Proverbs 5:6
Lest you should ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that you can not know them.
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(6) Lest thou shouldest ponder . . .—The meaning of the English version appears to be, “To prevent thy choosing the path of life, she leads thee by devious paths that thou knowest not where thou art.” It may also be rendered, “Far from smoothing for herself the path of life, her steps wander without her observing it.” By these words is described the reckless career of a vicious woman, who at last dares not think whither her steps are leading her, but as it were with eyes shut, totters on till she falls to rise no more.

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!Or (with the Septuagint and Vulgate), Lest she should ponder (or "She ponders not") the way of life, her paths move to and fro (unsteady as an earthquake); she knows not. The words describe with a terrible vividness the state of heart and soul which prostitution brings upon its victims; the reckless blindness that will not think, tottering on the abyss, yet loud in its defiant mirth, ignoring the dreadful future. 6. her ways … know—Some prefer, "that she may not ponder the path of life," &c.; but perhaps a better sense is, "her ways are varied, so as to prevent your knowledge of her true character, and so of true happiness." Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, to prevent thy serious consideration of the way and manner of rescuing thyself from this deadly course of life.

Movable; various and changeable. She transforms herself into several shapes, to accommodate herself to the humours of her lovers, and hath a thousand arts and deceits to ensnare them, and hold them fast.

Thou canst not know them; thou canst not discover all her subtle practices, and much less deliver thyself from them. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life,.... Consider and meditate which is the way to get out of her hands and ways, and escape death, and obtain eternal life; lest those she has drawn into her wicked course of life should be religiously inclined, and think of quitting such a course, and inquire after the way of life and salvation; and be weighing in their minds which is most eligible, to continue with her whose feet lead to death, or to take the path of life: to prevent all this, if possible,

her ways are movable: she appears in different shapes; changes her dress and habitation; makes use of a thousand arts to ensnare men, to entangle their affections, and retain them in her nets; she first puts them upon one thing, and then on another; she leads them into various mazes and labyrinths of sin, till they have lost all sense of religion, and sight of the path of life;

that thou canst not know them; her ways, arts, and devices. Or, "thou canst not know" (k); that is, the way of life, or how to get out of her ways into that. Or, "thou knowest not"; where she goes, whither she leads thee, and what will be the end and issue of such a course of life. The Targum understands it, and so some other interpreters, of the harlot herself, paraphrasing the whole thus;

"in the way of life she walks not; her ways are unstable, and she knows not''

the way of life, nor where her ways will end; or, "cares not" (l) what becomes of her. And so, in like manner, the former part of the verse is understood and interpreted, "lest she ponder the path of life" (m); or as others, "she does not ponder the path of life" (n); The ways of the antichristian harlot are with all deceivableness of unrighteousness; and her chief care is to keep persons in ignorance, and from pondering the path of life or true religion, and to retain them in her idolatry, 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

(k) "non scires", Cocceius; "non cognosces", Baynus. (l) "Haud curat", Schultens. (m) "iter vitae ne forte libraverit", Schultens. (n) "Viam vitae non appendit, vel ponderat", Gejerus; so Luther; "iter vitae non expandit", Noldius, p. 249. No. 2008.

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are {d} moveable, that thou canst not know them.

(d) She has always new means to allure to wickedness.

6. Lest thou shouldest ponder] The rendering of A.V. or of R.V. marg. (Lest thou find the level path, or, Lest thou weigh carefully the path) is to be preferred to R.V. text which connects the words with the preceding verse and makes them refer to the strange woman: so that she findeth not the level path of life. Having described in Proverbs 5:5 the end to which her ways lead, the wise Teacher in this verse unveils the artful versatility with which she allures her victims from the plain path of life, and keeps them from the reflection which might lead them to return to it.

