Exhortations to wisdom. The evils of licentiousness. (1-14) Remedies against licentiousness, The miserable end of the wicked. (15-23)
Verses 1-14 Solomon cautions all young men, as his children, to abstain from fleshly lusts. Some, by the adulterous woman, here understand idolatry, false doctrine, which tends to lead astray men's minds and manners; but the direct view is to warn against seventh-commandment sins. Often these have been, and still are, Satan's method of drawing men from the worship of God into false religion. Consider how fatal the consequences; how bitter the fruit! Take it any way, it wounds. It leads to the torments of hell. The direct tendency of this sin is to the destruction of body and soul. We must carefully avoid every thing which may be a step towards it. Those who would be kept from harm, must keep out of harm's way. If we thrust ourselves into temptation we mock God when we pray, Lead us not into temptation. How many mischiefs attend this sin! It blasts the reputation; it wastes time; it ruins the estate; it is destructive to health; it will fill the mind with horror. Though thou art merry now, yet sooner or later it will bring sorrow. The convinced sinner reproaches himself, and makes no excuse for his folly. By the frequent acts of sin, the habits of it become rooted and confirmed. By a miracle of mercy true repentance may prevent the dreadful consequences of such sins; but this is not often; far more die as they have lived. What can express the case of the self-ruined sinner in the eternal world, enduring the remorse of his conscience!
Verses 15-23 Lawful marriage is a means God has appointed to keep from these destructive vices. But we are not properly united, except as we attend to God's word, seeking his direction and blessing, and acting with affection. Ever remember, that though secret sins may escape the eyes of our fellow-creatures, yet a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, who not only sees, but ponders all his goings. Those who are so foolish as to choose the way of sin, are justly left of God to themselves, to go on in the way to destruction.
Proverbs 5:1-23 . A warning against the seductive arts of wicked women, enforced by considering the advantages of chastity, and the miserable end of the wicked.
1. This connection of wisdom and understanding is frequent ( Proverbs 2:2 , 3:7 ); the first denotes the use of wise means for wise ends; the other, the exercise of a proper discrimination in their discovery.
2. regard--or, "observe."
3. (Compare Proverbs 2:16 ). Her enticing promises are deceitful.
4. her end--literally, "her future," in sense of reward, what follows (compare Psalms 37:37 , 73:17 ). Its nature is evinced by the use of figures, opposite those of Proverbs 5:3 . The physical and moral suffering of the deluded profligate are notoriously terrible.
5. feet . . . , steps--that is, course of life ends in death.
6. her ways . . . know--Some prefer, "that she may not ponder the path of life," &c.; but perhaps a better sense is, "her ways are varied, so as to prevent your knowledge of her true character, and so of true happiness."
8, 9. Avoid the slightest temptation.
9. thine honour--in whatever consisting, strength ( Proverbs 3:13 ) or wealth.
thy years--by cutting them off in dissipation.
unto the cruel--for such the sensual are apt to become.
10. wealth--literally, "strength," or the result of it.
labours--the fruit of thy painful exertions ( Psalms 127:2 ). There may be a reference to slavery, a commuted punishment for death due the adulterer ( Deuteronomy 22:22 ).
11. at the last--the end, or reward (compare Proverbs 5:4 ).
mourn--roar in pain.
flesh and . . . body--the whole person under incurable disease.
12-14. The ruined sinner vainly laments his neglect of warning and his sad fate in being brought to public disgrace.
14. evil--for affliction, as in Genesis 19:20 , 49:15 .
15-20. By figures, in which well, cistern, and fountain ( Proverbs 5:15 Proverbs 5:18 ) represent the wife, and rivers of waters ( Proverbs 5:16 ) the children, men are exhorted to constancy and satisfaction in lawful conjugal enjoyments. In Proverbs 5:16 , fountains (in the plural) rather denote the produce or waters of a spring, literally, "what is from a spring," and corresponds with "rivers of waters."
17. only thine own--harlots' children have no known father.
18. wife . . . youth--married in youth.
19. loving . . . roe--other figures for a wife from the well-known beauty of these animals.
breasts--(Compare Solomon 1:13 , Ezekiel 23:3 Ezekiel 23:8 ).
ravished--literally, "intoxicated," that is, fully satisfied.
21. The reason, God's eye is on you,
22, 23. and He will cause sin to bring its punishment.
23. without instruction--literally, "in want of instruction," having refused it (compare Job 13:18 , Hebrews 11:24 ).
go astray--literally, "be drunken." The word "ravished" ( Proverbs 5:19 ) here denotes fulness of punishment.