Proverbs 5:3
Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil,
Caution Against Sexual SinsProverbs 5:1-14
Meretricious Pleasures and Their ResultsE. Johnson Proverbs 5:1-14
Victims of ViceW. Clarkson Proverbs 5:1-20
A Beautiful HellJohn Robertson.Proverbs 5:3-5
A Strange WomanAnon.Proverbs 5:3-5
Evil CompanionshipJ. Hamilton, D. D.Proverbs 5:3-5
The Consequences of ProfligacyT. Binney.Proverbs 5:3-5

I. GENERAL ADMONITION. (Vers. 1-3.) Similar prefaces to warnings against unchastity are found in Proverbs 6:20, etc.; Proverbs 7:1, etc. The same forms of iteration for the sake of urgency are observed. A fresh expression is, "That thy lips may keep insight." That is, let the lessons of wisdom be oft conned over; to keep them on the lips is to "get them by heart." "Consideration" (ver. 2), circumspection, forethought, are peculiarly needed in facing a temptation which wears a fascinating form, and which must be viewed in results, if its pernicious quality is to be understood.

II. THE FASCINATION OF THE HARLOT. (Ver. 3; comp. Proverbs 2:16.) Her lips are honeyed with compliments and flattery (comp. Song of Solomon 4:11). Her voice is smoother than oil. A temptation has no power unless it is directed to some weakness in the subject of it, as the spark goes out in the absence of tinder. The harlot's power to seduce lies mainly in that weakest of weaknesses, vanity - at least, in many cases. It is a power in general over the senses and the imagination. And it is the part of the teacher to disabuse these of their illusions. In the word "meretricious" (from the Latin word for "harlot"), applied to spurious art, we have a witness in language to the hollowness of her attractions.

III. THE RESULTS OF VICIOUS PLEASURES. (Vers. 4-6.) They are described in images full of expression.

1. As bitter like wormwood, which has a bitter, salt taste, and is regarded in the East in the light of poison. Or "like Dead Sea fruits, which tempt the taste, and turn to ashes on the lips."

2. As of acute pain, under the image of a sword, smooth on the surface, with a keen double edge to wound.

3. As fatal. The harlot beckons her guests as it were down the deathful way, to sheol, to Hades, the kingdom of the dead.

4. They have no good result. Ver. 6, correctly rendered, says, "She measures not the path of life; her tracks are roving, she knows not whither." The picture of a life which can give no account of itself, cannot justify itself to reason, and comes to a brutish end.

IV. THE REMOTER CONSEQUENCES OF VICE. (Vers. 7-13.) A gloomy vista opens, in prospect of which the warning is urgently renewed (vers. 7, 8).

1. The exposure of the detected adulterer. (Ver. 9.) He exchanges honour and repute for public shame, loses his life at the hands of the outraged husband, or becomes his slave (comp. Proverbs 6:34).

2. The loss of property. (Ver. 10.) The punishment of adultery under the Law was stoning (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22, sqq.). Possibly this might be commuted into the forfeiture of goods and enslavement to the injured husband.

3. Remorse. (Vers. 11-14.) Last and worst of all inflictions, from the Divine hand, immediately. In the last stage of consumption the victim of lust groans forth his unavailing sorrow. Remorse, the fearful counterpart of self-respect, is the mind turning upon itself, internal discord replacing the harmony God made. The sufferer accuses himself of hatred to light, contempt of rebuke, of disobedience to voices that were authoritative, of deafness to warning. No external condemnation is ever passed on a man which his own conscience has not previously ratified. Remorse is the last witness to Wisdom and her claims. To complete the picture, the miserable man is represented as reflecting that he all but felt into the doom of the public condemnation and the public execution (ver. 14). - J.

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb.
One outside of the true family bonds and relationships. This description has been regarded by expositors as having a double sense.

1. It is a portrait of a harlot, especially one of foreign extraction.

2. It is a representation of the allurements of unsound doctrine and corrupt worship.


1. Her vile, unclean, flattering, enticing speech.

2. Her fate: her end bitter, physical suffering, mental anguish, spiritual distress.


1. You are somebody's child; think of the old time, etc.

2. You are ruining soul and body.

3. Ruining others as well.

4. The woman that was a sinner found mercy, and there is mercy for you.


It would not be complaisance, but cowardice — it would be a sinful softness, which allowed affinity in taste to imperil your faith or your virtue. It would be the same sort of courtesy which in the equatorial forest, for the sake of its beautiful leaf, lets the liana with its strangling arms run up the plantain or the orange, and pays the forfeit in blasted boughs and total ruin. It would be the same sort of courtesy which, for fear of appearing rude and inhospitable, took into dock an infested vessel, or welcomed, not as a patient, but a guest, the plague-stricken stranger.

(J. Hamilton, D. D.)

This chapter consists of caution and warning against licentiousness — the lawless and irregular indulgence of the passions — "Youthful lusts that war against the soul." Inhumanity is the union of two opposite natures — the animal with the impulses and appetites of the brute, the spiritual with Godlike aspirations and capacities of intelligence and religion. Whatever may be the aspirations of the soul, we find there is an animal nature as really and truly "us" as the spiritual itself. In man the conjugal relation is associated with all pure ideas, and is the source and fountain of the purest joy; the family circle is the nursing-mother of all virtue. Licentiousness would subvert all these connections. The Jewish law was so framed as not to suffer any of the daughters of Israel to sink into harlotry; the text speaks of "a strange woman," because such were usually persons from the surrounding nations.

1. There is nothing so expensive as sin. How many constitutions, how many fortunes have been blasted and wasted through early subjugation to lust!

2. God urges obedience to His laws by the happiness, purity, and beauty of a well-ordered, wise, and prudent conjugal connection. The young man is surrounded by God's omniscience. If he does not ponder his ways, God will. Iniquity, and especially sins of this sort, tend to gain a fixed habit. There is nothing so utterly repulsive as the picture of one who has grown old in habits of grossness.

(T. Binney.)

Her steps take hold on hell
One memorable night, a young lad and an old Scotchman being in Paris together, found themselves in front of one of the dens of infamy; the fragrance of the spices of Araby seemed to float in the air, and the sound of music and dancing broke upon the ear. The glitter and dazzle of fairyland was at the door; and the Scotch boy said, "What is that?" The body of the friend to whom he spoke now moulders in the dust; the voice that answered is now singing praises to God on high; but the hand of that Scotchman came like a vice to the wrist of the lad who was with him, and the voice hardened to a tone that he never forgot, as he said, "Man, that is hell!" "What!" It was a new idea to the country lad. Hell with an entrance like that!— with all the colours of the rainbow; with all the flowers and beauty, and the witching scenery and attractions! I thought hell was ugly; I thought I would get the belch of sulphur at the pit's mouth; I thought harpies on infernal wing would be hovering above the pit: but here like this? Yes, I saw above the gate — and I knew French enough to know what it meant — "Nothing to pay." That was on the gate; but, though there be nothing to pay to get in, what have you to pay to get out? That is the question. Character blasted! soul lost! Mind that. Just examine your ways. Do not be taken in by the flowers and music, and the beautiful path that is at your feet this afternoon.

(John Robertson.)

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