Proverbs 6:32
But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding: he that does it destroys his own soul.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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." 32. lacketh understanding—or, "heart"; destitute of moral principle and prudence. Lacketh understanding; is a brutish and silly man, who madly rusheth upon these filthy courses, without any sense or consideration of the horrid shame and certain destruction which attends upon them.

Destroyeth his own soul, or life; is guilty of self-murder and of soul-murder. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman,.... Which is a greater degree of theft than the former, it being the stealing of another man's wife;

lacketh understanding; or "an heart" (t); the thief lacks bread, and therefore steals, but this man lacks wisdom, and therefore acts so foolish a part; the one does it to satisfy hunger, the other a brutish lust;

he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul; is liable to have his life taken away by the husband of the adulteress; so according to Solon's law (u) the adulterer taken in the act might be killed by the husband: or by the civil magistrate; for according to the law of. Moses he was to die, either to be strangled or stoned; see Gill on John 8:5; and besides, he not only ruins the natural faculties of his soul, besotting, corrupting, and depraving that, giving his heart to a whore, but brings eternal destruction on it; yet so foolish is he, though it issues in the ruin of his precious soul; "he does this" (w), for so the first part of this clause, which stands last in the original text, may be rendered.

(t) "deficit corde", Pagninus, Montanus; "caret corde", Mercerus, Gejerus; so Michaelis. (u) Plutarch. in Vita Solon. p. 90. (w) "ipse faeiet illud", Montanus; "ipse faciet hoc", so some in Vatablus; "is id faciet, sive facit", Cocceius; "ille facit id", Michaelis; "is patrabit illud", Schultens.

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
32. understanding] Lit. heart. See Proverbs 2:2, note.

he that doeth it destroyeth] Rather, he doeth it that would destroy.Verse 32. - But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding. The adversative "but" is wanting in the original, but is clearly demanded by the contrast which is instituted. The man who steals from hunger has a motive for so doing, but the adulterer has no such excuse for his crime, which is an unwarrantable invasion of his neighbour's rights. Because there are honest ways for satisfying his desires, he therefore "lacketh understanding." Committeth adultery with a woman; Hebrew, noeph ishshah; LXX., ὁ μοιχὸς; Vulgate, qui adulter est; i.e. an adulterer. The Hebrew naaph, "to commit adultery," is here followed by an accusative, as in Leviticus 20:10 and Jeremiah 29:23. Lacketh understanding; Hebrew, khasar-lev; deficit corde. The verb khaser is "to be devoid of anything," "to lack." The expression, which occurs again in ch. Proverbs 7:7 aud Proverbs 9:4, refers to the brutish and stupid condition to which lust has reduced him. Lust has displaced right reason. He is expers judicii (Syriac), devoid of judgment, without intelligence, senseless and stupid. In modern phraseology, he has taken leave of his senses. Both the LXX. and Vulgate have combined the two branches of this verse, the former rendering, "But the adulterer, on account of want of intelligence, compasses the loss of his life," and the latter, "But the adulterer, on account of want of intelligence, loses his life." He that doeth it destroyeth his own soul; or literally, whoso will destroy his life he will do this, i.e. adultery. So Ariae Montani, Munsterus, Chaldee Targum. The man who commits adultery is a self-murderer. The phrase, mashkith naph'sho, corrumpens animam suam, may be resolved into the concrete "a self-destroyer," as Delitzsch. The following verses seem to indicate that it is the temporal life which is referred to in nephesh, but the meaning of the term may be extended to embrace not only physical loss of life, but also moral and spiritual loss. By the Levitical Law adultery was punished by death: "The man that committeth adultery with another man's wife ... the adulterer and adulteress shall surely be put to death" (Leviticus 20:10; cf. Deuteronomy 22:22; John 8:4, 5; see also 1 Thessalonians 4:6). The proaemium of these twelve proverbial discourses is now at an end. Wisdom herself begins striking the note of the Decalogue:

25 Long not for her beauty in thy heart,

     And let her not catch thee with her eyelids;

26 Because for a harlot one cometh down to a piece of bread,

     And a man's wife lieth in wait for a precious soul.

The warning 25a is in the spirit of the "thou shalt not covet," Exodus 20:17, and the ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὑτοῦ, Matthew 5:28, of the Preacher on the Mount. The Talmudic proverb הרהודי עבירה קשו מעבירה (Joma 29a) means only that the imagination of the sinful act exhausts the body even more than the act itself. The warning, "let her not catch thee with her eyelids," refers to her (the adulteress's) coquettish ogling and amorous winking. In the reason added, beginning with כּי בעד־ (thus it is to be punctuated), there is the appositional connection אשּׁה זונה, Gesen. 113; the idea of זונה goes over into 26b. "לחם כּכּר [ equals כּרכּר, R. kr, to round, vid., at Genesis 49:5], properly a circle of bread, is a small round piece of bread, such as is still baked in Italy (pagnotta) and in the East (Arab. ḳurṣ), here an expression for the smallest piece" (Fl.). בּעד (constr. of בּעד), as Job 2:4; Isaiah 32:14, is used in the sense of ὑπέρ, pro, and with עד there is connected the idea of the coming down to this low point. Ewald, Bertheau explain after the lxx, τιμὴ γὰρ πόρνης ὅση καὶ ἑνὸς ἄρτου, γυνὴ δὲ ἀνδρῶν τιμίας ψυχὰς ἀγρεύει. But nothing is said here of price (reward); the parallelism is synonymous, not antithetic: he is doubly threatened with loss who enters upon such a course. The adulterer squanders his means (Proverbs 29:3) to impoverishment (vid., the mention of a loaf of bread in the description of poverty 1 Samuel 2:36), and a man's wife (but at the same time seeking converse with another) makes a prey of a precious soul; for whoever consents to adulterous converse with her, loses not perhaps his means, but certainly freedom, purity, dignity of soul, yea, his own person. צוּד comprehends - as צידון, fisher's town [Zidon], Arab. ṣyâd, hunter and fisher, show - all kinds of hunting, but in Hebr. is used only of the hunting of wild beasts. The root-meaning (cf. צדיּה) is to spy, to seize.

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