Proverbs 9:16
Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
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(16) Whoso is simple . . .—She imitates Wisdom closely in her address: Satan, too, transforms himself into an “angel of light” (2Corinthians 11:14). Folly attracts those undecided characters who are in the right track, but have not the constancy to persevere in it; who, “in time of temptation, fall away.”

Proverbs 9:16-18. Whoso is simple — Which title is not given to them by her; for such a reproach would not have allured them, but driven them away; but by Solomon, who represents the matter of her invitation in his own words, that he might discover the truth of it, and thereby dissuade and deter those whom she invited. Stolen waters are sweet — A proverbial expression for unlawful pleasures, which are said to be sweet, partly from the difficulty of obtaining them, and partly because the very prohibition renders them more agreeable to man’s corrupt nature. But he knoweth not — He doth not consider it seriously, (whereby he proves his folly,) that the dead are there — The dead in sin, the spiritually dead, and those who are in the high road to be eternally dead. In other words, she invites him to his utter ruin, both of soul and body: for her guests are in the depths of hell — She sinks all those who accept of her invitation down to the very bottom of that pit from whence there is no redemption. “One of the profitable lessons to be learned from this chapter is, that there is nothing more inconsistent with wisdom than the service of those impure lusts which have been the ruin of all those who have been led by them; and therefore with this the wise man concludes his preface to the book of Proverbs, again repeating, Proverbs 9:10, that first principle on which all religion is built, and wherewith he began this preface, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Indeed there is no true wisdom but religion.”

9:13-18 How diligent the tempter is, to seduce unwary souls into sin! Carnal, sensual pleasure, stupifies conscience, and puts out the sparks of conviction. This tempter has no solid reason to offer; and where she gets dominion in a soul, all knowledge of holy things is lost and forgotten. She is very violent and pressing. We need to seek and pray for true wisdom, for Satan has many ways to withdraw our souls from Christ. Not only worldly lusts and abandoned seducers prove fatal to the souls of men; but false teachers, with doctrines that flatter pride and give liberty to lusts, destroy thousands. They especially draw off such as have received only partial serious impressions. The depths of Satan are depths of hell; and sin, without remorse, is ruin, ruin without remedy. Solomon shows the hook; those that believe him, will not meddle with the bait. Behold the wretched, empty, unsatisfying, deceitful, and stolen pleasure sin proposes; and may our souls be so desirous of the everlasting enjoyment of Christ, that on earth we may live to him, daily, by faith, and ere long be with him in glory.Contrast with Proverbs 9:1, etc. The foolish woman has her house, but it is no stately palace with seven pillars, like the home of Wisdom. No train of maidens wait on her, and invite her guests, but she herself sits at the door, her position as prominent as that of Wisdom, counterfeiting her voice, making the same offer to the same class (compare Proverbs 9:16 with Proverbs 9:4). 15, 16. to allure those who are right-minded, and who are addressed as in Pr 9:4, as

simple—that is, easily led (Pr 1:4) and unsettled, though willing to do right.

Simple; which title is not given to them by her, for such a reproach would not have allured them, but driven them away; but by Solomon, who represents the matter of her invitation in his own words, that he might discover the truth of the business, and thereby dissuade and deter those whom she invited.

Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither,.... The harlot's house, Popish chapels and churches. She uses the same form of words that Wisdom does, Proverbs 9:4; having a form of godliness, a show of religion, but without the power of it; her priests are wolves in sheep's clothing, and speak lies in hypocrisy: and such that she fixes upon as proper persons to work on are the simple, the credulous and unwary; who are not on their guard, and are easily persuaded and imposed on;

and as for him that wanteth understanding; is not well grounded in the principles of Christianity he professes; has not a spiritual and experimental understanding of them:

she saith to him; addresses him in such language as follows:

Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
Verses 16, 17. - These verses contain the invitation which Vice, in imitation of Virtue, and assuming her voice and manner, offers to the wayfarers. Verse 16. - Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither. She uses the very same words which Wisdom utters (ver. 4). The latter had addressed the simple because they were inexperienced and undecided, and might be guided aright; the former now speaks to them because they have not vet made their final choice, can still be swayed by lower considerations, and may be led astray. Such persons find it hard to distinguish between the good and the evil, the false and the true, especially when their sensual appetite is aroused and sides with the temptress. No marvel is it that such are easily deceived; for we are told that, under certain circumstances, Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). That wanteth understanding. This is the other class addressed by Wisdom, and which Folly now solicits, urging them to follow her on the path of pleasure, promising sensual enjoyment and security. Proverbs 9:16The woman, who in her own person serves as a sign to her house, addresses those who pass by in their innocence (לתמּם, 2 Samuel 15:11):

16 "Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither!"

     And if any one is devoid of understanding, she saith to him:

17 "Stolen waters taste sweet,

     And the bread of secrecy is pleasant."

פּתי (folly, simplicity) has a side accessible to good and its contrary: Wisdom is connected with the one side, and Folly with the other. And as the חסר־לב offers a vacuum to Wisdom which may perhaps be filled with the right contents, so is this vacuum welcome to Folly, because it meets there no resistance. In this sense, Proverbs 9:16 is like Proverbs 9:4 (excepting the addition of a connecting and of a concluding ו: et si quis excors, tum dicit ei); the word is the same in both, but the meaning, according to the two speakers, is different. That to which they both invite is the pleasure of her fellowship, under the symbol of eating and drinking; in the one case it is intellectual and spiritual enjoyment, in the other sensual. That Wisdom offers (Proverbs 9:5) bread and wine, and Folly water and bread, has its reason in this, that the particular pleasure to which the latter invites is of a sensual kind; for to drink water out of his own or out of another fountain is (Proverbs 3:15-20) the symbol of intercourse in married life, or of intercourse between the unmarried, particularly of adulterous intercourse. מים גּנוּבים (correct texts have it thus, without the Makkeph) is sexual intercourse which is stolen from him who has a right thereto, thus carnal intercourse with אושׁת אישׁ; and לחם סתרים fleshly lust, which, because it is contrary to the law, must seek (cf. furtum, secret love intrigue) concealment (סתרים, extensive plur., as מעמקּים; Bttcher, 694). Just such pleasure, after which one wipes his mouth as if he had done nothing (Proverbs 30:20), is for men who are without wisdom sweet (מתק, Job 20:12) and pleasant; the prohibition of it gives to such pleasure attraction, and the secrecy adds seasoning; and just such enjoyments the כסילות, personified carnality, offers. But woe to him who, befooled, enters her house!

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