Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 5:6

She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Adultery;   Harlot (Prostitute);   Temptation;   Women;   Young Men;   The Topic Concordance - Disobedience;   Whoredom;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Prostitution;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Path;   Proverbs, Book of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Proverbs book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ponder;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Chastity;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for October 13;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Lest thou shouldest ponder - To prevent thee from reflecting on thy present conduct, and its consequences, her ways are moveable - she continually varies her allurements.

Thou canst not know them - It is impossible to conceive all her tricks and wiles: to learn these in all their varieties, is a part of the science first taught in that infernal trade.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Or (with the Septuagint and Vulgate), Lest she should ponder (or “She ponders not”) the way of life, her paths move to and fro (unsteady as an earthquake); she knows not. The words describe with a terrible vividness 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 its defiant mirth, ignoring the dreadful future.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 5:6

Her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

The movable ways of the tempter

The wiseman lets us know how foolish it is for men to flatter themselves with the hope that they shall by and by be truly disposed and enabled to repent of their sin. The temptress can form her mode of behaviour into a hundred shapes to entangle the heart of the lover. She spreads a thousand snares, and if you escape one of them, you will find yourself held fast by another. She knows well how to suit her words and behaviour to your present humour, to lull conscience asleep, and to spread before your eyes such a mist as shall prevent you from being able to descry the paths of life. If you ever think of the danger of your course, and feel the necessity of changing it, she will urge you to spend a little time longer in the pleasures of sin. If her solicitations prevail, if you linger within the precincts of guilt, your resolutions are weakened, and your passions gain new strength. What is the awful result? The devil obtains more influence; conscience, forcibly repressed, ceases to reclaim with so loud a voice; God gives you up to the lusts of your own heart, and leaves you to choose your own delusions. Attend, then, to the wisest of men, who instructs you to keep free of these dangerous temptations. (G. Lawson, D. D.)

Movableness

The text refers to a sinful character who endeavours to keep her companion in vice by her movable ways. Few can say with Paul, “None of these things move me.” We are liable to be acted upon by influences within and without us. It is a grave weakness to be easily movable to bad and faulty ways. Movableness is the prevalent fault of probably every one of us. How easily we are moved to speak in haste. How difficult to keep our eye from being moved to look on evil. We are urged to fix our affections on things above, but who can do this in his own strength? Are we not movable in our friendships? Perhaps movable Christians love only themselves; and if this be so, it needs but a short time and a slight ruffle against their feathers to move them. Some are easily movable from their work for God and for humanity. Some, perhaps all of us, at times, are movable in our faith. Do not allow yourself to be moved from trusting in the love of Jesus, and never be ashamed of being His faithful disciple. Some are moved from the comfort of prayer. (William Birch.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 5:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life,.... Consider and meditate which is the way to get out of her hands and ways, and escape death, and obtain eternal life; lest those she has drawn into her wicked course of life should be religiously inclined, and think of quitting such a course, and inquire after the way of life and salvation; and be weighing in their minds which is most eligible, to continue with her whose feet lead to death, or to take the path of life: to prevent all this, if possible,

her ways are movable: she appears in different shapes; changes her dress and habitation; makes use of a thousand arts to ensnare men, to entangle their affections, and retain them in her nets; she first puts them upon one thing, and then on another; she leads them into various mazes and labyrinths of sin, till they have lost all sense of religion, and sight of the path of life;

that thou canst not know them; her ways, arts, and devices. Or, "thou canst not know"F11לא תדע "non scires", Cocceius; "non cognosces", Baynus. ; that is, the way of life, or how to get out of her ways into that. Or, "thou knowest not"; where she goes, whither she leads thee, and what will be the end and issue of such a course of life. The Targum understands it, and so some other interpreters, of the harlot herself, paraphrasing the whole thus;

"in the way of life she walks not; her ways are unstable, and she knows not'

the way of life, nor where her ways will end; or, "cares not"F12"Haud curat", Schultens. what becomes of her. And so, in like manner, the former part of the verse is understood and interpreted, "lest she ponder the path of life"F13ארח חיים פן תפלס "iter vitae ne forte libraverit", Schultens. ; or as others, "she does not ponder the path of life"F14"Viam vitae non appendit, vel ponderat", Gejerus; so Luther; "iter vitae non expandit", Noldius, p. 249. No. 2008. ; The ways of the antichristian harlot are with all deceivableness of unrighteousness; and her chief care is to keep persons in ignorance, and from pondering the path of life or true religion, and to retain them in her idolatry, 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

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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 5:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are d moveable, [that] thou canst not know [them].

(d) She has always new means to allure to wickedness.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

her ways … know — Some prefer, “that she may not ponder the path of life,” etc.; but perhaps a better sense is, “her ways are varied, so as to prevent your knowledge of her true character, and so of true happiness.”

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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 5:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Lest — To prevent thy serious consideration.

Moveable — She transforms herself into several shapes, and has a thousand arts to ensnare.

Know — Thou canst not discover all her practice.

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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 5:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-5.html. 1765.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

LIFE’S LEVEL PATH

‘The level path of life … He maketh level all his paths.’

Proverbs 5:6; Proverbs 5:21 (R.V.).

I. It is a remarkable expression—‘the level path of life’; and there is great comfort in knowing that God is ever before us, levelling our pathway, taking insurmountable obstacles out of the way, so that our feet do not stumble.

