Proverbs 7:10
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Subtil of heart.—Feigning love to her husband and devotion to her lovers, yet caring for none, only to satisfy her own passions.

7:6-27 Here is an affecting example of the danger of youthful lusts. It is a history or a parable of the most instructive kind. Will any one dare to venture on temptations that lead to impurity, after Solomon has set before his eyes in so lively and plain a manner, the danger of even going near them? Then is he as the man who would dance on the edge of a lofty rock, when he has just seen another fall headlong from the same place. The misery of self-ruined sinners began in disregard to God's blessed commands. We ought daily to pray that we may be kept from running into temptation, else we invite the enemies of our souls to spread snares for us. Ever avoid the neighbourhood of vice. Beware of sins which are said to be pleasant sins. They are the more dangerous, because they most easily gain the heart, and close it against repentance. Do nothing till thou hast well considered the end of it. Were a man to live as long as Methuselah, and to spend all his days in the highest delights sin can offer, one hour of the anguish and tribulation that must follow, would far outweigh them.Simple - In the bad sense of the word (Proverbs 1:22 note); "open" to all impressions of evil, empty-headed and empty-hearted; lounging near the house of ill-repute, not as yet deliberately purposing to sin, but placing himself in the way of it at a time when the pure in heart would seek their home. There is a certain symbolic meaning in the picture of the gathering gloom Proverbs 7:9. Night is falling over the young man's life as the shadows deepen. 10. attire—that of harlots was sometimes peculiar.

subtile—or, "wary," "cunning."

With the attire of an harlot; with a habit and carriage agreeable to her quality and design.

Subtle, or wary, or reserved, as she showed in her following discourse; wherein she proposeth all things which might invite him, and conceals whatsoever might discourage him.

And, behold, there met him a woman,.... A married woman, and an adulteress, as the following account of her shows; as soon as ever she discerned the young man before described, who she knew, by his air, walk, and dress, was a fit person for her turn, she at once set out from her house, or the corner where she stood, and met him; she did not wait till he came up and made his suit to her, but she went out, and first attacked him; wherefore the word "behold" is prefixed as a note of admiration at the impudence of the woman, and as a note of attention to observe the consequence of this affair. This woman represents the woman on a scarlet-coloured beast, the mother of harlots, who, though she pretends to be the spouse of Christ, is an arrant whore, Revelation 17:3;

with the attire of a harlot; not with her face veiled, as Tamar was, Genesis 38:14; for though that might be the sign of a harlot in the daytime, yet not in the night, as this was; rather with showy gaudy garments, such as the Athenian whores wore, or short ones, as the Romans; the word signifies one fitted to her body, neat and well shaped, to recommend her: so the woman, the whore of Rome, is said to be arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls; signifying the outward pomp and splendour of the Romish religion, designed to captivate weak and unwary minds; see Gill on Revelation 17:4;

and subtle of heart; mistress of all artful and intriguing methods to seduce and ensnare (g); or, "reserved of heart" (h), cautious and wary what she said, told everything that was encouraging, but kept back what was discouraging; or she kept her own heart to herself, while she stole the hearts of others; so the Targum renders it,

"which takes away the hearts of young men;''

and to the same purpose are the versions of the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic: the subtlety of the popes, priests, jesuits, and other emissaries of Rome, to deceive the hearts of the simple, is well known; the coming of antichrist was after the working of Satan, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

(g) "Fallendique vias mille ministret amor", Tibullus ad Junonem, 6. v. 12. (h) "cauta corde", Tigurine version, Mercerus: Gejerus; "retento corde", Cocceius.

And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. attire of a harlot] Comp. Genesis 38:14; Ezekiel 16:16; Ezekiel 16:25; Bar 6:43.

subtil] Lit. hidden, or kept close, and so, subtil, or wily, because she keeps such strict watch over her heart as not to allow its true motives and feelings to appear.

The LXX. and Vulg. understand it to refer to her action on the hearts or passions of her victims, ἣ ποιεῖ νέων ἐξίπτασθαι καρδίας, præparata ad capiendas animas.

Verse 10. - And, behold, there met him a woman. His long watch is rewarded; the woman comes forth from her house into the street - a proceeding which would at once show what she was, especially in the East, where females are kept secluded, and never appear at night or unattended. With the attire of an harlot. There is no "with" in the original, "woman" and "attire" being in apposition: "There met him a woman, a harlot's dress" (shith, Psalm 73:6); her attire catches the eye at once, and identifies her (comp. Genesis 38:14). In Revelation 17:4 the harlot is "arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls;" and in the present case the female is dressed in some conspicuous garments, very different from the sober clothing of the pure and modest. Subtil of heart (נְצֻרַת לֵב); literally, of concealed heart; i.e. she hides her real feelings, feigning, perhaps, affection for a husband, or love for her paramour, while she seeks only to satisfy her evil passions. The versions have used a different reading. Thus the Septuagint: "Who makes the hearts of young men flutter (ἐζίπτασθαι);" Vulgate, praeparata ad capiendas animas, "ready to catch souls." Vers. 11 and 12 describe the character and habits of this woman, not as she appeared on this occasion, but as she is known to the writer. Proverbs 7:10Finally, the young man devoid of understanding sees his waiting rewarded: like meets like.

