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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 5

 

 

Verses 1-23

Proverbs 5:1-23. The first discourse against sexual vice, and exhortation to purity and conjugal fidelity (cf. Proverbs 6:24-35, Proverbs 7, Proverbs 9:13-18). A comparison of the later codes (e.g. Leviticus 18, 20, H) with the earlier, shows the increasing stress laid on sexual purity, and increasing prevalence of adultery.

Proverbs 5:3-6. Description of the strange woman (Proverbs 2:16*).

Proverbs 5:4. wormwood (Amos 5:7, Jeremiah 9:15): a bitter and poisonous herb, probably a species of Artemisia. In Revelation 8:10 f. it has become an eschatological abstraction. For the thought of bitterness and poison in the present connexion cf. the water of jealousy (Numbers 5).

Proverbs 5:6. Corrupt. Read "She does not tread the way of life, her paths waver."

Proverbs 5:7-14. The evil results of relations with the strange woman. These fall into three divisions—loss of wealth and position (Proverbs 5:9 f.), physical deterioration (Proverbs 5:11), legal penalties (Proverbs 5:14; cf. Proverbs 6:33*). Adultery is treated as more serious and dangerous than intercourse with a harlot. H (Leviticus 20:10), Ezekiel 23:45-47, and D (Deuteronomy 22:22) sentence both parties to death. The story of David and Bathsheba implies the death penalty. In later practice the punishment appears to have been less severe (cf. Sirach 23:18-26). John 8:5 implies that the older regulation was still in force, although it might be relaxed. (Probably the ordeal for the suspected wife (Numbers 5:11-29*) was older still.) (See Gray, Numbers, ICC.)

Proverbs 5:7 a. Read "son."

Proverbs 5:9. the cruel: the text, if correct, refers apparently to the outraged husband, but "to foreigners" (Targ.) suits the parallelism better. The reference would then be general to the circle of foreign courtesans and panders.

Proverbs 5:14. Render "I had almost fallen into all evil," i.e. legal penalties inflicted by the local synagogue.

Proverbs 5:15-20. Exhortation to conjugal fidelity. For the metaphor of the well and the cistern cf. Ca. Proverbs 4:12; Proverbs 4:15, and for that of the roe cf. Ca. Proverbs 4:5. Some find a parallel to Proverbs 5:15 a in Ecclesiastes 12:1, reading "remember thy well in the days of thy youth."

Proverbs 5:21-23. Closing remarks on the retributive nature of the Divine moral government.

Proverbs 5:21. maketh level: the same word as in Proverbs 5:6 a; read mg. here. The primary meaning is "weigh" (cf. the noun in Isaiah 40:12, "scales").

Proverbs 5:22. the wicked (LXX omits): probably a gloss, as the passage is a general statement of the principle of retribution, a man suffers for his own sin.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-5.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, December 10th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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