My son, attend to my wisdom, and bow your ear to my understanding:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.Proverbs 2:16.
Pr 5:1-23. A warning against the seductive arts of wicked women, enforced by considering the advantages of chastity, and the miserable end of the wicked.
1. This connection of wisdom and understanding is frequent (Pr 2:2; 3:7); the first denotes the use of wise means for wise ends; the other, the exercise of a proper discrimination in their discovery.An exhortation to the study of wisdom, Proverbs 5:1,2. To shun the company of strange women, Proverbs 5:3-5. The mischief of whoredom and riots, Proverbs 5:14. In a married estate exhorted to chastity in that state, and to rejoice with the wife of his youth, Proverbs 5:15-19. God’s pondering our ways an argument to close with the exhortation, Proverbs 5:20,21. The miserable end of the wicked, Proverbs 5:22,23.
and bow thine ear to my understanding: listen attentively to those things which I have, and give an understanding of, even things divine and spiritual; the understanding of which is of the utmost moment and importance.My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Proverbs 5:1-23
The subject of this chapter, of which the seventh commandment might be the title, is one throughout. Against the unholy passion to be shunned (Proverbs 5:1-14) is set the holy love to be cherished (Proverbs 5:15-23).
1. bow] Rather, incline, R.V., because the same Heb. word is so rendered Proverbs 4:20.Verses 1-23. - 8. Eighth admonitory discourse. Warning against adultery, and commendation of marriage. The teacher, in this discourse, recurs to a subject which he has glanced at before in Proverbs 2:15-19, and which he again treats of in the latter part of the sixth and in the whole of the seventh chapters. This constant recurrence to the same subject, repulsive on account of its associations, shows, however, the importance which it had in the teacher's estimation as a ground of warning, and that he ranked it among the foremost of the temptations and sins which called the young off from the pursuit of Wisdom, and so led them astray from "the fear of the Lord." The vividness with which the ruin, bodily and moral, ensuing with absolute certainty on a life of vice, is described is a sufficient proof in itself that the subject before us is not brought forward from or for voluptuous motives, but for the purpose of conveying an impressive warning. Some commentators, e.g. Delitzsch, include the first six verses in the previous discourse; but the unity of the subject requires a different treatment. Zockler's reason against this arrangement, on the ground that the previous discourse was addressed to "tender youth," and thus to youth in a state of pupilage, while the one before us refers to more advanced age - to the married man - may be true, but is not the true ground for incorporating them in the present discourse. The unity of the subject requires that they should be taken with the central and didactic part of the discourse, as being in a sense introductory to it. The discourse divides itself into three sections.
(1) The earnest appeal to attention because of the counter-attraction in the blandishments of the harlot, which, however, in the end, are bitter as wormwood and sharp as a two-edged sword (vers. 1-6).
(2) The main or didactic section (vers. 7-20), embracing
(a) warnings against adulterous intercourse with "the strange woman" (vers. 7-14);
(b) the antithetical admonition to use the means of chastity by remaining faithful to, and rejoicing with, the wife of one's youth (vers 15-20). And
(3) the epilogue, which, in addition to the disastrous temporal consequences which follow on the violation of the sanctity of marriage, mentioned in vers. 9-14, represents the sin as one which will be examined by the universal Judge, and which brings with it its own Nemesis or retribution. All sins of impurity, all sins against temperance, soberness, and chastity, are no doubt involved in the warning, and the subject is capable of an allegorical interpretation - a mode of treatment in some instances adopted by the LXX. rendering, as that the "strange woman" stands as the representative of impenitence (Miller), or, according to the earlier view of Bede, as the representative of heresy and false doctrine; but the sin which is inveighed against, and which is made the subject of these repeated warnings, is not fornication simply, but adultery - the violation, in its most repulsive form, of the sacred obligations of marriage. The whole discourse is an impressive commentary on the seventh commandment. Verse 1. - The admonitory address is very similar to that in Proverbs 4:20, except that here the teacher says," Attend to my wisdom, bow down thine ear to my understanding," instead of "Attend to my words, and incline thine ear unto my saying." It is not merely "wisdom" and "understanding" in the abstract, but wisdom which he has appropriated to himself, made his own, and which he knows by experience to be true wisdom. It may therefore have the sense of experience and observation, both of which increase with years. To "bow down the ear" is to listen attentively, and so to fix the mind intently on what is being said. Compare the similar expressions in Psalm 31:2 and Proverbs 2:2; Proverbs 4:20; 33:12. The same idea is expressed in Mare Antony's address to his countrymen, "Lend me your ears" (Shakespeare, 'Julius Caesar,' act 3. sc. 2).
20 My son, attend unto my words,
Incline thine ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes;
Keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life to all who get possession of them,
And health to their whole body.
Regarding the Hiph. הלּין (for הלין), Proverbs 4:21, formed after the Chaldee manner like הלּין, הנּיח, הסּיג, vid., Gesenius, 72, 9; - Ewald, 114, c, gives to it the meaning of "to mock," for he interchanges it with הלין, instead of the meaning to take away, efficere ut recedat (cf. under Proverbs 2:15). This supposed causative meaning it has also here: may they equals may one (vid., under Proverbs 2:22) not remove them from thine eyes; the object is (Proverbs 4:20) the words of the paternal admonition. Hitzig, indeed, observes that "the accusative is not supplied;" but with greater right it is to be remarked that ילּיזוּ (fut. Hiph. of לוּז) and ילוּזוּ (fut. Kal of id.) are not one and the same, and the less so as הלּיז occurs, but the masoretical and grammatical authorities (e.g., Kimchi) demand ילּיזוּ. The plur. למצאיהם is continued, 22b, in the sing., for that which is said refers to each one of the many (Proverbs 3:18, Proverbs 3:28, Proverbs 3:35). מצא is fundamentally an active conception, like our "finden," to find; it means to attain, to produce, to procure, etc. מרפּא means, according as the מ is understood of the "that equals ut" of the action or of the "what" of its performance, either health or the means of health; here, like רפאוּת, Proverbs 3:8, not with the underlying conception of sickness, but of the fluctuations connected with the bodily life of man, which make needful not only a continual strengthening of it, but also its being again and again restored. Nothing preserves soul and body in a healthier state than when we always keep before our eyes and carry in our hearts the good doctrines; they give to us true guidance on the way of life: "Godliness has the promise of this life, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8.
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