Proverbs 5:3
For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
V.

(3) Her mouth is smoother than oil.—The experience of David also with Ahitophel (Psalm 55:21).

Proverbs 5:3-6. For the lips of a strange woman, &c. — It concerns thee to get and to use discretion, that thou mayest be able to resist those manifold temptations to which thou art exposed; drop as a honeycomb — Her words and discourses are sweet, pleasing, and prevalent. But her end is bitter as wormwood — Her design, and the effect of that lewdness to which she entices men, are the sinner’s destruction. So that the beginning of this intercourse is not so sweet as the conclusion is bitter: after a short pleasure follows long pain, by the impairing men’s health, strength, estates, and credit, which they cannot reflect upon without trouble and vexation, remorse of conscience, and anguish of spirit, for, like a sword that cuts on both sides, she wounds both mind and body. Her feet — Her course, or manner of life, go down to death — Lead those that follow her to an untimely, shameful, and miserable end. Her steps take hold on hell — To have any, the least, converse with her, is to approach to certain, inevitable destruction. Lest thou shouldest ponder — Though thou mayest think to make a retreat in time: thou wilt be deceived, she having more arts than thou canst ever know, (winding and turning herself a thousand ways,) to keep thee from so much as deliberating about thy return to a virtuous course of life.5:1-14 Solomon cautions all young men, as his children, to abstain from fleshly lusts. Some, by the adulterous woman, here understand idolatry, false doctrine, which tends to lead astray men's minds and manners; but the direct view is to warn against seventh-commandment sins. Often these have been, and still are, Satan's method of drawing men from the worship of God into false religion. Consider how fatal the consequences; how bitter the fruit! Take it any way, it wounds. It leads to the torments of hell. The direct tendency of this sin is to the destruction of body and soul. We must carefully avoid every thing which may be a step towards it. Those who would be kept from harm, must keep out of harm's way. If we thrust ourselves into temptation we mock God when we pray, Lead us not into temptation. How many mischiefs attend this sin! It blasts the reputation; it wastes time; it ruins the estate; it is destructive to health; it will fill the mind with horror. Though thou art merry now, yet sooner or later it will bring sorrow. The convinced sinner reproaches himself, and makes no excuse for his folly. By the frequent acts of sin, the habits of it become rooted and confirmed. By a miracle of mercy true repentance may prevent the dreadful consequences of such sins; but this is not often; far more die as they have lived. What can express the case of the self-ruined sinner in the eternal world, enduring the remorse of his conscience!Smoother than oil - The same comparison is used in marginal reference to describe the treachery of a false friend. 3. (Compare Pr 2:16). Her enticing promises are deceitful. It concerns thee to get and to use discretion, that thou mayst be able to resist and repel those manifold temptations to which thou art exposed.

Drop as an honeycomb; her words and discourses are sweet, and charming, and prevalent. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb,.... "Mulsa dicta", "honey words", as is Plautus's (e) expression. The Septuagint and Arabic versions premise something here which is not in the Hebrew text,

"do not give heed to a wicked woman;''

and the Vulgate Latin version,

"to the fallacy of a woman:''

but there is no need to connect the words by such a supplement; since, as they lie, they give a reason why it was necessary to attend to wisdom and understanding, in order to act discreetly and speak knowingly; since there is so much danger of being drawn aside by a wicked woman, a lewd and adulterous one; the kisses of whose lips, her confabulations and songs, are as pleasing to the carnal senses of men as honey is sweet to the taste; she promises them a great deal of pleasure in her embraces, and in the enjoyment of her: so the poet (f) describes an agreeable voice to be sweeter than the honeycomb;

and her mouth is smoother than oil; her fair speeches, enticing words, and flattering fawning language, and amorous expressions, easily find their way and slide into the hearts of men, to prevail upon them to listen to her, and yield to her temptations. Gersom interprets this strange woman of the imaginative faculty; and Jarchi of heresy: it is applicable enough to the whore of Rome; who, by the blandishments of pomp and grandeur, and the allurements of wealth and riches, draws many into her idolatrous practices; which are spiritual adultery, signified by her golden cup, Revelation 17:4.

(e) Rudens, Acts 2. Sc. 3. v. 84. Poenulus, 1, 2. v. 112. (f) , Theocrit. Idyll. 21.

For the lips {a} of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than {b} oil:

(a) That is, a harlot who gives herself to someone other than her husband.

