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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 6

 

 

Verses 1-35

Proverbs 6:1-19. A section totally dissimilar from the rest of this division of Pr. It consists of four short subsections

Proverbs 6:1-5 against suretyship, Proverbs 6:6-11 against sloth, Proverbs 6:12-15 against talebearing, Proverbs 6:16-19 against seven sins. Then the subject of sexual vice is continued from Proverbs 5. Proverbs 6:1-19 obviously breaks the connexion, and was probably inserted after the compilation of Proverbs 6:1-9.

Proverbs 6:1-5. The Dangers of Suretyship.—Early Semitic legislation does not deal directly with suretyship, although directions relating to pledges and release from debt are given. In Nehemiah 5 we have a case of mortgage and its hardship. The practice of giving personal security probably grew up in post-exilic times. See also Proverbs 11:15, Proverbs 17:18, Proverbs 20:16, Proverbs 22:26 f., Proverbs 27:13; Sirach 8:13; Sirach 29:14-20.

Proverbs 6:1. stricken hands: cf. Job 17:3, Ezekiel 17:18, Ezra 10:19.

Proverbs 6:3. The context favours RVm.—importune: the Heb. means "to rage against," "be arrogant" (cf. Rahab in Isaiah 30:7). The endangered surety should take strong measures to force his friend either to meet his liabilities or to set him free from his bond.

Proverbs 6:6-11. The Dangers of Sloth.—Cf. Proverbs 30:24 and Proverbs 24:30-34. The latter is evidently derived from the same source as this passage, and requires Proverbs 6:9 to make the connexion clear between Proverbs 6:32 and Proverbs 6:33. The ant figures in most of the ancient proverbial lore as the type of provident thrift and industry. The LXX adds, probably incorrectly, some clauses concerning the bee.

Proverbs 6:11. robber: lit. "rover," almost equivalent to "tramp."—armed man: lit. "man with a shield."

Proverbs 6:12-15. Description and Retribution of the Talebearer.—The earliest codes reflect the prevalence of this social crime (cf. Exodus 23:1, Leviticus 19:16).

Proverbs 6:12. worthless person: lit. "man of Belial," more commonly in Heb. "son of Belial" (Deuteronomy 13:13*). The usually accepted derivation (see BDB) regards "Belial" as a compound signifying "without worth." But all the uses of the word do not agree with this derivation (cf. Psalms 18:4), and especially its use as a proper name (2 Corinthians 6:15, Asc. Isaiah 3:23). It may be the name of some Bab. deity (cf. EBi).

Proverbs 6:13. Malan cites the apposite parallel from the Institutes of Manu: "Beware of having nimble hands and moveable feet, a winking eye, of being crooked in thy ways, of having a voluble tongue, and of being clever at doing mischief to others."

Proverbs 6:15 b. A verbal parallel occurs in Proverbs 29:1.

Proverbs 6:16-19. Seven Things Hateful to God.—Possibly the insertion of this short passage here was suggested by the recurrence in it (Proverbs 6:19 b) of the unusual phrase in Proverbs 6:14 b, "scattereth strifes." It reflects throughout a literary acquaintance with OT, and is therefore probably late. All the characteristics mentioned occur in other parts of OT (cf. Isaiah 2:11, Psalms 31:18, Isaiah 59:3; Isaiah 59:7, Genesis 6:5, etc.).

Proverbs 6:20-35. Warning against the Adulteress.—Here the subject of ch. 5 is resumed, exhortation to sexual purity (see Proverbs 5:7-14*).

Proverbs 6:22 f. The change to the sing. ("it") in Proverbs 6:22 points to some disarrangement, and the close connexion between Proverbs 6:20 and Proverbs 6:23 suggests that Proverbs 6:23 should follow Proverbs 6:21, and that before Proverbs 6:22 a clause introducing wisdom as the subject has been lost.

Proverbs 6:25. Cf. Job 31:1, Matthew 5:28.

Proverbs 6:26. The text is obscure and probably corrupt (cf. ICC), AV and RV incorrect. The main problem is whether the harlot is synonymous or contrasted with the adulteress. The latter is more probable; the harlot only hunts for a piece of bread—i.e. for a livelihood—the adulteress seeks to ruin her victim. The man is throughout the foolish victim, and the adulteress is the temptress.

Proverbs 6:30-35. A contrast between the fate of a thief and that of the adulterer. The point is not clear. MT means that a thief who steals to satisfy his desire does not lose social prestige, nevertheless he must pay the penalty in a fine. Many regard this as unsatisfactory, and Proverbs 6:30 a may be a question (so some MSS.), "do they not despise, etc.?"—i.e. the thief only loses the respect of his fellows, but escapes further punishment by payment of a fine, while the adulterer loses caste and cannot escape the penalty of the law by private arrangement with the jealous husband. But can a thief, who steals to satisfy his hunger, pay sevenfold for his offence?

Proverbs 6:31. sevenfold: for the law of restitution in cases of theft and fraud cf. Exodus 22:1, five-or fourfold; Proverbs 22:4; Proverbs 22:7, double; Leviticus 6:5, restoration of the principal plus one-fifth. Luke 19:8 and 2 Samuel 12:6 show that the fourfold measure was apparently the prevalent one. Sevenfold is probably rhetorical rather than legal.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 6:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-6.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, July 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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