Proverbs 9:18
But he knows not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
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(18) The dead are there.—Comp. on Proverbs 2:18.

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.Compare the marginal reference. With this warning the long introduction closes, and the collection of separate proverbs begins. Wisdom and Folly have each spoken; the issues of each have been painted in life-like hues. The learner is left to choose. 18. (Compare Pr 2:18, 19; 7:27). Knoweth not, i.e. he doth not consider it seriously, whereby he proveth his folly. But he knoweth not that the dead are there,.... In the house of this foolish and wicked woman, into which she invites passengers to turn; the simple, that is persuaded by her, does not consider that there are none there to be his companions, but such who are dead in a moral or spiritual sense; that, though they live in pleasure, they are dead while they live. Aben Ezra refers this to "hell" in the next clause; where her guests are, and where those that are slain by her have their everlasting abode; and where the giants are, as the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions; or the mighty ones she has cast down there, as the Targum; so the word "rephaim" sometimes signifies: and some think that reference is had to the giants of the old world, that corrupted their way on earth, and brought a deluge on it; see Proverbs 7:26;

and that her guests are in the depths of hell; not only in the way to it, and on the brink of it, but in the very midst of it: there are many in hell she has invited into her house, and persuaded to turn in there, and commit fornication with her; and all that worship the beast, or commit spiritual adultery with the whore of Rome, will go down to perdition with her, and have their portion in hell fire, in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which they do not consider that are drawn into her idolatrous practices, Revelation 14:9.

But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.
18. the dead] To enter her house is to quit the land of the living, and enter the dark abode of the “shades,” Heb. Rephaim. See Proverbs 2:18, note.

hell] Heb. Sheol. See Proverbs 9:5, note, and comp. Proverbs 2:18, Proverbs 7:27.

The LXX. after their manner, expand the warning here, and repeat the figure of “waters” and the “fountain,” Proverbs 5:15-18.Verse 18. - The deluded youth is supposed to be persuaded by the seductions of Folly and to enter her house. The writer, then, in a few weighty words, shows the terrible result of this evil compliance. But he knoweth not that the dead are there (see on Proverbs 2:18 and Proverbs 7:27). There are none "there," in her house, who can be said to be living, they are rephaim, shadowy ghosts of living men, or else demons of the nether world. The Septuagint and Vulgate, with a reference to Genesis 6:4, translate γηγενεῖς and gigantes. Her guests are in the depths of hell (sheol); Septuagint, "He knows not that giants perish at her side, and he meets with a trap of hell." The terrible warning may profitably be repeated more than once, It is like Christ's awful saying, three times enunciated, "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44, 46, 48). The LXX. has another paragraph at the end of this verse, which has no counterpart in the Hebrew: "But start away, delay not in the place, nor put thy name ['eye,' al.] by her; for thus shalt thou pass over (διαβήσῃ) strange water; but abstain thou from strange water, and of a strange spring drink not, that thou mayest live long, and years of life may be added to thee."

This wisdom, resting on the fear of God, is itself a blessing to the wise:

"If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself;

And if thou mockest, thou alone shalt bear it."

The lxx, with the Syr., mangle the thought of 12a, for they translate: if thou art wise for thyself, so also thou wilt be wise for thy neighbour. The dat. commodi לך means that it is for the personal advantage of the wise to be wise. The contrast expressed by Job 22:2.: not profitable to God, but to thyself (Hitzig), is scarcely intended, although, so far as the accentuation is antithetic, it is the nearest. The perf. ולצתּ is the hypothetical; Gesen. 126, 1. To bear anything, viz., anything sinful (חטא or עון), is equivalent to, to atone for it, Job 34:2, cf. Numbers 9:13; Ezekiel 23:35. Also 12b is a contrast scarcely aimed at. Wisdom is its own profit to man; libertinism is its own disgrace. Man decides, whenever he prefers to be wise, or to be a mocker of religion and of virtue, regarding his own weal and woe. With this nota bene the discourse of Wisdom closes.

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