thou canst not know them] So R.V. marg., but R.V. text, making the strange woman still the subject, she knoweth it not, Comp. Psalm 35:8, where the same Heb. expression is rendered “at unawares.” See for the sentiment ch. Proverbs 7:22-23.Verse 6. - Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are movable, that thou canst not know them. This verse should be rather rendered, she walks not in the path of life, her ways fiuctuate, she knows not. It consists of a series of independent proposiyions or statements, all of which are descriptive of the singularly fatuous conduct of "the strange woman." In the previous verse the teacher has said that her conduct leads to ruin; he here further emphasizes the idea by putting forward the same truth from the opposite, or, as we may say, from the negative point of view, and so completes the picture. "The words," as Plumptre remarks, "describe with terrible vividness the state of heart and soul which prostitution brings on its victims." Her course is one o(persistent, wilful, headstrong, blind folly and wickedness. Lest; pen; here "not," equivalent to לא (lo). So the LXX., Vulgate, Targum, Syriac. The use of pen, in this sense is, however, unique (Gesenius). Delitzsch and Zockler, following Luther, Geier, Holden, etc., assign to it an emphatic negative force, as, "She is far removed from entering," or, "she never treadeth." Others take pen as a dependent prohibitive particle, equivalent to the Latin ne forte, "lest," as in the Authorized Version, and employed to connect the sentence which it introduces either with the preceding verse (as Schultens) or with the second hemistich, on which it is made dependent (Holden, Wordsworth, Aben Ezra, loc., Michaelis, etc.). Thou shouldest ponder; t'phalles, connected by makkeph with pen, as usual (Lee), is either second person masculine or third person feminine. The latter is required here, the subject of the sentence being "the strange woman," as appears clearly from the second hemistich, "her ways," etc. The verb patas (cf. Proverbs 14:26) here means "to prepare," i.e. to walk in, or to travel over. Thus Gesenius renders, "She (the adulteress) prepareth not (for herself) the way of life:" i.e. she does not walk in the way of life; cf. the LXX. εἰσέρχεται, Vulgate ambulant (sc. gressus ejus), and other ancient versions, all of which understand the verb in this sense. The meaning of the phrase, pen t'phalles, is, therefore, "she walks not" in the way of life - the way that has life for its object, and which in itself is full of life and safety. Far from doing this, the teacher goes on to say, her ways are movable; literally, go to and fro, or fluctuate; i.e. they wilfully stagger hither and thither, like the steps of a drunkard, or like the uncertain steps of the blind, for the verb nua is so used in the former sense in Isaiah 24:20; Isaiah 29:9; Psalm 107:27; and in the latter in Lamentations 4:14. Her steps are slippery (LXX., σφαλέραι), or wander (Vulgate, vagi); they are without any definite aim; she is always straying in the vagrancy of sin (Wordsworth); cf. Proverbs 7:12. That thou canst not know them (lo theda); literally, she knows not. The elliptical form of this sentence in the original leaves it open to various interpretations. It seems to refer to the way of life; she knows not the way of life, i.e. she does not regard or perceive the way of life. The verb yada often has this meaning. The meaning may be obtained by supplying mah, equivalent to quicquam, "anything," as in Proverbs 9:13, "She knows not anything," i.e. she knows nothing. The objection to this is that it travels unnecessarily out of the sentence to find the object which ought rather to be supplied from the context. The object may possibly be the staggering of her feet: she staggers hither and thither without her perceiving it (Delitzsch); or it may, lastly, be indefinite: she knows not whittler her steps conduct her (Wordsworth and Zockler). In closest connection with the preceding, 27a cautions against by-ways and indirect courses, and 27b continues it in the briefest moral expression, which is here הסר רגלך מרע instead of סוּר מרע, Proverbs 3:7, for the figure is derived from the way. The lxx has other four lines after this verse (27), which we have endeavoured to retranslate into the Hebrew (Introd. p. 47). They are by no means genuine; for while in 27a right and left are equivalent to by-ways, here the right and left side are distinguished as that of truth and its contrary; and while there [in lxx] the ὀρθὰς τροχιὰς ποιεῖν is required of man, here it is promised as the operation of God, which is no contradiction, but in this similarity of expression betrays poverty of style. Hitzig disputes also the genuineness of the Hebrew PRomans 4:27. But it continues explanatorily Proverbs 4:26, and is related to it, yet not as a gloss, and in the general relation of 26 and 27a there comes a word, certainly not unwelcome, such as 27b, which impresses the moral stamp on these thoughts. That with Proverbs 4:27 the admonition of his father, which the poet, placing himself back into the period of his youth, reproduces, is not yet concluded, the resumption of the address בּני, Proverbs 5:1, makes evident; while on the other hand the address בּנים in Proverbs 5:7 shows that at that point there is advance made from the recollections of his father's house to conclusions therefrom, for the circle of young men by whom the poet conceives himself to be surrounded. That in Proverbs 5:7. a subject of the warning with which the seventh address closes is retained and further prosecuted, does not in the connection of all these addresses contradict the opinion that with Proverbs 5:7 a new address begins. But the opinion that the warning against adultery does not agree (Zckler) with the designation רך, Proverbs 4:3, given to him to whom it is addressed, is refuted by 1 Chronicles 22:5; 2 Chronicles 13:7.
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