Proverbs 23:27
For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
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(27) Strange woman (nokhriyyah).—See above, on Proverbs 2:16.

Proverbs 23:27-28. For a whore is a deep ditch — In which a man is in evident danger of perdition, and out of which it is exceeding difficult to escape. See the note on Proverbs 22:14. She lieth in wait, &c. — Watching all opportunities of insnaring young men to their destruction; and increaseth the transgressors among men — She is the cause of innumerable sins against God, and against the souls and bodies of those whom she insnares, and by her arts and wicked example involves many persons in the guilt of her sins. She is of no other use in the world, which already is too bad, but to make it worse, by increasing the number of lewd, faithless, and incorrigible sinners.23:19-28 The gracious Saviour who purchased pardon and peace for his people, with all the affection of a tender parent, counsels us to hear and be wise, and is ready to guide our hearts in his way. Here we have an earnest call to young people, to attend to the advice of their godly parents. If the heart be guided, the steps will be guided. Buy the truth, and sell it not; be willing to part with any thing for it. Do not part with it for pleasures, honours, riches, or any thing in this world. The heart is what the great God requires. We must not think to divide the heart between God and the world; he will have all or none. Look to the rule of God's word, the conduct of his providence, and the good examples of his people. Particular cautions are given against sins most destructive to wisdom and grace in the soul. It is really a shame to make a god of the belly. Drunkenness stupifies men, and then all goes to ruin. Licentiousness takes away the heart that should be given to God. Take heed of any approaches toward this sin, it is very hard to retreat from it. It bewitches men to their ruin.Observe - Another reading gives, "let thine eyes delight in my ways."27, 28. deep ditch—a narrow pit, out of which it is hard to climb.

lieth in wait—to ensnare men into the pit, as hunters entrap game (compare Pr 22:14).

A deep ditch; in which a man is in evident danger of perdition, and out of which it is exceeding difficult to escape. For a whore is a deep ditch,.... Or, "as a deep ditch", so Aben Ezra; to which she may be compared for the filthiness of her whoredoms, and for her insatiable lust, as well as for her being never satisfied with what she receives from her lovers. Plautus compares (g) her to the sea, which devours whatever you give, and yet nothing appears; and another (h) calls a whore Charybdis, from her swallowing up and devouring all a man has. She is as a ditch that has no bottom, into which those that fall are ever sinking deeper and deeper, till they get into the bottomless pit; for there is seldom any recovery from this dreadful evil;

and a strange woman is a narrow pit; or "well" (i); into which when men fall, they bruise themselves in a terrible manner, by beating from side to side; and out of which they cannot extricate themselves; at least not easily, but with great difficulty, if ever. This may very well be applied to the whore of Rome, and the filthiness of her fornications; and the dreadful state of those who are drawn in to commit fornication with her.

(g) Truculaetus, Acts 2. Sc. 7. v. 16, 17. "Lucuculetum coenum", Bacchides, Acts 3. Sc. 1. v. 11. "Lutea meretrix", Trucul. Acts 4. Sc. 4. v. 1l. (h) Sydonius Apollinar. l. 9. Ephesians 6. (i) "putens", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis, Schultens.

For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
27. Comp. Proverbs 22:14.Verse 27. - The need of the emphatic injunction in ver. 26 is exemplified by the dangers of impurity. A deep ditch; as Proverbs 22:14. A strange woman is a narrow pit. (For "strange woman," equivalent to "harlot," see on Proverbs 2:16.) A narrow pit is one with a narrow month, from which, if one falls into it, it is difficult to extricate one's self. The verse indicates the seductive nature of the vice of unchastity: how easy it is to be led into it! how difficult to rise from it! Thus St. Chrysostom ('Hom. 11, in 1 Corinthians'), "When by unclean desire the soul is made captive, even as a cloud and mist darken the eyes of the body, so that desire intercepts the foresight of the mind, and suffers no one to see any distance before him, either precipice, or hell, or fear; but thenceforth, having that deceit as a tyrant over him, he comes to be easily vanquished by sin; and there is raised up before his eyes as it were a partition wall, and no windows in it, which suffers not the ray of righteousness to shine in upon the mind, the absurd conceits of lust enclosing it as with a rampart on all sides. And then, and from that time forward, the unchaste woman is everywhere meeting him - before his eyes, before his mind, before his thoughts, in station and presence. And as the blind, although they stand at high noon beneath the very central point of the heaven, receive not the light, their eyes being fast closed up; just so these also, though ten thousand doctrines of salvation sound in their ears from all quarters, having their soul preoccupied with this passion, stop their ears against all discourses of that kind. And they know it well who have made the trial. But God forbid that you should know it from actual experience!" The LXX. has changed the allusion: "For a strange house is a pierced wine jar (πίθος τετρημένος), and a strange well is narrow," where the idea seems to be that the private well, which is dug for the convenience of one family only, is not to be relied upon, and will yield not enough to supply others' wants. Hence would arise a warning against coveting a neighbour's wife. There is a Greek proverb about drawing wine into pierced jars (Xen., 'OEcon.,' 7:40). Among the virtues which flow from the fear of God, temperance is made prominent, and the warning against excess is introduced by the general exhortation to wisdom:

