Proverbs 5:20
And why will you, 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. כּמעט with the perf. following is equivalent to: it wanted but a little that this or that should happen, e.g., Genesis 26:10. It is now for the most part thus explained: it wanted but a little, and led astray by that wicked companionship I would have been drawn away into crime, for which I would then have been subjected to open punishment (Fl.). Ewald understands רע directly of punishment in its extreme form, stoning; and Hitzig explains כל־רע by "the totality of evil," in so far as the disgraceful death of the criminal comprehends in it all other evils that are less. But בּכל־רע means, either, into every evil, misfortune, or into every wickedness; and since רע, in contradistinction to לב (Hitzig compares Ezekiel 36:5), is a conception of a species, then the meaning is equivalent to in omni genere mali. The reference to the death-punishment of the adulteress is excluded thereby, though it cannot be denied that it might be thought of at the same time, if he who too late comes to consider his ways were distinctly designated in the preceding statements as an adulterer. But it is on the whole a question whether בכל־רע is meant of the evil which follows sin as its consequence. The usage of the language permits this, cf. 2 Samuel 16:8; Exodus 5:19; 1 Chronicles 7:23; Psalm 10:6, but no less the reference to that which is morally bad, cf. Exodus 32:22 (where Keil rightly compares with 1 John 5:19); and הייתי (for which in the first case one expected נפלתּי, I fell into, vid., Proverbs 13:17; Proverbs 17:20; Proverbs 28:14) is even more favourable to the latter reference. Also בּתוך קהל ועדה (cf. on the heaping together of synonyms under 11b), this paraphrase of the palam ac publice, with its בּתוך (cf. Psalm 111:1; 2 Chronicles 20:14), looks rather to a heightening of the moral self-accusation. He found himself in all wickedness, living and moving therein in the midst of the congregation, and thereby giving offence to it, for he took part in the external worship and in the practices of the congregation, branding himself thereby as a hypocrite. That by the one name the congregation is meant in its civil aspect, and by the other in its ecclesiastical aspect, is not to be supposed: in the congregation of the people of the revealed law, the political and the religious sides are not so distinguished. It is called without distinction קהל and עדה (from יעד). Rather we would say that קהל is the whole ecclesia, and עדה the whole of its representatives; but also the great general council bears sometimes the one name (Exodus 12:3, cf. 21) and sometimes the other (Deuteronomy 31:30, cf. 28) - the placing of them together serves thus only to strengthen the conception.
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