Proverbs 5:20
And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.”

5:15-23 Lawful marriage is a means God has appointed to keep from these destructive vices. But we are not properly united, except as we attend to God's word, seeking his direction and blessing, and acting with affection. Ever remember, that though secret sins may escape the eyes of our fellow-creatures, yet a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, who not only sees, but ponders all his goings. Those who are so foolish as to choose the way of sin, are justly left of God to themselves, to go on in the way to destruction.Emphasis is laid (see the Proverbs 2:16 note) upon the origin of the beguiler. 19. loving … roe—other figures for a wife from the well-known beauty of these animals.

breasts—(Compare So 1:13; Eze 23:3, 8).

ravished—literally, "intoxicated," that is, fully satisfied.

Why wilt thou destroy and damn thyself for those delights which thou mayst enjoy without sin or danger?

And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman,.... Or "err with her" (y); after all those inconveniences and miseries that follow upon a conversation with a harlot, and all those advantages of a marriage state set before thee; why wilt thou be, so foolish and mad as to have a fondness for an harlot and dote upon her, and neglect entering into a marriage state, or forsake the wife of youth? and yet though things are so clearly stated and aptly represented, and the expostulation made in the most tender and affectionate manner; it is suggested as if after all it would not be attended unto, but a harlot be preferred to a wife of youth, a filthy beast to a loving hind, and dirty puddles of water in a ditch to running streams from a well or fountain;

and embrace the bosom of a stranger? that is not thy wife; a description of unlawful love and impure embraces, which are dissuaded from.

(y) "Errares", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "aberrares", Cocceius.

And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 20, 21. - The adulterer to be restrained by the fact of God's omniscience and the Divine punishment. Vers. 20 and 21 should apparently be taken together. The teaching assumes a higher tone, and rises from the lower law which regulates fidelity to the wife, based upon personal attractions, to the higher law, which brings the husband's conduct into relation with the duty he owes to Jehovah. Not merely is his conduct to be regulated by love and affection alone, but it is to be fashioned by the reflection or consciousness that the Supreme Being presides over all, and takes cognizance of human action. Without losing sight that the marriage contract has its own peculiar obligations, the fact is insisted upon that all a man's ways are open to the eyes of the Lord. Verse 20. - And why; i.e. what inducement is there, what reason can be given, for conjugal infidelity, except the lewd and immoral promptings of the lower nature, except sensuality in its lowest form? Ravished. The verb shagah recurs, but in a lower sense, as indicating "the foolish delirium of the libertine hastening after the harlot" (Zockler). With a strange woman (Hebrew, b'zarah); i.e. with a harlot. On zarah, see Proverbs 2:16 and Proverbs 7:5. The b' (בְּ) localizes the sources of the intoxication. Embrace (Hebrew, t'khab-bek). On this verb, see Proverbs 4:8. The bosom of a stranger (Hebrew, kheh nok'riyyah). A parallel expression having the same force as its counterpart. The more usual form of khek is kheyk, and means "the bosom" of a person. In Proverbs 16:33 it is used of the lap, and in Proverbs 17:23 and Proverbs 21:14 for the bosom or folds of a garment. Proverbs 5:20The answer to the Why? in this verse is: no reasonable cause - only beastly sensuality, only flagitious blindness can mislead thee. The ב of בזרה is, as 19b and Isaiah 28:7, that of the object through which one is betrayed into intoxication. חק (thus, according to the Masora, four times in the O.T. for חיק) properly means an incision or deepening, as Arab. hujr (from hjr, cohibere), the front of the body, the part between the arms or the female breasts, thus the bosom, Isaiah 40:11 (with the swelling part of the clothing, sinus vestis, which the Arabs call jayb), and the lap; חבּק (as Proverbs 4:8), to embrace, corresponds here more closely with the former of these meanings; also elsewhere the wife of any one is called אשת חיקו or השׁכבת בחיקו, as she who rests on his breast. The ancients, also J. H. Michaelis, interpret Proverbs 5:15-20 allegorically, but without thereby removing sensual traces from the elevated N.T. consciousness of pollution, striving against all that is fleshly; for the castum cum Sapientia conjugium would still be always represented under the figure of husband and wife dwelling together. Besides, though זרה might be, as the contrast of חכמה, the personified lust of the world and of the flesh, yet 19a is certainly not the חכמה, but a woman composed of flesh and blood. Thus the poet means the married life, not in a figurative sense, but in its reality - he designedly describes it thus attractively and purely, because it bears in itself the preservative against promiscuous fleshly lust.
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