Proverbs 5

Listen to Proverbs 5

Warning Against Adultery

1 1My son, be attentive to my wisdom; 2incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep 3discretion, and your lips may 4guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of 5a forbidden[a] woman drip honey, and her speech[b] is 6smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is 7bitter as 8wormwood, 9sharp as 10a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet 11go down to death; her steps follow the path to[c] Sheol;
6 she 12does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.
7 And 13now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your 14labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you 15groan, when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, 16"How I hated discipline, and my heart 17despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 18I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation."
15 Drink 19water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your 20springs be scattered abroad, streams of water 21in the streets?
17 22Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your 23fountain be blessed, and 24rejoice in 25the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely 26deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts 27fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated[d] always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with 28a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of 29an adulteress?[e]
21 For 30a man's ways are 31before the eyes of the LORD, and he 32ponders[f] all his paths.
22 The 33iniquities of the wicked 34ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 35He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is 36led astray.

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.

Cross References 36

  • 1. Proverbs 4:20; [Proverbs 2:1, 2]
  • 2. Proverbs 22:17
  • 3. Proverbs 1:4
  • 4. Malachi 2:7
  • 5. See Proverbs 2:16
  • 6. Psalms 55:21
  • 7. [Ecclesiastes 7:26]
  • 8. Deuteronomy 29:18; Jeremiah 9:15; Lamentations 3:15, 19; Revelation 8:11
  • 9. Psalms 57:4; [Psalms 55:21]
  • 10. See Psalms 149:6
  • 11. See Proverbs 7:27
  • 12. ver. 21; Proverbs 4:26
  • 13. See Proverbs 4:1
  • 14. Psalms 127:2
  • 15. Ezekiel 24:23
  • 16. Proverbs 1:22, 29; See Proverbs 12:1
  • 17. Proverbs 1:25; See Psalms 107:11
  • 18. [Psalms 94:17]
  • 19. ver. 18; [Proverbs 9:17; Song of Songs 4:12, 15; Jeremiah 2:13]
  • 20. See Psalms 68:26
  • 21. [Jeremiah 9:21; Zechariah 8:5]
  • 22. [Proverbs 14:10]
  • 23. [See ver. 15 above]
  • 24. Deuteronomy 24:5
  • 25. Malachi 2:14
  • 26. Song of Songs 2:9, 17; Song of Songs 8:14
  • 27. [Jeremiah 31:14]
  • 28. See Proverbs 2:16
  • 29. See Proverbs 2:16
  • 30. Psalms 119:168
  • 31. Hosea 7:2; Hebrews 4:13; See Job 14:16; Psalms 11:4
  • 32. ver. 6
  • 33. See Psalms 7:15, 16
  • 34. Proverbs 6:2
  • 35. See Job 4:21
  • 36. [Job 12:24]

Footnotes 6

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.