Proverbs 5

Avoid the mysterious woman

1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom. Bend your ear to what I know,
2 so you might remain discreet, and your lips might guard knowledge.
3 The lips of a mysterious woman drip honey, and her tongue is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead to the grave.
6 She doesn't stay on the way of life. Her paths wander, but she doesn't know it.
7 Now children, listen to me, and don't deviate from the words of my mouth.
8 Stay on a path that is far from her; don't approach the entrance to her house.
9 Otherwise, you will give your strength to others, your years to a cruel person.
10 Otherwise, strangers will sap your strength, and your hard work will end up in a foreigner's house.
11 You will groan at the end when your body and flesh are exhausted,
12 and you say, "How I hated instruction! How my heart despised correction!
13 I didn't listen to the voice of my instructor. I didn't obey my teacher.
14 I'm on the brink of utter ruin in the assembled community."
15 Drink water from your own cistern, gushing water from your own well.
16 Should your fountains flood outside, streams of water in the public squares?
17 They are yours alone, not for you as well as strangers.
18 May your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts intoxicate you all the time; always be drunk on her love.
20 Why, my son, should you lose your senses with a mysterious woman and embrace the breasts of a foreign female?
21 The LORD's eyes watch over every person's path, observing all their ways.
22 The wicked will be caught by their own evil acts, grabbed by the ropes of their own sin.
23 Those without instruction will die, misled by their own stupidity.

Proverbs 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

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.

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


The general instruction of this chapter is to avoid whoredom, and make use of lawful marriage, and keep to that. It is introduced with an exhortation to attend to wisdom and understanding, Pr 5:1,2; one part of which lies in shunning an adulterous woman; who is described by her flattery, with which she deceives; by the end she brings men to, which is destruction and death; and by the uncertainty of her ways, which cannot be known, Pr 5:3-6. Wherefore men are advised to keep at the utmost distance from her, Pr 5:7,8; lest their honour, strength, wealth, and labours, be given to others, Pr 5:9,10; and repentance and mourning follow, when too late, Pr 5:11-14. And, as a remedy against whoredom, entering into a marriage state is advised to, and a strict regard to that; allegorically expressed by a man's drinking water out of his fountain, and by his wife being as a loving hind and pleasant roe to him, the single object of his affections, Pr 5:15-19. As also the consideration of the divine omniscience is proposed, to deter him from the sin of adultery, Pr 5:20,21; as well as the inevitable ruin wicked men are brought into by it, Pr 5:22,23.

Proverbs 5 Commentaries