Proverbs 6:26
For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
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6:20-35 The word of God has something to say to us upon all occasions. Let not faithful reproofs ever make us uneasy. When we consider how much this sin abounds, how heinous adultery is in its own nature, of what evil consequence it is, and how certainly it destroys the spiritual life in the soul, we shall not wonder that the cautions against it are so often repeated. Let us notice the subjects of this chapter. Let us remember Him who willingly became our Surety, when we were strangers and enemies. And shall Christians, who have such prospects, motives, and examples, be slothful and careless? Shall we neglect what is pleasing to God, and what he will graciously reward? May we closely watch every sense by which poison can enter our minds or affections.The two forms of evil bring, each of them, their own penalty. By the one a man is brought to such poverty as to beg for "a piece of bread" (compare 1 Samuel 2:36): by the other and more deadly sin he incurs a peril which may affect his life. The second clause is very abrupt and emphatic in the original; "but as for a man's wife; she hunts for the precious life." 26. The supplied words give a better sense than the old version: "The price of a whore is a piece of bread."

adulteress—(Compare Margin), which the parallel and context (Pr 6:29-35) sustain. Of similar results of this sin, compare Pr 5:9-12.

will hunt—alluding to the snares spread by harlots (compare Pr 7:6-8).

precious life—more valuable than all else.

To a piece of bread; to extreme poverty, so as to want and be forced to beg his bread. Hunt for the precious life; to take away a man’s life; either by consuming his body and spirits, and so shortening his days; or more directly and strictly, when she hath any great provocation to it, or any prospect of considerable advantage by it. Or, for the precious soul, which she corrupteth and destroyeth. But I prefer the former sense. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread,.... To be glad of one, and to beg for one, for the least morsel; it is expressive of the extreme poverty and want which harlots bring men to, who strip them of all their substance, and then send them going to get their bread as they can; thus the prodigal, having spent his substance with harlots, was so reduced as to desire the husks which swine ate, Luke 15:13; so spiritual fornication or idolatry leaves men without bread for their souls, brings them into spiritual poverty, and even to desperation and death;

and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life; or "soul" (n); not content with his precious substance, his jewels, his gold and silver; having stripped him of his goods and livelihood, though some think that is here intended; she lays snares for him, and draws him into those evils which bring him into the hands of her husband, who avenges himself by slaying the adulterer; or into the hands of the civil magistrate, by whom this sin of adultery was punished with death; nay, is the occasion of the ruin of his precious and immortal soul to all eternity: the precious souls of men are part of the wares of antichrist, Revelation 18:13.

(n) "animam", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.
26. the adulteress] Lit. a man’s wife. It is the same woman who is contemplated in both clauses of the verse, a married woman, who has become a “whorish woman.”