(b) By oil and honey he means flattering and crafty enticements.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. strange woman] See Proverbs 2:16, note.Verse 3. - The teacher enters upon the subject of his warning, and under two familiar figures - common alike to Oriental and Greek writers - describes the nature of the "strange woman's" allurements. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb. The conjunction "for" (Hebrew ki) here, like the LXX. γὰρ, states the reason why the preceding exhortation is worthy of attention. Some commentators render "although," "albeit," as corresponding with the antithetical "but" in ver. 4. The lips; siphthey, the construct case of saphah in ver. 2. The organ of speech is here used for the speech itself, like the parallel "mouth." A strange woman (zarah); i.e. the harlot. The word occurs before in Proverbs 2:16, and again inch. 5:20; 7:5; 22:14; 23. 33. She is extranea, a stranger with respect to the youth whom she would beguile, either as being of foreign extraction, or as being the wife of another man, in which capacity she is so represented in Proverbs 7:19. In this sense she would be an adulteress. St. Jerome, in Ezekiel 6, takes her as the representative of the allurements from sound doctrine, and of corrupt worship (Wordsworth). Drop as an honeycomb (nopheth tithoph nah); rather, distil honey. The Hebrew nophteth is properly a "dropping," distillatio, and so the honey flowing from the honeycombs (tsuphim). Kimchi explains it as the honey flowing from the cells before they are broken, and hence it is the pure fine virgin honey. Exactly the same phrase occurs in Song of Solomon 4:11, "Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as an honeycomb (nopheth tithoph'nah)." The only other places where we meet with the word nopheth are Psalm 24:10 (11) (there combined with tsuphim, which helps to determine its meaning) and Proverbs 24:13; Proverbs 27:7. The meaning is the same as she "flattereth with her words" of Proverbs 7:5, in which chapter the teacher gives an example of the alluring words which the strange woman uses (Proverbs 7:14-20). As honey is sweet and attractive to the taste, so in a higher degree are her words pleasant to the senses. Her mouth is smoother than oil; i.e. her words are most plausible and persuasive. The Hebrew khik is properly "the palate," though it also included the corresponding lower part of the mouth (Gesenius). It is used as the instrument or organ of speech in Proverbs 8:7, "For my mouth (khik) shall speak truth;" and in Job 31:30, "I have not suffered my mouth (khik) to sin." Under the same figure David describes the treachery of his friend in Psalm 55:22, "His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords." The תּוצאות are the point of a thing, e.g., of a boundary, from which it goes forth, and the linear course proceeding from thence. If thus the author says that the תּוצאות חיּים go out from the heart,

(Note: The correct form here is כּי־ממּנּוּ, with the Makkeph to כי.)

he therewith implies that the life has not only its fountain in the heart, but also that the direction which it takes is determined by the heart. Physically considered, the heart is the receptacle for the blood, in which the soul lives and rules; the pitcher at the blood-fountain which draws it and pours it forth; the chief vessel of the physically self-subsisting blood-life from which it goes forth, and into which it disembogues (Syst. der bib. Psychol. p. 232). What is said of the heart in the lower sense of corporeal vitality, is true in the higher sense of the intellectual soul-life. The Scripture names the heart also as the intellectual soul-centre of man, in its concrete, central unity, its dynamic activity, and its ethical determination on all sides. All the radiations of corporeal and of soul life concentrate there, and again unfold themselves from thence; all that is implied in the Hellenic and Hellenistic words νοῦς, λόγος, συνείδησις, θυμός, lies in the word καρδία; and all whereby בּשׂר (the body) and נפשׁ (the spirit, anima) are affected comes in לב into the light of consciousness (Id. p. 251). The heart is the instrument of the thinking, willing, perceiving life of the spirit; it is the seat of the knowledge of self, of the knowledge of God, of the knowledge of our relation to God, and also of the law of God impressed on our moral nature; it is the workshop of our individual spiritual and ethical form of life brought about by self-activity - the life in its higher and in its lower sense goes out from it, and receives from it the impulse of the direction which it takes; and how earnestly, therefore, must we feel ourselves admonished, how sacredly bound to preserve the heart in purity (Psalm 73:1), so that from this spring of life may go forth not mere seeming life and a caricature of life, but a true life well-pleasing to God! How we have to carry into execution this careful guarding of the heart, is shown in Proverbs 4:24 and the golden rules which follow. Mouth and lips are meant (Proverbs 4:24) as instruments of speech, and not of its utterance, but of the speech going forth from them. עקּשׁוּת, distorsio, refers to the mouth (Proverbs 6:12), when what it speaks is disfiguring and deforming, thus falsehood as the contrast of truth and love (Proverbs 2:12); and to the lips לזוּת, when that which they speak turns aside from the true and the right to side-ways and by-ways. Since the Kametz of such abstracta, as well of verbs 'ו'ע like לזוּת, Ezekiel 32:5, as of verbs 'ה'ל like גּלוּת, Isaiah 45:13, חזוּת, Isaiah 28:18, is elsewhere treated as unalterable, there lies in this לזוּת either an inconsistency of punctuation, or it is presupposed that the form לזוּת was vocalized like שׁבוּת equals שׁבית, Numbers 21:29.

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