Proverbs 6:27
Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
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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." 27-29. The guilt and danger most obvious. The question implies a denial; he cannot escape burning. No more can he who burns in lust avoid destruction. Can a man take fire in his bosom,.... A whore is compared to fire, and is so called by the poets (o); and it is a saying of Pythagoras,

"it is a like thing to fall into fire and into a woman (p);''

the Hebrew words "esh", "fire", and "ishah", "a woman", have some affinity in sound; and the phrase of taking it "into the bosom" fitly expresses the impure embraces of a harlot;

and his clothes not be burned? he cannot, it is impossible; and equally vain is it to think that a man can commit whoredom and it not be known, or he not hurt by it in his name and substance, or in his body, soul, and life.

(o) Plauti Bacehides, Acts 4. Sc. 9. v. 15. "Accede ad ignem hunc", Terent. Eunuehus, Acts 1. Sc. 2. v. 5. (p) , apud Maximum, Eclog. c. 39.

{n} Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

(n) Meaning, that she will never cease till she has brought you to begging, and then seek your destruction.

Verse 27. - In this and the two following verses (28 and 29) the discourse proceeds from statement to illustration, and by examples of cause and effect the teacher shows "the moral necessity of the evil consequences of the sin of adultery" (Delitzsch). The meaning of the verses is plain enough, viz. that as it is in vain to suppose that a person's garment will not be burnt or his feet not be scorched if fire is brought near them, so it is equally inconceivable that a person indulging in adultery can escape its consequences or the retribution that follows. The two questions in vers. 27 and 28 imply a strong negative, and so prepare for the conclusion in ver. 30. Take fire. The Hebrew verb khathah signifies "to take burning or live coals from the hearth" (Placater); and hence is used here in a pregnant sense "to take from the hearth and place in" (cf. Proverbs 25:22, "For thou wilt take coals ['and heap them:' Hebrew, gekhalim khotheh] on his head"). The fuller expression is met with in Isaiah 30:14, "So that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth (lakh'toth esh miyyakud).'" The Vulgate renders by abscondere," to hide: Numquid potest homo absconders ignem; and the LXX. by ἀποδεῖν, equivalent to the Latin alligare "to tie or bind fast." Wordsworth explains "to take and heap up, as in a firepan or censer." In his bosom; Hebrew, b'kheyko; LXX., ἐν κόλπῳ; Vulgate, in sinu suo. The word kheyk is properly "an undulation" (Delitzsch). not the lap, but as in the Authorized Version here, "the bosom," and "the bosom of a garment" as in ch. 16:33; 17:23; 21:14. The answer to the question of this and the next verse is of course a decided negative, but we may note that the teacher compares adultery to a burning fire in its consequences. 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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