Proverbs 5:9
Lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel:
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(9) Thine honour.—Rather, freshness, vigour.

Thy years.—The best years of thy life.

Unto the cruel.—That is the temptress herself, or her hangers-on and associates, whose sole idea is plunder.

5:1-14 Solomon cautions all young men, as his children, to abstain from fleshly lusts. Some, by the adulterous woman, here understand idolatry, false doctrine, which tends to lead astray men's minds and manners; but the direct view is to warn against seventh-commandment sins. Often these have been, and still are, Satan's method of drawing men from the worship of God into false religion. Consider how fatal the consequences; how bitter the fruit! Take it any way, it wounds. It leads to the torments of hell. The direct tendency of this sin is to the destruction of body and soul. We must carefully avoid every thing which may be a step towards it. Those who would be kept from harm, must keep out of harm's way. If we thrust ourselves into temptation we mock God when we pray, Lead us not into temptation. How many mischiefs attend this sin! It blasts the reputation; it wastes time; it ruins the estate; it is destructive to health; it will fill the mind with horror. Though thou art merry now, yet sooner or later it will bring sorrow. The convinced sinner reproaches himself, and makes no excuse for his folly. By the frequent acts of sin, the habits of it become rooted and confirmed. By a miracle of mercy true repentance may prevent the dreadful consequences of such sins; but this is not often; far more die as they have lived. What can express the case of the self-ruined sinner in the eternal world, enduring the remorse of his conscience!Thine honor - i. e., "The grace and freshness of thy youth" (compare Hosea 14:6; Daniel 10:8). The thought of this is to guard the young man against the sins that stain and mar it. The slave of lust sacrifices "years" that might have been peaceful and happy to one who is merciless. 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.

Thine honour; thy dignity and reputation, the strength and rigour of thy body and mind, which is an honour to a man, and which are commonly wasted by adulterous practices.

Unto others; unto whores, and their husbands, and children, and friends.

Thy years; the flower of thine age, thy youthful years.

Unto the cruel; to the harlot, who though she pretends ardent love and kindness to thee, yet in truth is one of the most cruel creatures in the world, wasting thy estate and, body without the least pity, and then casting thee off with scorn. and contempt; and when her interest requires it, taking away thy very life, of which there are innumerable examples, and damning thy soul for ever. Lest thou give thine honour unto others,.... To strumpets, their children, attendants, servants, and friends; that is, either wealth or riches, which make men honourable; or their three, credit, and reputation, which are lost by keeping company with such persons; or the outward comeliness of the body, and inward rigour of the mind, which are impaired by adulterous practices. The Targum renders it, "thy strength"; and so the Syriac version, "thy strength of body", which is enervated by such impurities; see Proverbs 31:3; compare with this the kings of the earth that commit fornication with the whore of Rome, giving their power and strength to the beast, Revelation 17:2. Jarchi's note is,

"lest thine heart has respect to other gods, to give them the glory of thine honour and praise;''

and so understands it not of corporeal but of spiritual adultery or idolatry: the Septuagint and Arabic versions are, "thy life"; which agrees with what follows;

and thy years unto the cruel; youthful years, the flower of age, consumed by the cruel lust of uncleanness, which preys upon and wastes both body and substance, and cuts them off in the prime of days; and deprives of years which otherwise, according to the course of nature, and in all probability, might be arrived unto: so harlots, in Plautus (o), are said to sup the blood of men, and to deprive of goods, light, honour, and friends (p). And the harlot herself may be here meant; who, when she has got what she can, has no pity on the man she has ruined, and even will not stick to take away his life upon occasion; as well as is the cause and means of the damnation of his soul: or the jealous husband of the adulterous woman, who will not spare the adulterer when taken by him; or her brethren, her relations and friends; or her other gallants and co-rivals, who, when they have opportunity, will avenge themselves; or the civil magistrate, who executes judgment without mercy on such delinquents, this being a sin punished with death. Jarchi interprets the "cruel" of the prince of hell, the devil; and so the Midrash of the angel of death. The character well agrees with the antichristian beast, the whore of Rome; who, by her sorceries and fornications, has destroyed millions of souls.

