prone as to give up themselves to satisfy their fleshly desires, and nothing proving so pernicious to them; the wise man gives a new caution against those impure lusts which he had taken notice of before: (Proverbs 2:16-19,) as great obstructions to wisdom; and, with repeated entreaties, begs attention to so weighty an argument: which here he prosecutes more largely, and presses not only with singular evidence, but with powerful reasons.” That thou mayest regard, or keep, as שׁמרsignifies, that is, hold fast, as it is in the next clause, discretion — Or wisdom for the conduct of thy life, as this word is used, chap. 1:4, and in other parts of this book. And that thy lips may keep knowledge — That, by wise and pious discourses, thou mayest preserve and improve thy wisdom, for thine own good, and that of others.
That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:Proverbs 5:3-6. For the lips of a strange woman, &c. — It concerns thee to get and to use discretion, that thou mayest be able to resist those manifold temptations to which thou art exposed; drop as a honeycomb — Her words and discourses are sweet, pleasing, and prevalent. But her end is bitter as wormwood — Her design, and the effect of that lewdness to which she entices men, are the sinner’s destruction. So that the beginning of this intercourse is not so sweet as the conclusion is bitter: after a short pleasure follows long pain, by the impairing men’s health, strength, estates, and credit, which they cannot reflect upon without trouble and vexation, remorse of conscience, and anguish of spirit, for, like a sword that cuts on both sides, she wounds both mind and body. Her feet — Her course, or manner of life, go down to death — Lead those that follow her to an untimely, shameful, and miserable end. Her steps take hold on hell — To have any, the least, converse with her, is to approach to certain, inevitable destruction. Lest thou shouldest ponder — Though thou mayest think to make a retreat in time: thou wilt be deceived, she having more arts than thou canst ever know, (winding and turning herself a thousand ways,) to keep thee from so much as deliberating about thy return to a virtuous course of life.
But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:Proverbs 5:8-14. Come not nigh the door of her house — Lest thine eyes affect thy heart, and her allurements prevail over thee. Lest thou give thine honour — Thy dignity and reputation, the strength and vigour of thy body and mind; unto others — Unto whores, and their base attendants; and thy years — The flower of thine age, and thy precious time, unto the cruel — To the harlot, who, though she pretends love, yet, in truth, is one of the most cruel creatures in the world, wasting thy estate and body, without the least pity, and destroying thy soul for ever. Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth — Not only the strange women themselves, but others who are in league with them; and thy labours — Wealth gotten by thy labours; in the house of a stranger — Of a strange family, whose house and table are furnished with the fruit of thy care and labours. And thou mourn at the last — Bitterly bewail thy madness and misery, when it is too late; when thy flesh and thy body, or even thy body, are consumed — By those manifold diseases which the indulgence of fleshly lusts bring upon the body; And say, How have I hated instruction! — How stupidly foolish have I been in not considering all this sooner! How senselessly bent upon my own ruin! And my heart despised reproof — I am amazed to think how I hated the cautions that were given me to avoid such ways, and the just reproofs I received for inclining to them. And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers — Of my parents, friends, and God’s ministers, who informed me of my danger, and faithfully and seasonably warned me of those mischiefs and miseries in which I am now involved. I was almost in all evil — I gave myself up to follow my lusts, which, in a short time, engaged me in almost every kind of wickedness, from which the reverence of no persons could restrain me, not even a regard to the congregation and assembly of God’s people.
Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:
Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.Proverbs 5:15. Drink waters out of thine own cistern — “The allegory here begun is carried on through several verses. It has been differently understood; but the interpretation which seems most generally followed, is that of those who conceive that the wise man here subjoins a commendation of matrimony, and the chaste preservation of the marriage- bed, for the propagation of a legitimate offspring, to his dehortation from illegitimate embraces, and stolen waters; and Schultens observes, that no figure is more elegant or more common among the easterns than this.” — Dodd. Bishop Patrick’s paraphrase on the verse is, “Marry; and in a wife of thy own, enjoy the pleasures thou desirest, and be content with them alone; innocent, chaste, and pure pleasures; as much different from the other, as the clear waters of a wholesome fountain are from those of a dirty lake or puddle.”
Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.Proverbs 5:16-17. Let thy fountains — Rather, thy streams, as Dr. Waterland renders the word, that is, thy children, proceeding from thy wife, called thy fountain, Proverbs 5:18, and from thyself; be dispersed abroad — They shall be multiplied, and in due time appear abroad in the world, to thy comfort and honour, and for the good of others; whereas harlots are commonly barren, and men are ashamed to own the children of whoredom. Let them be only thine own — “Children that acknowledge no other father, because they spring from one whom thou enjoyest (like a fountain in thy own ground) thyself alone: she being taught, by thy confining thyself to her, never to admit any stranger to thy bed.” — Bishop Patrick.
Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.Proverbs 5:18. Let thy fountain be blessed — Thy wife, as the next clause explains it, shall be blessed with children; or rather, she shall be a blessing and a comfort to thee, as it follows, and not a curse and snare, as a harlot would be. And rejoice, &c. — Seek not to harlots for that comfort and delight which God allows thee to take in thy wife. So here he explains the foregoing metaphor, and applies it to its present design; with the wife of thy youth — Whom thou didst marry in thy youthful days, with whom, therefore, in all reason and justice, thou oughtest still to satisfy thyself, even when she is old.
Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.Proverbs 5:19. Let her be as the loving hind — Hebrew, as the hind of loves; as amiable and delightful as the hinds are to princes and great men, who used to make them tame and familiar, and to take great delight in them, as has been observed by many writers. “The wise man,” says Bishop Patrick, “describes allegorically the felicities of the nuptial state, first under the comparison of a domestic fountain, where a man may quench his natural thirst, and from whence streams, that is, children, may be derived, to serve the public good; and, secondly, under the comparisons, of a young hind and pleasant roe, which naturalists have observed to be very fond creatures, which were usually kept by the greatest persons in their palaces, who diverted themselves with them, and adorned them with chains and garlands.” Let her breasts — Rather, her loves, as Houbigant renders דדוה, at all times, in all ages and conditions; not only love her when she is young and beautiful, but when she is old, or even deformed; and be thou always ravished with her love — Love her fervently. It is a hyperbolical expression.
And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?Proverbs 5:20-21. And why wilt thou be ravished with a strange woman? — Consider a little, and deny, if thou canst, that it is an unaccountable folly to seek that satisfaction and comfort in a vile harlot, which thou mayest enjoy more pleasantly, securely, and constantly, as well as more innocently, in a pious wife of thine own people. For the ways of man are before the Lord — “From whom no one can hide his most private actions, but he plainly sees and weighs all that a person doth, wheresoever he be; and will exactly proportion rewards and punishments according as he behaves himself.”
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.Proverbs 5:22-23. His own iniquities shall take the wicked — “Let him not think to escape, because he is so cunning that nobody observes him, or so powerful that no one can call him to an account; for his own manifold iniquities shall arrest and apprehend him.” And he shall be holden with the cords of his sins — “He shall need no other chains to bind, and hold him fast, to answer for them to God.” — Bishop Patrick. He shall die without instruction — Because he neglected instruction; or, as באין מוסר, may be rendered, without correction, or amendment. He shall die in his sins, and not repent of them, as he designed and hoped to do, before his death. And in the greatness of his folly — Through his stupendous folly, whereby he cheated himself with hopes of repentance or impunity, and exposed himself to endless torments for the momentary pleasures of gratifying sinful lusts; he shall go astray — From God, and from the way of life and eternal salvation.
He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.