10 And, lo, a woman coming to meet him,

     In the attire of an harlot and of subtle heart.

11 Boisterous is she, and ungovernable;

     Her feet have no rest in her own house.

12 At one time before her door, at another in the street,

     And again at every corner she places herself on the watch.

"Pro 7:12 (Hitzig) expresses what is wont to be, instead of a single event, Proverbs 7:11, viz., the custom of a street harlot. But she who is spoken of is not such an one; lurking is not applicable to her (cf. Job 31:9), and, Proverbs 7:11, it is not meant that she is thus inclined." But Hitzig's rendering of Proverbs 7:11, "she was boisterous ... in her house her feet had no rest," is inaccurate, since neither היאו nor שׁכנוּ is used. Thus in Proverbs 7:11 and Proverbs 7:12 the poet gives a characteristic of the woman, introduced by הנּהו into the frame of his picture, which goes beyond that which then presented itself to his eyes. We must with Proverbs 7:12 reject also Proverbs 7:11; and even that would not be a radical improvement, since that characteristic lying behind the evident, that which was then evident begins with וּנצרת לב (and subtle in heart). We must thus suppose that the woman was not unknown to the observer here describing her. He describes her first as she then appeared. שׁית Hitzig regards as equivalent to שׁוית, similitude (from שׁוה), and why? Because שׁית does not mean "to lay against," but "to place." But Exodus 33:4 shows the contrary, and justifies the meaning attire, which the word also has in Psalm 73:6. Meri less suitably compares 2 Kings 9:30, but rightly explains תקון (dressing, ornament), and remarks that שׁית elliptical is equivalent to בּשׁית. It is not the nominative (Bertheau), but the accusative, as תבנית, Psalm 144:12, Ewald, 279d. How Hitzig reaches the translation of ונצרת לב by "and an arrow in her heart" (et saucia corde)

(Note: Virgil's Aeneid, iv. 1.)

one can only understand by reading his commentary. The usage of the language, Proverbs 4:23, he remarks, among other things, would stamp her as a virtuous person. As if a phrase like נצר לב could be used both sensu bono and sensu malo! One can guard his heart when he protects it carefully against moral danger, or also when he purposely conceals that which is in it. The part. נצוּר signifies, Isaiah 1:8, besieged (blockaded), Ezekiel 16:12, protected, guarded, and Isaiah 48:6; Isaiah 65:4, concealed, hidden. Ewald, 187b, refers these three significations in the two passages in Isaiah and in the passage before us to צרר, Niph. נצר (as נגל); but (1) one would then more surely take צוּר (cf. נמּול, נבכים) as the verbal stem; (2) one reaches the idea of the concealed (the hidden) easier from that of the preserved than from that of the confined. As one says in Lat. homo occultus, tectus, abstrusus, in the sense of κρυψίνους, so it is said of that woman נצרת לב, not so much in the sense of retenta cor, h.e. quae quod in corde haberet non pandebat, Fr. retenue (Cocc.), as in the sense of custodita cor, quae intentionem cordis mentemque suam callide novit premere (Mich.): she is of a hidden mind, of a concealed nature; for she feigns fidelity to her husband and flatters her paramours as her only beloved, while in truth she loves none, and each of them is to her only a means to an end, viz., to the indulgence of her worldly sensual desire. For, as the author further describes here, she is המיּה (fem. of המה equals המי, as Proverbs 1:21; Isaiah 22:2), tumultuosa, externally as internally impetuous, because full of intermingling lust and deceit (opp. ἡσύχιος, 1 Peter 3:4; 1 Timothy 2:11), and סררת, self-willed, not minding the law of duty, of discretion, or of modesty (from סרר, Arab. sharr, pervicacem, malum esse). She is the very opposite of the noiseless activity and the gentle modesty of a true house-wife, rude, stubborn, and also vagrant like a beast in its season (Hosea 4:14): in domo ipsius residere nequeunt pedes ejus; thus not οἰκουρός or οἰκουργός (Titus 2:5), far removed from the genuine woman - like εἴσω ἥσυχον μένειν δόμων

(Note: Eurip. Herac.) - a radt, as they call such a one in Arab. (Wnsche on Hosea 12:1)

or as she is called in Aram. נפקת בּרא.

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