Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
Pr 5:1-23. A warning against the seductive arts of wicked women, enforced by considering the advantages of chastity, and the miserable end of the wicked.
1. This connection of wisdom and understanding is frequent (Pr 2:2; 3:7); the first denotes the use of wise means for wise ends; the other, the exercise of a proper discrimination in their discovery.
That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
2. regard—or, "observe."
For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
3. (Compare Pr 2:16). Her enticing promises are deceitful.
But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
4. her end—literally, "her future," in sense of reward, what follows (compare Ps 37:37; 73:17). Its nature is evinced by the use of figures, opposite those of Pr 5:3. The physical and moral suffering of the deluded profligate are notoriously terrible.
Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
5. feet … , steps—that is, course of life ends in death.
Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
6. her ways … know—Some prefer, "that she may not ponder the path of life," &c.; 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."
Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:
8, 9. Avoid the slightest temptation.
Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:
9. thine honour—in whatever consisting, strength (Pr 3:13) or wealth.
thy years—by cutting them off in dissipation.
unto the cruel—for such the sensual are apt to become.
Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
10. wealth—literally, "strength," or the result of it.
labours—the fruit of thy painful exertions (Ps 127:2). There may be a reference to slavery, a commuted punishment for death due the adulterer (De 22:22).
And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
11. at the last—the end, or reward (compare Pr 5:4).
mourn—roar in pain.
flesh and … body—the whole person under incurable disease.
And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
12-14. The ruined sinner vainly laments his neglect of warning and his sad fate in being brought to public disgrace.
And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
14. evil—for affliction, as in Ge 19:20; 49:15.
Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
15-20. By figures, in which well, cistern, and fountain [Pr 5:15, 18] represent the wife, and rivers of waters [Pr 5:16] the children, men are exhorted to constancy and satisfaction in lawful conjugal enjoyments. In Pr 5:16, fountains (in the plural) rather denote the produce or waters of a spring, literally, "what is from a spring," and corresponds with "rivers of waters."
Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.
Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
17. only thine own—harlots' children have no known father.
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
18. wife … youth—married in youth.
Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
19. loving … roe—other figures for a wife from the well-known beauty of these animals.
breasts—(Compare So 1:13; Eze 23:3, 8).
ravished—literally, "intoxicated," that is, fully satisfied.
And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
21. The reason, God's eye is on you,
His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
22, 23. and He will cause sin to bring its punishment.
He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
23. without instruction—literally, "in want of instruction," having refused it (compare Job 13:18; Heb 11:24).
go astray—literally, "be drunken." The word "ravished" (Pr 5:19) here denotes fulness of punishment.