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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
Proverbs 7

 

 

Verse 1

The harlot adulteress of an Eastern city is contrasted with the true feminine ideal of the Wisdom who is to be the “sister” and “kinswoman” Proverbs 7:4 of the young man as he goes on his way through life. See Proverbs 8 in the introduction.


Verse 6

Casement - The latticed opening of an Eastern house, overlooking the street (compare Judges 5:28).


Verse 7

Simple - In the bad sense of the word (Proverbs 1:22 note); “open” to all impressions of evil, empty-headed and empty-hearted; lounging near the house of ill-repute, not as yet deliberately purposing to sin, but placing himself in the way of it at a time when the pure in heart would seek their home. There is a certain symbolic meaning in the picture of the gathering gloom Proverbs 7:9. Night is falling over the young man‘s life as the shadows deepen.


Verse 11

Loud and stubborn - Both words describe the half-animal signs of a vicious nature. Compare Hosea 4:16.


Verse 14

This pretence of a religious feast gives us an insight into some strange features of popular religion under the monarchy of Judah. The harlot uses the technical word Leviticus 3:1 for the “peace-offerings,” and makes them the starting-point for her sin. They have to be eaten on the same day that they are offered Leviticus 7:15-16, and she invites her victim to the feast. She who speaks is a “foreigner” who, under a show of conformity to the religion of Israel, still retains her old notions (see Proverbs 2:16 note), and a feast-day to her is nothing but a time of self-indulgence, which she may invite another to share with her. If we assume, as probable, that these harlots of Jerusalem were mainly of Phoenician origin, the connection of their worship with their sin would be but the continuation of their original “cultus.”


Verse 16

The words point to the art and commerce which flourished under Solomon.

Carved works - Most commentators take the original as meaning “striped coverlets of linen of Egypt.”


Verse 17

The love of perfumes is here, as in Isaiah 3:24, a sign of luxurious vice.

Cinnamon - The Hebrew word is identical with the English. The spice imported by the Phoenician traders from the further East, probably from Ceylon, has kept its name through all changes of language.


Verse 19

The reference to the husband is probably a blind. The use of the word “goodman” is due to the wish of the English translators to give a colloquial character to this part of their Version. The Hebrew is merely “the man.” A touch of scorn may be noticed in the form of speech: not “my husband,” but simply “the man.”


Verse 21

Fair speech - The Hebrew word is usually translated “doctrine,” or “learning” Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 4:2; Proverbs 9:9; possibly it is used here in keen irony.


Verse 22

As a fool … - literally, “As a fetter to the correction of a fool,” the order of which is inverted in the King James Version The Septuagint, followed by the Syriac Version, has another reading, and interprets the clause: “As a dog, enticed by food, goes to the chain that is to bind him, so does the youth go to the temptress.” None of the attempts of commentators to get a meaning out of the present text are in any degree satisfactory.


Verse 23

The first clause does not connect itself very clearly with the foregoing, and is probably affected by the corrupt text which makes it perplexing.


Verse 26

The house of the harlot is now likened to a field of battle strewn with the corpses of the many slain.

 


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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 7:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-7.html. 1870.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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