Proverbs 23:32
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.

King James Bible
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

American Standard Version
At the last it biteth like a serpent, And stingeth like an adder.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But in the end, it will bite like a snake, and will spread abroad poison like a basilisk.

English Revised Version
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Webster's Bible Translation
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

Proverbs 23:32 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

This hexastich warns against unchastity. What, in chap. 1-9, extended discourses and representations exhibited to the youth is here repeated in miniature pictures. It is the teacher of wisdom, but by him Wisdom herself, who speaks:

26 Give me, my son, thine heart;

     And let thine eyes delight in my ways.

27 For the harlot is a deep ditch,

     And the strange woman a narrow pit.

28 Yea, she lieth in wait like a robber,

     And multiplieth the faithless among men

We have retained Luther's beautiful rendering of Proverbs 23:26,

(Note: The right punctuation of 26a is תּנה־בני לבּך, as it is found in the editions: Ven. 1615; Basel 1619; and in those of Norzi and Michaelis.)

in which this proverb, as a warning word of heavenly wisdom and of divine love, has become dear to us. It follows, as Symmachus and the Venet., the Chethı̂b תּרצנה (for תרצינה, like Exodus 2:16; Job 5:12), the stylistic appropriateness of which proceeds from Proverbs 16:7, as on the other hand the Kerı̂ תּצּרנה (cf. 1 Samuel 14:27) is supported by Proverbs 22:12, cf. Proverbs 5:2. But the correction is unnecessary, and the Chethı̂b sounds more affectionate, hence it is with right defended by Hitzig. The ways of wisdom are ways of correction, and particularly of chastity, thus placed over against "the ways of the harlot," Proverbs 7:24. Accordingly the exhortation, Proverbs 23:26, verifies itself; warning, by Proverbs 23:27, cf. Proverbs 22:14, where עמקּה was written, here as at Job 12:22, with the long vowel עמוּקה (עמקה). בּאר צרה interchanges with שׁוּחה עמוקה, and means, not the fountain of sorrow (Lwenstein), but the narrow pit. בּאר is fem. gen., Proverbs 26:21., and צר means narrow, like troit (old French, estreit), from strictus. The figure has, after Proverbs 22:14, the mouth of the harlot in view. Whoever is enticed by her syren voice falls into a deep ditch, into a pit with a narrow mouth, into which one can more easily enter than escape from. Proverbs 23:28 says that it is the artifice of the harlot which draws a man into such depth of wickedness and guilt. With אף, which, as at Judges 5:29, belongs not to היא but to the whole sentence, the picture of terror is completed. The verb חתף (whence Arab. ḥataf, death, natural death) means to snatch away. If we take חתף as abstr.: a snatching away, then it would here stand elliptically for חתף (בּעל) אישׁ, which in itself is improbable (vid., Proverbs 7:22, עכס) and also unnecessary, since, as מלך, עבד, הלך, etc. show, such abstracta can pass immediately into concreta, so that חתף thus means the person who snatches away, i.e., the street robber, latro (cf. חטף .fc(, Arab. khaṭaf, Psalm 10:9, rightly explained by Kimchi as cogn.). In 28b, תוסיף cannot mean abripit (as lxx, Theodotion, and Jerome suppose), for which the word תּספּה (תּאסף) would have been used.

(Note: The Targ. translates 28b (here free from the influence of the Peshito) in the Syro-Palestinian idiom by וצאד אבניּא שׁברי, i.e., she seizes thoughtless sons.)

But this verbal idea does not harmonize with the connection; תוסיף means, as always, addit (auget), and that here in the sense of multiplicat. The same thing may be said of בּוגדים as is said (Proverbs 11:15) of תּוקעים. Hitzig's objection, "הוסיף, to multiply, with the accusative of the person, is not at all used," is set aside by Proverbs 19:4. But we may translate: the faithless, or: the breach of faith she increases. Yet it always remains a question whether בּאדם is dependent on בוגדים, as Ecclesiastes 8:9, cf. 2 Samuel 23:3, on the verb of ruling (Hitzig), or whether, as frequently בּאדם, e.g., Psalm 78:60, it means inter homines (thus most interpreters). Uncleanness leads to faithlessness of manifold kinds: it makes not only the husband unfaithful to his wife, but also the son to his parents, the scholar to his teacher and pastor, the servant (cf. the case of Potiphar's wife) to his master. The adulteress, inasmuch as she entices now one and now another into her net, increases the number of those who are faithless towards men. But are they not, above all, faithless towards God? We are of opinion that not בוגדים, but תוסיף, has its complement in באדם, and needs it: the adulteress increases the faithless among men, she makes faithlessness of manifold kinds common in human society. According to this, also, it is accentuated; ובוגדים is placed as object by Mugrasch, and באדם is connected by Mercha with תוסיף.

Proverbs 23:32 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

at

Proverbs 5:11 And you mourn at the last, when your flesh and your body are consumed,

Isaiah 28:3,7,8 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet...

Jeremiah 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so...

Exodus 7:5,6,12 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth my hand on Egypt...

Luke 16:25,26 But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things...

Romans 6:21 What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

biteth

Ecclesiastes 10:8 He that digs a pit shall fall into it; and whoever breaks an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

Jeremiah 8:17 For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, said the LORD.

Amos 5:19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

Amos 9:3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out there...

an adder

Isaiah 59:5 They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eats of their eggs dies...

Cross References
Ephesians 5:18
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

Job 20:16
He will suck the poison of cobras; the tongue of a viper will kill him.

Psalm 91:13
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Isaiah 11:8
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

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