Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 5:4

But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Adultery;   Harlot (Prostitute);   Lasciviousness;   Women;   Wormwood;   Young Men;   Thompson Chain Reference - Evil;   Temptresses;   Women;   Wormwood;   The Topic Concordance - Disobedience;   Whoredom;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Arms, Military;   Sword, the;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Prostitution;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Hemlock;   Sword;   Wormwood;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Arms and Armor;   Plants in the Bible;   Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Wormwood;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Gall ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hemlock;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Proverbs book of;   Wormwood;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Sword;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Wormwood;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bitter;   End;   Wormwood;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Chastity;   Sword;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Bitter as wormwood - כלענה Kelanah, like the detestable herb wormwood, or something analogous to it: something as excessive in its bitterness, as honey is in its sweetness.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Wormwood - In Eastern medicine this herb, the absinthium of Greek and Latin botanists, was looked upon as poisonous rather than medicinal. Compare Revelation 8:11.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-5.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But her end is bitter as wormwood,.... Which is opposed to the honeycomb her lips are said to drop; so that, as Juvenal saysF7Satyr. 6. v. 180. "Lingua dicta dulcia dabis, corde amara facilis", Plauti Truculentus, Act. 1. Sc. 1. v. 77. Cistellaria, Act. 1. Sc. 1. v. 70, 71, 72. , "plus aloes quam mellis habet": the end which she brings persons to, or the issue of complying with her, is bitterness; such as loss of credit, substance, and health, remorse of conscience, and fear of death, corporeal and eternal; see Ecclesiastes 7:26;

sharp as a twoedged sword; which cuts every way; as committing sin with an harlot hurts both soul and body; and the reflection upon it is very cutting and distressing, and destroys all comfort and happiness. This is the reverse of her soothing and softening speech, which is as oil. Such also will be the sad case of the worshippers of the beast, or whore of Rome; who will gnaw their tongues for pain, and be killed with the twoedged sword that proceedeth out of the mouth of Christ, Revelation 16:10.

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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 5:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-5.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

her end — literally, “her future,” in sense of reward, what follows (compare Psalm 37:37; Psalm 73:17). Its nature is evinced by the use of figures, opposite those of Proverbs 5:3. The physical and moral suffering of the deluded profligate are notoriously terrible.

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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 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.

But — The effect of that to which she entices men, is destruction.

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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 5:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 5:4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.

Ver. 4. But her end is bitter as wormwood.] The pleasure passeth, the sting remaineth; for in the froth of this filthy pleasure is bred that hell worm of guilt that never dieth. (a)

Principium dulce est, sed finis amoris amarus:

Laeta venire Venus, tristis abire solet. ”

Diana of the Ephesians was so artificially portrayed, that she seemed to smile most pleasantly upon such as came into her temple, but to frown at those that went out. So doth sensual pleasure. Heus tu scholastiae, dulce et amarum gustulum carpis, &c., said the harlot to Apuleius; hark, scholar, it is but a bitter sweet that you are so fond of. (b) Plus aloes quam mellis habet; { c} knowest thou not that there will be bitterness in the end? The chroniclers (d) have observed of our Edward III that he had always fair weather at his passage into France, and foul upon his return. Such is the way of the harlot; the sin committed with her is as the poison of asps. When an asp stings a man, it doth first tickle him so as it makes him laugh, till the poison by little and little get to the heart, and then it pains him more than ever before it delighted him. See Luke 6:25; Luke 16:25, Hebrews 12:15-16, Job 13:26, Ecclesiastes 7:27-28.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-5.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Her design, and the effect of that lewdness to which she enticeth men, is the sinner’s destruction.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". 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

4.Bitter as wormwood — As the accursed or poisonous herb or root. The ancients regarded this herb, whatever it was, as poisonous. There are sundry passages referring to it as noxious. See Deuteronomy 29:18; Hebrews 12:15; Revelation 8:10-11. “Wormwood,” says Zockler, “is a plant about two feet high, belonging to the genus artemesia, (artemesia absinthium,) which produces a very firm stock with many branches, grayish leaves, and small, almost round, pendent blossoms. It has a bitter and saline taste, and seems to have been regarded as a poison.” It was a fitting popular emblem of the results of illicit love. Such love is full of poison, and in the end will be as destructive as a double-edged sword. This is more plainly stated in the following verse.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-5.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sword. "It is a crime even to hearken." (St. Ambrose, de Abrah. ii. 11.) She seeks thy ruin, ver. 5., and chap. ii. 16.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-5.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.

But her end is bitter as wormwood - (Ecclesiastes 7:26). The flesh promises every delight, but it leaves bitter dregs (Mercer). The strange woman's own end is bitter, and such must be also that of her follower. When she falls, so must he also.

Sharp as a two-edged sword - therefore only to be foiled with "the Word of God," which is "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12).

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "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

(4) Bitter as wormwood.—The absinthium of Revelation 8:11, where, apparently, it is considered as a poison. So God’s message to St. John (Revelation 10:10) was in his mouth sweet as honey (comp. Psalms 19:10), but made his belly bitter: that is, he met with much sorrow and trouble in making it known to men, but through this “much tribulation” (Acts 14:22) he “entered into the kingdom of heaven.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
her
6:24-35; 7:22,23; 9:18; 23:27,28; Ecclesiastes 7:26; Hebrews 12:15,16
sharp
Judges 16:4-6,15-21; Psalms 55:21; Hebrews 4:12
Reciprocal: Numbers 5:18 - the bitter water;  Numbers 5:27 - if she be defiled;  Proverbs 2:18 - GeneralProverbs 14:13 - GeneralRevelation 8:11 - Wormwood

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-5.html.