will hunt] Rather, hunteth, R.V. Not only substance (Proverbs 6:31) but life itself (Proverbs 6:34-35) may be the forfeit, and a more precious substance than bodily life also. “Every sin is the precursor of spiritual bankruptcy; it is setting one’s hand to a bill, which when it comes in must break the wealthiest signatory.” Horton, p. 75.Verse 26. - For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread. From this verse onwards to the end of the chapter the discourse consists of a series of arguments, each calculated to deter youth from the sins of fornication and adultery, by exhibiting the evil consequences of such indulgence. The first is the poverty and extreme beggary to which a man is brought. For by means of; Hebrew, ki v'ad. Lee gives the preposition vaad the force of "after," i.e. after associating with. The radical idea of the preposition is that of nearness, by, near, and easily passes to that of "because" (Gesenius) or "by means of," as in the Authorized Version. It is here used for per, "through," as in Joshua 2:15; 2 Samuel 20:23, and so indicates the transit through the way of fornication to extreme beggary (Gejerus). A whorish woman; Hebrew, ishshah zonah; Vulgate, scortum; LXX., πόρνη; "a harlot," here corresponding to "the adulteress" (esheth ish), since the root zonah, "to commit fornication," is attributed both to married and unmarried women (Genesis 38:24; Leo. 19:29; Hosea 3:3). The word zonah is sometimes written alone, as in Genesis 38:15 and Deuteronomy 23:19. The fuller expression, as here, occurs in Leviticus 21:7; Joshua 2:1; Judges 11:1. To a piece of bread; Hebrew, adkikkar lakhem. It will be noticed that there is an ellipsis in the Hebrew, which, however, may be easily supplied, as in the Authorized Version. Delitzsch supplies "one cometh down to;" so Zockler. "A piece of bread' is properly "a circle of bread, a small round piece of bread, such as is still baked in Italy (pagnotta) and in the East (Arabic kurs), here an expression for the smallest piece" (Fleischer). The term occurs in Exodus 29:23; 1 Samuel 2:36, in the latter of which passages it expresses the extreme destitution to which the members of the house of Eli were to be reduced. As illustrating the term, see also ch. 38:21 and Ezekiel 13:19. The LXX. and Vulgate singularly render, "For the price of a harlot is scarcely that of a bit of bread," which may mean, as Castalio, that she is of so little value; but the context is opposed to this rendering, where the Point brought out is not the vile character of the harlot as the ruin she inflicts or is the cause cf. Besides, the Hebrew ad does not mean ever "scarcely," or "hardly," which the Vulgate vix gives to it. And the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. The adulteress is isheth ish, literally, "the woman of a man," or "a man's wife," as in the margin - as, therefore, strictly an adulteress here (cf. Leviticus 20:10). Will hunt; Hebrew, thatsud; LXX., ἀγρεύει; Vulgate, capit. The Hebrew verb tsud, "to lie in wait for," "to hunt," also signifies "to take, or capture," like the Vulgate capere, The verb in its metaphorical use also occurs in Lamentations 3:52; Micah 7:2; Psalm 140:12, and refers to those beguilements resorted to by the adulteress to seduce youth. In Ezekiel 13:18 it carries with it the idea of death, and if understood in this sense here it may have reference to the death penalty inflicted on adulterer and adulteress by the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 20:10), and introduces what is said more fully in vers. 32, 34, 35. The precious life; Hebrew, nephesh y'karah The epithet y'karah is appropriately added to nephesh, as indicating the high value of the life. All is implied in the nephesh, "the life," moral dignity of character, the soul of man. It is the ever-existing part of the man, and therefore is precious - nothing can exceed it in value. Our Lord says (Matthew 16:26), "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" and the psalmist (Psalm 49:8), "For the redemption of their life is precious." But it is for this life, or soul, that the adulteress hunts, and which she destroys. Lives of fornication and adultery, therefore, carry with them the severest penalties, the loss of temporal possessions, for the enjoyment of a transient passion, and far beyond this the loss of life both temporal and eternal. We cannot imagine a more deterrent warning. After these three smaller sections, the teacher of wisdom returns here to the theme of the eighth: Warning against sins of the flesh, whose power and prevalence among men is so immeasurably great, that their terrible consequences cannot sufficiently be held up before them, particularly before youth.

20 Keep, my son, the commandment of thy father,

     And reject not the instruction of thy mother.

21 Bind them to thy heart evermore,

     Fasten them about thy neck.

The suff. -ēm refers to the good doctrine (cf. Proverbs 7:3) pointed out by מצוה and תּורה; the masc. stands, as is usual (e.g., Proverbs 1:16; Proverbs 5:2), instead of the fem. Regarding the figure, reminding us of the Tefillin and of Amuletes for perpetual representation, vid., under Proverbs 3:3. Similarly of persons, Sol 8:6. The verb ענד (only here and Job 31:36) signifies to bend, particularly to bend aside (Arab. 'ind, bending off, going aside; accus. as adv., aside, apud), and to bend up, to wind about, circumplicare.

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