PROVERBS CHAPTER 7.
Condemnation of Fornication and Adultery.
On account of the terrible devastation wrought by sins of adultery and by every gratification of sexual desires outside of holy wedlock, affecting not only the sinners themselves, but the entire social body, Solomon continues his warning in this entire chapter in a very concrete and effective manner, the subject being introduced with the usual impressive admonitions to heed and follow true wisdom. V. 1. My son, keep my words, observing his sayings, and lay up my commandments with thee, like a precious treasure, to be used with discretion. V. 2. Keep my commandments and live, true life following the exercise of true wisdom, and my law as the apple of thine eye, literally, “as the little man of thine eye,” emblem of a very precious possession, guarded with the greatest care. V. 3. Bind them upon thy fingers, like an ornament or ring, to serve as a constant reminder; write them upon the table of thine heart, for the remembering was to be not only in the mind, but in the heart, in true and eager love. V. 4. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister, with whom he should be united in the bonds of confidential fellowship; and call understanding thy kinswoman, in order to enjoy her counsel always, no mere distant acquaintance being sufficient, but a familiarity of relationship which would be of real value, v. 5. that they may keep thee from the strange woman, the harlots in Israel being originally foreigners, from the stranger which flattereth with her words, her object being to allure and seduce with smooth speeches. The author now brings an illustration from life in order to substantiate his argument. V. 6. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, through the lattice-work found on Oriental windows which face the street, v. 7. and beheld among the simple ones, those inexperienced in matters of this life, in the ways of men, I discerned among the youths, the youngsters, those in the dangerous age when they resent instruction, a young man void of understanding, clearly lacking in judgment, v. 8. passing through the street near her corner, where harlots were accustomed to linger for the purpose of accosting; and he went the way to her house, the very slow sauntering, strolling, or pacing being a sign of imprudence, v. 9. in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night, the heaping of expressions fitting the actions of the young man as belonging to the works of darkness; v. 10. and, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, the Hebrew expression referring either to indecent exposure or to a decorating of the bosom to draw attention to its charms, and subtile of heart, hypocritical and two-faced, simulating faithfulness and love in the presence of her husband, but flattering .strange men in wanton abandonment. (V. 11. She is loud, stormily excited, and stubborn, ungovernable; her feet abide not in her house, where her duty to her husband should have kept her; v. 12. now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner, her progress from before her own door to the street and then to the intersection of streets being graphically portrayed.) V. 13. So she caught him and kissed him, such kisses being the very essence of unchastity, and with an impudent face said unto him, literally, “she put on a bold face in inviting him,” v. 14. I have peace-offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows, that is, she had, on the day which was just coming to a close or had closed with sundown, brought a thank-offering to the Lord, the rule being that the flesh must be eaten at a sacrificial meal on the second day, at the latest, Lev. 7, 16. It was this meal which she wanted the young man to share with her, in the privacy of her own chambers. V. 15. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, the flattery consisting in her singling out this victim, as though he alone had been in her thoughts, whereas practically any other man would have answered her purpose just as well, and I have found thee. V. 16. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with beautiful and costly upholstering and pillows, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt, that is, with variegated coverlets of Egyptian linen. V. 17. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon, sprinkling it with sweet-smelling spices. V. 18. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us solace ourselves with loves, the intoxicating quality of illicit love being brought out very strongly. V. 19. For the goodman, of whom the wife speaks in a cold and distant manner, is not at home, he is gone a long journey, the implication being that he is far enough away and they need fear no discovery; v. 20. he hath taken a bag of money with him, this showing that his business was important and took some time, and will come home at the day appointed, he had named the day of the next full moon as the day of his return. In this way the wanton woman met all possible objections of her victim in advance. V.21. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, she brought him around, she broke down his resistance, with the flattering of her lips she forced him, the young man being no match for the skilful and enticing rhetoric which the adulteress knew to employ. V. 22. He goeth after her straightway, at once, with passionate promptness, the text indicating that this is always the case in similar situations, as an ox goeth to the slaughter or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, that is, as one who has lost his right mind is caught and fettered, v. 23. till a dart strike through his liver, an arrow dividing his vital organs; as a bird hasteth to the snare and knoweth not that it is for his life, the young man of the story and all victims like him not realizing that their life, their soul’s welfare, is at stake. V. 24. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth, this exhortation receiving added weight on account of the story to which it is attached. V. 25. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, those of the harlot, go not astray in her paths. V. 26. For she hath cast down many wounded, many are those who have fallen victims to her wiles; yea, many strong men have been slain by her, both in body and soul. V. 27. Her house is the way to hell, literally, “ways of hell her house,” going down to the chambers of death. That is the inevitable consequence of an immoral life: eternal destruction in the abyss of hell.