Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 5:3

For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Adultery;   Flattery;   Harlot (Prostitute);   Lasciviousness;   Women;   Young Men;   Thompson Chain Reference - Evil;   Harlots;   Temptresses;   Women;   The Topic Concordance - Disobedience;   Whoredom;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Honey;   Oil;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Honey;   Wormwood;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Prostitution;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Honey;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Prostitution;   Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Marriage;   Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Honey;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Proverbs book of;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Smoother;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Oil;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Aliens;   Chastity;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The lips of a strange woman - One that is not thy own, whether Jewess or heathen.

Drop as a honey-comb - She uses the most deceitful, flattering, and alluring speeches: as the droppings of the honey out of the comb are the sweetest of all.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Smoother than oil - The same comparison is used in marginal reference to describe the treachery of a false friend.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-5.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

DESCRIPTION OF THE LOOSE WOMAN

"For the lips of a strange woman drop honey,

And her mouth is smoother than oil.

But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

Sharp as a two-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death;

Her steps take hold on Sheol;

So that she findeth not the level path of life:

Her ways are unstable, and she knoweth it not."

"The lips of a strange woman" (Proverbs 5:3). "This is any woman who is not thine own, whether Jewess or heathen."[5]

"Drop honey" (Proverbs 5:3). This is a metaphor to describe the attractive proposals by which a prostitute solicits her victim. "Her suggestions sound reasonable, and what she is offering appears desirable; but such indulgence leads to remorse and death."[6] "Her very strangeness and looseness make her exciting and tempting. Such a person presents the young man, yes, any man, with a powerful sexual attraction."[7]

"Her mouth is smoother than oil" (Proverbs 5:3). "David used the very same words of the metaphors found in this and in Proverbs 5:4 to describe the treachery of his friend Ahithophel in Psalms 55:21."[8]

The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. - Psalms 55:21 AV.

"In the end she is bitter as wormwood" (Proverbs 5:4). The terrible consequences of sinful gratification of sexual desire are plainly stated in this chapter. "She may seem like honey; but those who have dealings with her find the abiding taste is wormwood, an insecticide exceedingly bitter."[9] "Wormwood comes from a shrub of bitter taste, used in the preparation of absinthe, which is traditionally used as medicine for deworming (whence the name)."[10] "In Revelation, Wormwood became an eschatological abstraction Revelation 8:10-11,"[11] standing for the unspeakable sorrows falling upon the rivers and fountains of earth.

"In the end" (Proverbs 5:4). Yes, indeed, there is an end that follows sinful sexual gratification "There is an end (KJV), an afterward; and Proverbs does not allow us to forget it"![12] No human activity should be judged merely upon the basis of its initial result; it is the ultimate consequences, the final result, that must also be considered. And when such judgment is applied to this vice, only a fool could willingly indulge in it.

"Her feet go down to death ... Sheol" (Proverbs 5:5). Sinful sexual relations literally bring death to myriads of mankind. Such diseases as syphilis and aids are almost exclusively acquired through illicit sex contacts; and it is simple truth that the prostitute's (one of the offenders in this passage) feet go down to death, and her steps take hold of Sheol. "The word Sheol here is used as a synonym for death. The KJV renders this word as hell; but the New Testament word for the lake of fire is Gehenna, which does not appear in the Old Testament."[13]

"She findeth not the level path of life" (Proverbs 5:6). "This verse may refer either to the pupil (as in KJV) or the adulteress (as in ASV), for the Hebrew does not distinguish."[14]

"Her ways are unstable, etc." (Proverbs 5:6). Cook noted that, "This verse describes the state of heart and soul which prostitution brings upon its victims: - the reckless blindness that will not think, tottering on the abyss, yet loud in defiant mirth, ignoring the dreadful future."[15]

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-5.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb,.... "Mulsa dicta", "honey words", as is Plautus'sF5Rudens, Act. 2. Sc. 3. v. 84. Poenulus, 1, 2. v. 112. expression. The Septuagint and Arabic versions premise something here which is not in the Hebrew text,

"do not give heed to a wicked woman;'

and the Vulgate Latin version,

"to the fallacy of a woman:'

but there is no need to connect the words by such a supplement; since, as they lie, they give a reason why it was necessary to attend to wisdom and understanding, in order to act discreetly and speak knowingly; since there is so much danger of being drawn aside by a wicked woman, a lewd and adulterous one; the kisses of whose lips, her confabulations and songs, are as pleasing to the carnal senses of men as honey is sweet to the taste; she promises them a great deal of pleasure in her embraces, and in the enjoyment of her: so the poetF6 φωνα γλυκερωτερα η μελικηρω, Theocrit. Idyll. 21. describes an agreeable voice to be sweeter than the honeycomb;

and her mouth is smoother than oil; her fair speeches, enticing words, and flattering fawning language, and amorous expressions, easily find their way and slide into the hearts of men, to prevail upon them to listen to her, and yield to her temptations. Gersom interprets this strange woman of the imaginative faculty; and Jarchi of heresy: it is applicable enough to the whore of Rome; who, by the blandishments of pomp and grandeur, and the allurements of wealth and riches, draws many into her idolatrous practices; which are spiritual adultery, signified by her golden cup, Revelation 17:4.

