My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
From Solomon's observation we learn:—
I. The special perils of great cities. (1) The vastness and multitudinousness of many of our modern cities provide a secrecy which is congenial to vice. This enormously adds to the power of temptation, that you may pluck the poisonous fruit unobserved. Only keep the inward monitor quiet, and you may run undetected and unchallenged into every excess. (2) In all great towns, solicitations to vice abound as they do not elsewhere. Every passion has a tempter lying in wait for it.
II. We learn from this passage the evil of late hours. The devil, like the beast of prey, stalks forth when the sun goes down. Midnight on earth is hell's midnoon.
III. The next warning in the text is the danger of foolish company. The word "simple" means in the Book of Proverbs silly, frivolous, idle, abandoned. You could almost predict with certainty the future of one who selected such society. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but the companion of fools shall be destroyed."
IV. No man's understanding can be called thoroughly sound till it has been brought under the power of the truth as it is in Jesus. Your only security against the perils of the city, of the dark night and of evil company, is a living faith in God, a spiritual union with Christ.
J. Thain Davidson, The City Youth, p. 3.
References: Proverbs 8:4.—R. M. McCheyne, Memoir and Remains, p. 325. Proverbs 8:10.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 197. Proverbs 8:11.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xi., p. 86. Proverbs 8:12.—A. Mursell, Christian World Pulpit, p. 406. Proverbs 8:13.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 200.
Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.