19 Hear thou, my son, and become wise,

     And direct thy heart straight forward on the way.

20 And be not among wine-drinkers,

     And among those who devour flesh;

21 For the drunkard and glutton become poor,

     And sleepiness clotheth in rags.

The אתּה, connected with שׁמע, imports that the speaker has to do with the hearer altogether by himself, and that the latter may make an exception to the many who do not hear (cf. Job 33:33; Jeremiah 2:31). Regarding אשּׁר, to make to go straight out, vid., at Proverbs 4:14; the Kal, Proverbs 9:6, and also the Piel, Proverbs 4:14, mean to go straight on, and, generally, to go. The way merely, is the one that is right in contrast to the many byways. Fleischer: "the way sensu eximio, as the Oriental mystics called the way to perfection merely (Arab.) âlaṭryḳ; and him who walked therein, âlsâlak, the walker or wanderer."

(Note: Rashi reads בדרך לבך (walk), in the way of thy heart (which has become wise), and so Heidenheim found it in an old MS; but בדרך is equivalent to בדרך בינה, Proverbs 9:6.)

אל־תּתי ב, as at Proverbs 22:26, the "Words of the Wise," are to be compared in point of style. The degenerate and perverse son is more clearly described, Deuteronomy 21:20, as זולל וסבא. These two characteristics the poet distributes between 20a and 20b. סבא means to drink (whence סבא, drink equals wine, Isaiah 1:22) wine or other intoxicating drinks; Arab. sabâ, vinum potandi causa emere. To the יין here added, בּשׂר in the parallel member corresponds, which consequently is not the fleshly body of the gluttons themselves, but the prepared flesh which they consume at their luxurious banquets. The lxx incorrectly as to the word, but not contrary to the sense, "be no wine-bibber, and stretch not thyself after picknicks (συμβολαῖς), and buying in of flesh (κρεῶν τε ἀγορασμοῖς)," whereby זללי is translated in the sense of the Aram. זבני (Lagarde). זלל denotes, intransitively, to be little valued (whence זולל, opp. יקר, Jeremiah 15:19), transitively to value little, and as such to squander, to lavish prodigally; thus: qui prodigi sunt carnis sibi; למו is dat. commodi. Otherwise Gesenius, Fleischer, Umbreit, and Ewald: qui prodigi sunt carnis suae, who destroy their own body; but the parallelism shows that flesh is meant wherewith they feed themselves, not their own flesh (בּשׂר למו, like חמת־למו, Psalm 58:5), which, i.e., its health, they squander. זולל also, in phrase used in Deuteronomy 21:20 (cf. with Hitzig the formula φάγος καὶ οἰνοπότης, Matthew 11:19), denotes not the dissolute person, as the sensualist, πορνοκόπος (lxx), but the συμβολοκόπος (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion), κρεωβόρος (Venet.), זלל בּסר (Onkelos), i.e., flesh-eater, ravenous person, glutton, in which sense it is rendered here, by the Syr. and Targ., by אסוט (אסיט), i.e., ἄσωτος. Regarding the metaplastic fut. Niph. יוּרשׁ (lxx πτωχεύσει), vid., at Proverbs 20:13, cf. Proverbs 11:25. נוּמה (after the form of בּוּשׁה, דּוּגה, צוּרה) is drowsiness, lethargy, long sleeping, which necessarily follows a life of riot and revelry. Such a slothful person comes to a bit of bread (Proverbs 21:17); and the disinclination and unfitness for work, resulting from night revelry, brings it about that at last he must clothe himself in miserable rags. The rags are called קרע and ῥάκος, from the rending (tearing), Arab. ruk'at, from the patching, mending. Lagarde, more at large, treats of this word here used for rags.

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