II. It may be that you are facing a great mountain range of difficulty.—Before you obstacles, apparently insuperable, rear themselves like a giant wall to heaven. When you cross the Jordan there is also a Jericho, which appears to bar all further advance, and your heart fails. But you are bidden to believe that there is a level path right through those mighty barriers; a pass, as it is called. The walking there is easy and pleasant if only you will let yourself be led to it. God has made it, but you must find it. How we dread the thought of those steep cliffs! It seems as though we could never climb them; but if we would only look at the Lord instead of at the hills, if we would look above the hills to Jehovah, we should be able to rest in sure faith that He would show us the level path of life.

III. Your path is not level, but full of boulders, which have rolled down upon and choked it.—But may this not be partly due to your mistakes or sins, to your wilfulness and self-dependence? There are sorrows and trials in all lives, but these need not obstruct our progress. The text surely refers to those difficulties which threaten us with their arrest, putting barriers in our way. These would be levelled if we gave the direction of our lives more absolutely into God’s hands. When Peter reached the iron gate he found it open; when the women reached the sepulchre door they found the stone gone.

Illustration

‘The stability of a country depends wholly upon its home-life. So long as the homes are pure and God-fearing, it is impossible that its freedom or influence should be permanently obscured. Our strength is not in our arms, or ships, but in the purity of our manners, the elevation of the domestic ideal. Hence this book, which is the vade-mecum of a strong, sweet life, is so emphatic in denouncing impurity. Oh, that young men would lay this chapter to heart!’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/proverbs-5.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 5:6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, [that] thou canst not know [them].

Ver. 6. Lest thou shouldest ponder,] q.d., Lest thou shouldest persuade thyself that thou mayest embrace the bosom of a stranger, and yet lay hold upon the paths of life by repenting thee of thy folly - this was Solomon’s error sometimes [Ecclesiastes 1:17; Ecclesiastes 2:3] - thou art utterly deceived herein, for her ways are moveable, so that thou observest not whither she tendeth; she wanders here and there (and thou with her), yet not so wide as to miss hell; lo, that is the centre whereunto she is rolling, that is the rendezvous for all her associates in sin.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-5.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 5:6. Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life Houbigant renders this, She is far from following the way of life: her steps wander whither she herself knoweth not: which is very like the Chaldee. The design of the wise man seems to be, to point out the inconstancy, irregularity, and wickedness, of the strange woman's life. Her ways are inconstant; she is not attached to her husband, or to any one man, but abandons herself to the first comer; has neither knowledge, wisdom, nor discernment; she has no other rule than her passion, no other end than her pleasure. She is profligate, and wholly lost, says Schultens; affected neither by the fear of God, nor the care of her own salvation. See ch. Proverbs 2:18-19.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-5.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, to prevent thy serious consideration of the way and manner of rescuing thyself from this deadly course of life.

Movable; various and changeable. She transforms herself into several shapes, to accommodate herself to the humours of her lovers, and hath a thousand arts and deceits to ensnare them, and hold them fast.

Thou canst not know them; thou canst not discover all her subtle practices, and much less deliver thyself from them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". 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

6.Her ways are movable — She continually varies her allurements.

Thou canst not — Or dost not.

Know them — It is impossible to conceive all the tricks and arts of her infernal trade. Beware of them. The verse is obscure, owing to the fact that in the Hebrew verb the form of the third person singular feminine and the second person singular masculine are the same, and it is difficult in this case to determine whether to translate she or thou. Zockler renders, “The path of life she never treadeth; her steps stray, she knows not whither.” Stuart, “That she may not ponder the path of life, her ways are become unsteady while she regards it not.” To the same purpose others. Conant, “That thou mayest not ponder, etc., her paths waver ere thou knowest.” “She weigheth not the way of life; her paths are movable; thou canst not know them.” — Geneva Bible. “For she goes not upon the paths of life; but her ways are slippery, and not easily known.” — Sept. The words describe with a terrible vividness the state of heart and soul which prostitution brings upon its victim; the reckless blindness that will not think, tottering to the abyss, yet loud in defiant mirth, ignoring the dreadful future. Our English version, however, is supported by some good authorities.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-5.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

They. Hebrew, "if perhaps thou ponder the path of life." (Pagnin) (Haydock) --- Or "she ponders not," &c. She walks inconsiderately, and consults only her passions, chap. vii. 10. (Calmet) --- No one can depend on her love. (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Lest thou shouldest ponder. Render: So that she findeth not the level path of life; her ways are unstable and she knoweth it not.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "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

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, (that) thou canst not know (them).

"Lest" expresses this-Her aim and tendency are toward death (Proverbs 5:6), so that thou canst not ponder the path of life (as I advised thee to do, Proverbs 4:26): do not, therefore, flatter thyself thou canst escape being dragged down with her "to death," if thou dost keep company with her. 'Her ways are so moveable' - i:e., so versatile, varied (Proverbs 30:18-19), and lubricous, and baffling all thy power of 'knowing them' (cf. Psalms 35:8, "at unawares;" Hebrew, 'which he knoweth not of'), that thou canst not escape destruction with her, unless thou standest quite aloof from her. Thou canst not touch pitch without being soiled by it.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "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

(6) Lest thou shouldest ponder . . .—The meaning of the English version appears to be, “To prevent thy choosing the path of life, she leads thee by devious paths that thou knowest not where thou art.” It may also be rendered, “Far from smoothing for herself the path of life, her steps wander without her observing it.” By these words is described the reckless career of a vicious woman, who at last dares not think whither her steps are leading her, but as it were with eyes shut, totters on till she falls to rise no more.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
ponder
4:26; Psalms 119:59
the path
11:19; Psalms 16:11
her
6:12,13; 7:10-21; 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-5.html.