Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 30:20

This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, "I have done no wrong."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Adultery;   Conscience;   Lasciviousness;   Riddle;   Sin;   The Topic Concordance - Adultery;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Proverb, the Book of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Joseph;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Mouth;   Proverbs, Book of;   Song of Solomon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Agur;   Jakeh;   Massa;   Proverb;   Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Propitiation;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Wickedness;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Euphemism;   Sheol;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Such is the way of an adulterous woman,.... It is equally unknown as the way of a man with a maid; it is difficult to detect her, she takes so much care and caution, and uses so many artful methods to conceal her wickedness from her husband; though she lives in adultery, it is in a most private manner, and carried on so secretly and artfully that she is not easily discovered;

she eateth, and wipeth her mouth; like one that eats what he should not, wipes his mouth that it might not be known or suspected he had ate anything; so such an adulteress commits the sin of adultery; and when she has done looks as grave and demure, and carries it so to her husband and all her friends, as if she was the chastest person upon earth. The allusion may be to harlots, who after an impure congress used to wash themselvesF1"Dedecus hoc sumpta dissimulavit aqua", Ovid. Amor. l. 3. Eleg. 6. in fine. , and had servants to wait upon them and serve them with water, called from hence "aquarioli"F2Tertull. Apolog. c. 43. Vid. Turnebi Adversar. l. 14. c. 12. ;

and saith, I have done no wickedness; she says by her behaviour, by her demure looks; and if suspected and challenged with it utterly denies it. This is an emblem of the antichristian whore of Rome, who, though the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth; though guilty of the foulest adultery, that is, the grossest idolatry, yet pretends to be the pure and chaste spouse of Christ; and, under the guise of purity and holiness, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, seduces the minds of many; see Revelation 17:1.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-30.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Such [is] the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and k wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

(k) She has her desires, and later counterfeits as though she were an honest woman.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-30.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

she eateth … mouth — that is, she hides the evidences of her shame and professes innocence.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-30.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

Such is — So secret and undiscernible.

Eateth — The bread of deceit in secret.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-30.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 30:20 Such [is] the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

Ver. 20. So is the way of an adulterous woman.] The strumpet, when she hath eaten stolen bread, hath such dexterity in wiping her lips, that not the least crumb shall stick to them for discovery. So that Agur here shows it to be as hard to find it out as the way of an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent on a rock, &c. Unless taken in the manner, she stoutly denies the action. And if so taken, yet

Nihil est audacius illis,

Deprensis, iram atque animos a crimine sumunt. ”

- Juvenal, Satyr. 6.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-30.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 30:20. Such is the way of an adulterous woman The wise man adds, that this also is another of the things which he cannot understand. As idolatry is frequently expressed in Scripture by adultery, some commentators think that the adulterous woman here means an idolatress, who, having eaten of the sacrifice offered to an idol, wipeth her mouth, in order to conceal her crime, and afterwards audaciously persists in asserting that she is innocent. The plain meaning, however, seems to be, that it is difficult to conceive how a woman who is an adultress can so openly and impudently deny herself to be so, when there are the most manifest and indubitable proofs of it.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-30.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Such, so secret and undiscernible,

is the way of an adulterous woman; of her who, though she be called and accounted a maid yet in truth is an adulteress: not a common strumpet, for of such the following words are not true, but one that secretly lives in the sin of adultery or fornication.

She eateth, to wit, the bread of deceit in secret, by which is understood the act of filthiness, Proverbs 9:17 20:17, which such persons do as greedily desire, and as delightfully feed upon, as hungry persons do upon bread. Thus chastely doth the Holy Ghost express the most filthy actions, to teach us to avoid all immodest and obscene speeches as well as actions.

Wipeth her mouth, as a child doth when it hath eaten some forbidden food, and would not be discovered.

Saith, I have done no wickedness; denies the fact, and avoweth her innoceney.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-30.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

20.Such , (ken,) so, a particle of comparison establishing a connexion with the preceding, and expressing the similitude between the way of an adulteress and the things just mentioned. “Just as incomprehensible in a moral view is the violation of the sacredness of marital rights by the adulteress, and her hardened indifference to the guilt of the crime.” — Conant.

She eateth, and wipeth — Indulges her appetite, and removes all indication of guilt.

And saith — By her manner, “I am innocent.” One moral of the passage may be a caution against implicit confidence in external or first appearances.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-30.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The mention of the woman in Proverbs 30:19 seems to have triggered this pigtail comment about another unexplainable phenomenon. That Isaiah, how some women can commit adultery as easily as, and without any more remorse than, they can eat a meal. The sage could have said the same of some men.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/proverbs-30.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 30:20. Such — So secret and undiscernible; is the way of an adulterous woman — Of one that secretly lives in the sin of adultery. As “artful men insinuate themselves into the affections of young women, and seduce them to their ruin, by an almost infinity of stratagems, which can never be all unravelled, so also the adulterous wife uses much ingenuity to impose on her husband, to shun detection, and to escape shame and punishment, by schemes and devices which cannot all be enumerated. Every new crime intended, or committed, gives rise to some new artifice; as the ship, in some degree, deviates every time from the course which it steered before. The object of the seducer is to prevail over his prey, and that of the adulteress to conceal her guilt; and the whole extent of their subtlety and ingenuity is employed to effect those purposes.” — Scott.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-30.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

way = manner, or conduct. Compare Psalms 119:9.

no wickedness = nothing: or, as we say, "no harm". Hebrew. "aven.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-30.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

An adulterous woman ... eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness - like one who has eaten something, and afterward having wiped his mouth, says he eaten nothing (cf. "bread eaten in secret," Proverbs 9:17; Proverbs 20:17). Note the delicacy and propriety of Scripture language in indelicate acts. As the "man" seducing the "maid" (Proverbs 30:19) uses marvelous and varied arts to deceive her, so here the "adulterous woman" uses such artifices to deceive the husband, and hide the offence against him.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-30.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(20) Such is the way of an adulterous woman.—As there is no proof of her guilt, she flatly denies it.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-30.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
7:13-23; Numbers 5:11-30
Reciprocal: Genesis 16:4 - her mistress;  Genesis 37:25 - they sat;  Numbers 5:13 - General2 Samuel 11:4 - she was;  2 Kings 5:25 - stood before;  Psalm 32:5 - have;  Proverbs 9:17 - eaten in secret;  Proverbs 14:9 - Fools;  Jeremiah 2:23 - How canst;  Hosea 12:8 - they;  Malachi 2:14 - Wherefore;  Matthew 26:25 - Judas

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 30:20". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-30.html.