And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Subtil of heart.—Feigning love to her husband and devotion to her lovers, yet caring for none, only to satisfy her own passions.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.
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. 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.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.
4 Say to wisdom: "Thou art my sister!"
And call understanding "Friend;"
5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman,
From the stranger who useth smooth words.
The childlike, sisterly, and friendly relationship serves also to picture forth and designate the intimate confidential relationship to natures and things which are not flesh and blood. If in Arabic the poor is called the brother of poverty, the trustworthy the brother of trustworthiness, and abu, um (אם), achu, ucht, are used in manifold ways as the expression for the interchangeable relation between two ideas; so (as also, notwithstanding Ewald, 273b, in many Hebr. proper names) that has there become national, which here, as at Job 17:14; Job 30:29, mediated by the connection of the thoughts, only first appears as a poetic venture. The figurative words of Proverbs 7:4 not merely lead us to think of wisdom as a personal existence of a higher order, but by this representation it is itself brought so near, that אם easily substitutes itself, Proverbs 2:3, in the place of אם. אחתי of Solomon's address to the bride brought home is in its connection compared with Book of Wisdom 8:2. While the ôth of אחות by no means arises from abstr. ûth, but achôth is derived from achajath, מודע (as Ruth 2:1, cf. מודעת, Proverbs 3:2), here by Mugrash מודע, properly means acquaintance, and then the person known, but not in the superficial sense in which this word and the Arab. ma'arfat are used (e.g., in the Arabic phrase quoted by Fleischer, kanna aṣḥaab ṣarna m'aaraf - nous tions amis, nous en sommes plus que de simples connaissances), but in the sense of familiar, confidential alliance. The infin. לשׁמרך does not need for its explanation some intermediate thought to be introduced: quod eo conducet tibi ut (Mich.), but connects itself immediately as the purpose: bind wisdom to thyself and thyself to wisdom thus closely that thou mayest therewith guard thyself. As for the rest, vid., Proverbs 2:16; this verse repeats itself here with the variation of one word.
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