Copyright Statement
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 5:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For the lips a of a strange woman drop [as] an honeycomb, and her mouth [is] smoother than b oil:

(a) That is, a harlot who gives herself to someone other than her husband.

(b) By oil and honey he means flattering and crafty enticements.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Compare Proverbs 2:16). Her enticing promises are deceitful.

Copyright Statement
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 5:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

The lips — It concerns thee to get and to use discretion, that thou mayest be able to resist those temptations to which thou art exposed.

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 5:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 5:3 For the lips of a strange woman drop [as] an honeycomb, and her mouth [is] smoother than oil:

Ver. 3. For the lips of a strange woman drop.] Take heed therefore how thou exchange any words at all with her. But if thou be first set upon, as Joseph was by his mistress, and as Franciscus Junius (a) was by those impudent queans (harlots) at Lyons, in France (whither he was sent by his father for learning’s sake), who night and day solicited him; then to keep thee from the bitter sweet lips of these enchantresses, "let thy lips keep knowledge"; answer them (as Joseph did) with "the words of truth and soberness"; [Acts 26:25] with "gracious and wholesome words," [1 Timothy 6:3] such as have a cooling and healing property in them; with Scripture language, which the devil and his agents cannot answer or away with. When, therefore, thou art tempted to this or any like sin, say No - I may not, I dare not; for it is forbidden in such a place, and again in such a place, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" [Genesis 39:9] "Lo this is the way, walk in it." Let thy lips keep knowledge, and it shall keep thee from the lips of a strange woman, though they drop as a honeycomb, and seem to have plenty of pleasure and sweetness in them.

Drop as a honeycomb.] But is like that honey spoken of by Pliny that had poison in it, as being sucked out of poisonous herbs and flowers. In the Cadiz voyage, at Alvelana, three miles from Lisbon, many of our English soldiers, under the Earl of Essex, perished by eating of honey, purposely left in the houses, and spiced with poison, as it was thought. (b) How much better is it to be preserved in brine than to rot in honey! to mortify lusts, than to enjoy them! [Romans 8:13] Voluptatem vicisse voluptas est maxima, saith Cyprian, (c) nec ulla maior est victoria, quam ea, quae cupiditatibus refertur. There is no such pleasure as to have overcome an offered pleasure; neither is there any greater conquest than that which is gotten over a man’s corruptions.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-5.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

It concerns thee to get and to use discretion, that thou mayst be able to resist and repel those manifold temptations to which thou art exposed.

Drop as an honeycomb; her words and discourses are sweet, and charming, and prevalent.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-5.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3.Strange woman — See note on Proverbs 2:16. The terms lips and mouth are, of course, used tropically — speech, words. She uses persuasive, delusive, and fascinating arts and modes of speech. Compare Proverbs 7:14, etc.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-5.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a strange woman. Two words are used for "strange" and "stranger": one, Hebrew. zur, an apostate Israelite woman gone over to the idolatrous impurities of heathen religion; the other nakar, a purely foreign woman of a similar character. The danger is religious rather than moral. Hence here it is zur. See note on Proverbs 2:16.

drop as an honeycomb = distil honey. The invitations of religious idolatry suit the tastes of the natural man.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

For the lips of a strange woman (note, Proverbs 2:16) drop (as) as an honey-comb. "Thy lips," by "keeping knowledge" (Proverbs 5:2) of "the fear of the Lord," and "the judgments of the Lord," which are, in reality as well as appearance, "sweater than honey and the honey- comb" (Psalms 19:10), will counteract her "lips," which only in appearance "drop as an honey-comb." Her mouth is smoother than oil - (Psalms 55:21,) which the oil of grace alone can counteract.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

V.

(3) Her mouth is smoother than oil.—The experience of David also with Ahitophel (Psalms 55:21).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
the lips
2:16; 6:24; 7:21; Revelation 17:2-6
mouth
Heb. palate. smoother.
Psalms 55:21
Reciprocal: Genesis 39:8 - refused;  Genesis 39:10 - as she spake;  Leviticus 15:20 - GeneralJudges 11:2 - a strange;  Judges 14:15 - Entice;  Judges 16:5 - Entice;  Judges 16:15 - How canst;  Ezra 10:44 - strange wives;  Job 31:9 - If mine;  Proverbs 7:5 - GeneralProverbs 20:16 - a strange;  Proverbs 22:14 - mouth;  Ecclesiastes 7:26 - I find;  1 Corinthians 6:18 - Flee

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-5.html.