My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.Proverbs 7:2-4. Keep my commandments, and live — That is, thou shalt live. It is a promise in the form of a command, as Proverbs 3:25. And my law as the apple of thine eye — With all possible care and diligence, as men guard that most noble and necessary, and therefore highly-esteemed and beloved part of the body from all danger, yea, even from the least mote. Bind them upon thy fingers — As a ring which is put upon them, and is continually in a man’s eye. Constantly remember and meditate upon them. Write them, &c. — Fix them in thy mind and affection: see on Proverbs 3:3. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister — The name of sister is a name of friendship, often used between the husband and wife, and denotes the chaste love which he should have to wisdom. Call understanding thy kinswoman — The LXX. render it, την δε φρονησιν γνωριμον περιποιησαι σεαυτω, Acquire to thyself prudence for an acquaintance; while other foolish young men seek wanton mistresses, whom they frequently call sisters, or kinswomen, let wisdom be thy mistress; acquaint and delight thyself with her. Say to her, Thou art my sister, my spouse, my beloved: let her have the command of thy heart, and the conduct of thy life.
Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.Proverbs 7:5. That they may keep thee from the strange woman — One reason why Solomon so often cautions his disciple in this manner, and inculcates upon him the important duty of shunning all acquaintance with lewd women, probably was because he observed those vices to abound more than they had formerly done in his time, in which peace and prosperity had made way for luxury and uncleanness.
For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,Proverbs 7:6-10. For I looked through my casement — Hebrew, בעד אשׁנבי, per fenestellam meam, my little window, or lattice, rather. For “in Palestine they had no glass to their windows: they closed them with lattices or curtains.” This may either be considered as an historical relation, or a parabolical representation of that which frequently happened. I beheld among the simple ones — Among the fools; a young man void of understanding — חסר לב, destitute of a heart, a body without a mind, one as ignorant and foolish as they; one whose youth, and heat, and strength, made him more subject to those passions which are termed by the apostle youthful lusts, and who wanted both judgment and experience, as well as grace, to keep him from such courses. Passing through the street — Sauntering and idle, perhaps in quest of amusement; near her corner — The corner of the street where the adulteress lived. And he went the way to her house — Walked carelessly on till he came near her house. “It is not said that he intended to visit her, or even that he knew she lived there; but he was loitering about in a place where he had no business, and at an unseasonable hour.” — Scott. In the evening — When, the day-labour being ended, he was at leisure for any thing; and when such strumpets used, and, alas! still use, to walk abroad for prey; in the black and dark night — Hebrew, באישׁון לילה ואפלה, when night and darkness were yet in embryo, or just beginning, as Dr. Waterland interprets the words. And behold, there met him a woman — Thus through idleness he was led into temptation. This woman was not a prostitute, for she was a married woman, (Proverbs 7:19,) and, for aught that appears, lived in reputation among her neighbours, not suspected of any such wickedness. She was now, however, dressed in the attire of a harlot — And her carriage and conduct were agreeable to her quality and design; and she was subtle of heart — As she showed in her following discourse, wherein she proposes all things which might invite him to comply with her desire, and conceals whatsoever might discourage him.
And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:Proverbs 7:11-12. She is loud, &c. — Here the wise man draws her character. המיה היא וסררת, She is clamorous and obstinate, or refractory. She is full of talk, self-willed, disobedient to her husband, rebellious against God, and incorrigible by any admonitions of ministers or friends. Her feet abide not in her house — She minds not her business, which lies in her own house, but gives herself wholly up to idleness and pleasure, which she seeks in gadding abroad, and in changing her place and company. Now she is without — Standing, or waiting nigh the door of her house; now in the streets — In places of resort; and lieth in wait at every corner — To pick up such as she can make a prey of.
Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.Proverbs 7:14. I have peace-offerings with me — “I am a woman happy in many blessings, which God hath bestowed upon me, and for which I have given him solemn thanks this very day; and, as religion and custom bind me, I have provided as good a feast as those sacrifices, which I formerly vowed, and have now paid, would afford, having no want of any thing, but of some good company at home to rejoice with me.” This woman’s conduct was the more abominable, as she covered her lewdness with the mask of piety and devotion. There were three sorts of peace-offerings, as appears by Leviticus 7:11-16; and Bishop Patrick is of opinion that those here mentioned were offerings of thanksgiving for blessings already obtained, and not of prayer for blessings not yet received, because the woman was so solicitous to have company at her feast upon this very day. It is well known that such sacrifices were to be of the best, either of bullocks, or sheep, or goats, (Leviticus 3:1; Leviticus 3:6; Leviticus 3:12,) and that the greatest part of them fell to the share of the person who offered them that he might feast with God. “It will not appear wonderful,” says Mr. Scott, “that these sacred ordinances should give occasion to carnal feasts attended with every vice, when we reflect how all kinds of sensuality are indulged in,” among professing Christians in our day, “under pretence of commemorating the nativity of Christ, who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.”
Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.Proverbs 7:15-20. Therefore came I forth to meet thee — As not being able to take any pleasure in my feast without thy company; and I have found thee — By a happy providence of God complying with my desires, to my great joy, I have found thee speedily and most opportunely. Thus this wicked woman pretended that she came forth on purpose to meet this youth, from a peculiar affection, as if she had had a prior acquaintance and intimacy with him. I have decked my bed, &c. — She desires to inflame his lusts by the mention of the bed, and by its ornaments and perfumes. The good man is not at home — Whom she does not call her husband, lest the mention of that name should awaken his conscience or discretion. He hath taken a bag of money with him — Which is an evidence he designs to go far, and to stay a considerable time; and will come home at the day appointed — Or, at the day of full moon, as Dr. Waterland translates יום הכסא, Houbigant renders the clause, Nor will he return to his house before the full moon. The woman plainly gives this as a reason for removing all apprehensions and fears of detection from the simple youth she is soliciting to destruction.
I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.Proverbs 7:21-23. With her much fair speech — Which implies that her alluring words were more effectual with him than her impudent kisses, which possibly had a little alienated his mind from her; she caused him to yield — By this expression Solomon signifies that no provocation to sin is a sufficient excuse for it. With the flattering of her lips she forced him —
She prevailed over him; which argues that there was some reluctance in his judgment, or conscience, against yielding to her. He goeth after her straightway — Without delay or consideration; as an ox goeth to the slaughter — Going to it securely, as if it were going to a good pasture; or as a fool to the correction of the stocks — Or, which is more agreeable to the order of the words in the Hebrew text, as one in fetters, that is, bound with fetters, to the correction of a fool, namely, to receive such correction, or punishment, as belongs to fools. Which may imply, either, 1st, That he hath no more sense of the shame and mischief which he is bringing upon himself than a fool; or, 2d, That he can no more resist the temptation, or avoid the danger, than a man fast tied with chains and fetters can free himself, although his impotency be merely of a moral nature, and therefore voluntary. Till a dart strike through his liver — That is, his vital parts, whereof the liver is one. Till his life be lost, as it is explained in the next clause; as a bird hasteth to the snare — Like a silly bird, which, being greedy of the food laid to entice it, never minds the snare that is laid together with it; so he, eagerly longing to partake of her feast, and the following delights, had not so much as a thought that this was a design upon his life, and would not end but in miseries in finitely greater than all his joys. Dr. Grey, making a slight alteration in the text, renders these verses thus: “He goeth straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, as a dog to the chain, and as a deer, till a dart strike through his liver: as a bird hasteth,” &c. “He considers the passage as including four similes, the ox, the dog, the deer, the bird; each of them filly resembling the case of a youth, reduced by an adulterous woman, and hastening to ruin without fear or thought. The circumstance of the dart, as applied to the deer, is beautiful and proper, which otherwise we are at a loss to dispose of. The LXX. and Syriac read, as a dog to the chains, or as a stag pierced through his liver with a dart.”
He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.Proverbs 7:24-27. Hearken unto me now therefore — “This is a true representation, my dear children, of the folly and danger of these lewd courses, in which youth is prone to be engaged; and therefore do not look upon it as an idle speculation, but give diligent heed unto it, and be ruled by my advice.” Let not thy heart decline, &c. — “Let not one of you so much as entertain a thought of going to such a woman, much less of consenting to her enticements.” Go not astray in her paths — Do not leave the right and straight way, to go into such crooked paths as hers are. For she hath cast down many wounded — “Do not presume on being safe in such courses, and of making a good retreat at last; for many have been the examples of no mean persons who have fallen in their reputation, their estates, their health, their comforts of life, and, in truth, have utterly perished” by an adulterous woman. “Innumerable are the mighty whom she hath brought to ruin.” The translation of the LXX. is, “She hath cast down many whom she hath wounded; and they whom she hath slain are innumerable.” Her house is the way to hell — “In short, to follow her unto her house is the direct way to hell: every step taken to her bed is, in truth, a going down to the dismal chambers of death, and to the most horrid miseries.” — Bishop Patrick. Calmet justly observes, that “Solomon had no need to go further than his own family for unhappy examples of the ill effects of lust. He was, indeed, himself, afterward, a sad proof of what he here says. How many lions hath the weakness of woman tamed, who, though mean and miserable herself, makes a prey of the great ones of the earth!”
Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.