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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Proverbs 5

 

 

Verses 1-23

Proverbs 5:3. The lips of a strange woman drop as a honey-comb. She employs all her arts for bread, for drunkenness, for crime. How wretched, how bitter is the life of a ruined and abandoned woman. Their number is now alarming to the state. The men who support them are equal in number. Asylums are inadequate to remedy the hundredth part of the evil. In the purer ages of patriarchal society, they were put to death. When Tamar was pregnant, Judah said, “Bring her forth, and let her be burned.” Genesis 38:24. Maimonides names a case in which a priest’s daughter was burned, during the sixth century. Unless the heads of houses are made responsible for female virtue, national ruin of health and character must be the consequence.

Proverbs 5:5. Her feet go down to death. Here is the remedy which God provides; a disease which consumes the body with rottenness and corruption: Proverbs 5:11.—Her steps take hold on hell. This is the punishment of the soul beyond the grave. Solomon speaks as a father to the young men of his kingdom, and in particular to those of his court. He represents sin as a sharp sword with two edges, which kills the body and destroys the soul. He represents their deplorable case as pining away with disease, and all their wealth as filling the house of strangers. But argument is lost on men sold to sin. The good Fenelon represents Mentor as saving the almost yielding Telemachus, by taking him by the hair of the head, and throwing him from a rock into the sea, that he might swim to a ship. This is plucking out the right eye.

Horace describes the virtues of Ulysses as inflexible in character. On his return from Troy, he had to encounter a succession of difficulties, which he subdued. “You have heard of the charming voices of the syrens [Psalms 58:5] and of the deleterious cup of Circe. Had he drank the poison, as his foolish companions did, his return had been impossible; he had become the victim of an infamous woman, and been metamorphosed into an unclean dog, or a sow that wallows in the mire.”

Sirenum voces et Circæ pocula nôsti; Quæ si cum sociis stultus cupidusque bibisset, Sub dominâ meretrice fuisset turpis et excors, Vixisset canis immundus, vel amica luto sus. HORAT. EPIST. lib. 1. epist, 2. 50:23.

Proverbs 5:18. Rejoice with the wife of thy youth. The young man’s heart will then rest in the bosom of virtue. Even while his affections are but engaged to the amiable companion of his life, he will feel a flame which is noble; attended with the approbation of both God and man, and which scorns the seductive charms of vice. When young people marry in the Lord, and with prudence, they taste the highest happiness prepared for man in this world, and lay a wise foundation for the augmentation of their eternal joy.

Proverbs 5:21. The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. The omniscience of God is the last dissuasive from criminal connections. Why should he sin when he cannot escape detection? Divine justice is laying snares for the wicked, that the most secret sins may be discovered by their fruits; that the public may say, he died as the fool dieth, for despising instruction. How preferable that youth should read the holy scriptures in seminaries, than authors grossly mixed with immodesty, with approbation of fashionable vices, and with hisses at real religion, under a pretext of ridiculing superstition. When they advocate a moral cause, and expatiate on virtue, there is not a vestige of that sacred influence which everywhere distinguishes the morality of the sacred writings.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/proverbs-5.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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