(o) Bacchides, Acts 3. Sc. 1. v. 5. & Sc. 3. v. 67. (p) Truculentus, Acts 2. Sc. 7. v. 20.

Lest thou give thine {e} honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

(e) That is, your strength and goods to her who will have no pity on you as is read of Samson and the prodigal son.

9. others] instead of to thine own, Proverbs 5:15; Proverbs 5:17. Comp. Proverbs 5:10.

the cruel] The Heb. noun is masc. sing. and is intended perhaps vividly to describe the sin with its cruel consequences (Proverbs 6:26; Proverbs 6:31-35; Proverbs 7:22-23; Proverbs 7:26) as a merciless personal Avenger. LXX. ἀνελεήμοσιν, taking the Heb. word apparently as a collective noun.Verse 9. - The reasons why the harlot is to be avoided follow in rapid succession. Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel. The word rendered "honour" (Hebrew, hod) is not so much reputation, as the English implies, as "the grace and freshness of youth." It is so used in Hosea 14:6; Daniel 10:8. The Vulgate renders "honour," and the LXX., ζώη, "life." Hod is derived from the Arabic word signifying "to lift one's self up," and then "to be eminent, beautiful." Thy years; i.e. the best and most vigorous, and hence the most useful and valuable, years of life. Unto the cruel (Hebrew, l'ak'zari); literally, to the cruel one; but the adjective akzari is only found in the singular, and may be here used in a collective sense as designating the entourage of the harlot, her associates who prey pitilessly on the youth whom they bring within the range of her fascinations. So Delitzsch. It seems to be so understood by the LXX., which reads ἀνελεήμοσιν, immitentibus; but not so by the Vulgate, which adheres to the singular, crudeli. If we adhere to the gender of the adjective akzari, which is masculine, and to its number, it may designate the husband of the adulteress, who will deal mercilessly towards the paramour of his wife. So Zockler. Again, it may refer, notwithstanding the gender, to the harlot herself (so Vatablus and Holden). who is cruel, who has no love for the youth, and would see him perish without pity. The explanation of Stuart and others, including Ewald, that the "cruel one" is the purchaser of the punished adulterer, is without foundation or warrant, since there is no historical instance on record where the adulterer was reduced to slavery, and the punishment inflicted by the Mosaic code was not slavery, but death (Numbers 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22), and, as it appears from Ezekiel 16:40 and John 8:5, death from stoning. The adjective akzari, like its equivalent akzar, is derived from the verb kazar, "to break," and occurs again in Proverbs 11:17; Proverbs 12:10; Proverbs 17:11. The moral of the warning is a wasted life. זרה denotes the wife who belongs to another, or who does not belong to him to whom she gives herself or who goes after her (vid., Proverbs 2:16). She appears here as the betrayer of youth. The poet paints the love and amiableness which she feigns with colours from the Song of Songs, Sol 4:11, cf. Sol 5:16. נפת denotes the honey flowing of itself from the combs (צוּפים), thus the purest and sweetest; its root-word is not נוּף, which means to shake, vibrate, and only mediately (when the object is a fluid) to scatter, sprinkle, but, as Schultens has observed, as verb נפת equals Arab. nafat, to bubble, to spring up, nafath, to blow, to spit out, to pour out. Parchon places the word rightly under נפת (while Kimchi places it under נוּף after the form בּשׁת), and explained it by חלות דבשׁ היצאים מי הכוורת קודם ריסוק (the words דבשׁ היוצא should have been used): the honey which flows from the cells before they are broken (the so-called virgin honey). The mouth, חך equals Arab. ḥink (from חנך, Arab. hanak, imbuere, e.g., after the manner of Beduins, the mouth of the newly-born infant with date-honey), comes into view here, as at Proverbs 8:7, etc., as the instrument of speech: smoother than oil (cf. Psalm 55:22), it shows itself when it gives forth amiable, gentle, impressive words (Proverbs 2:16, Proverbs 6:24); also our "schmeicheln" ( equals to flatter, caress) is equivalent to to make smooth and fair; in the language of weavers it means to smooth the warp.
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