Proverbs Chapter 7
We now turn to Chapter 7 of the Book of Proverbs. While Chapter 6 warned of the financial and social loss from being seduced into adultery, here we will see “the adulterating wife’s seductive tactics.”
In this book we have two lectures; the first begins in vs. 1 and the second in vs. 24 with the familiar phrase “my son(s).” Therefore, we have the 15th and 16th of the 17 lectures of Chapters 1-8.
Once again we have the principle of repeat, repeat, repeat for inculcation and application!
This chapter gives us the fourth and final lesson warning against adultery in the opening sections of the Book of Proverbs; cf. Prov 2:16-19; 5:1-23; 6:20-35. And is linked very closely with the first, Prov 2:16-19 through the verbal similarities of their introductions, cf. 2:16 with 7:5, and of their conclusions, cf. 2:18-19 with 7:26-27. In addition, this chapter’s abstract statements about the dire consequences of adultery, vs. 22-23, 26-27 assume the specific punishments presented in the second and third lessons, Prov 5:9-14; 6:32-35, even though not mentioned here.
In this chapter there are three topics, subject matters, or lessons addressed to the naïve or inexperienced son, cf. vs. 7, which consists of:
The Paternal Appeal: An opening exhortation regarding the importance of Bible Doctrine, vs. 1-5.
A Sad Example: A lengthy narrative poem describing how the naïve fall into sin, emphasizing the behavior that leads to adultery, vs. 6-23.
A Concluding Appeal: A closing exhortation, warning the son of the consequences of the destructive life style for the foolish adulterer, vs. 24-27.
The Paternal Appeal:
- We begin with, “The Father’s Introductory Command that Calls for His Son’s Attention, Verses 1-4,” first plainly, vs. 1-2, and then figuratively, vs. 3-4.
Prov 7:1, “My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you.”
It begins with the Qal Imperative command for the “son” (BENIY) to “keep or guard” (SHAMAR, 2:20; 3:26; 4:4) and “treasure”, (Prov 2:1b, TSAPHAN צָפַן, Qal Imperfect, “to hide, store, or treasure up.” That is, “concealment for the purposes of protection and safety”, cf. Prov 2:1, 7), God’s Word as taught by the father, i.e., “my words”, (EMER), and “my commandments”, (MITSWAH).
Psa 119:11, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
The “words” taught by the father stand sharply opposed to the words of the adulteress, cf. Prov 7:5, 13, 26.
Then in Prov 7:2 we have, “Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye.”
This verse once again emphasizes the importance of the parental precepts, the importance of Bible Doctrine. The first half of vs. 2 is equivalent to Prov 4:4b, where the command continues with “keep”, (SHAMAR), once again, but this time linked directly with “commandments”, (MITSWAH).
Here we also have a benefit from guarding Bible Doctrine in our soul, “live!”, in the Qal Imperative of (CHAYAH, “to live or remain alive.”). It is another short affirmation that the son’s precious life is at stake, cf. Prov 6:26b.
The promise of abundant life by following the father (God the Father), contrasts starkly with the threat of eternal death from following the adulteress (Satan and his cosmic system), vs. 27; cf. Prov 2:16-17.
The command continues in the second half of the verse where we have an idiom to “keep” the “teachings” (TORAH) of the father as “the apple of your eye.” Literally in the Hebrew it is, “the pupil of your eye” where “pupil” is (IYSHON, אִישׁוֹן) and “eye” is (AYIN). It comes to mean, a precious thing to be guarded with the utmost care, cf. Duet 32:10; Psa 17:8.
“This idiom seems to have originally meant the “small man of your eye,” perhaps because a person is reflected in someone else’s pupil, and so looks like a miniature person looking out (albeit upside-down).” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Psa 17:8, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
Our Lord tells us of the importance of the eye in regard to learning and applying truth in Mat 6:22-23.
Mat 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23“But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
“Pupil” – IYSHON is also found in this chapter in vs. 9, giving us a contrast between dwell in the Word of God and dwelling in the presence of the adulteress, where it is used for the darkness of night. As the pupil of the eye is dark or black, so is night – the adulteress’ dwelling place.
Then in Prov 7:3 we have another familiar exhortation, “Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”
In this passage instead of “bind and tie” as we had in Prov 6:21 we have “Bind” (QASHAR) and “write”, (KATHAB, “to write, record, enroll”.)
In Prov 3:3 the son was exhorted to bind his father’s teachings around his own neck. Here “bind” is used with “finger,” which is an idiom for remembering something. As in our day, we tell someone to tie a string on their finger so that they do not forget something. Well, that is the meaning here too in regard to remembering the principles and precepts of God’s Word, cf. Deut 6:8, 11:18.
Another analogy for “bind and finger” is that of a wedding ring around the finger that symbolizes the union between the husband and wife. This too is rich with meaning when compared with vs. 4 below.
Then we have the means of remembering, “write them on the tablet of your heart”, as in Prov 3:3c.
As you know, the heart, or right lobe of your soul is where you store and retain Bible Doctrine. So writing “them”, (i.e., the commands and teaching of the father = Bible Doctrine), “on your heart”, (i.e., the right lobe of your soul), means to learn and store God’s Word in the heart of your soul through the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP).
The idea of “binding and writing” reflects the image of knowing God’s Word so well that it is an integral part of your life, cf. Deut 6:8f; 11:18, 20; Prov 3:3; 6:21. Therefore, we need to learn Bible Doctrine and have it stored within our souls so that we can recall it in application when it is needed; have it ready on the launching pad of your soul!
Then in Prov 7:4, it reads, “Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your intimate friend.”
Now we see that the command continues in vs. 4. The impersonal metaphor of “writing the teaching” is now replaced by the very personal metaphor of “marrying it”, as the worthiest object of pure and sincere love.
The Qal Imperative of “say”, AMAR, tells us that we need to tell “wisdom”, (CHOKMAH that equates to EPIGNOSIS doctrine of the New Testament), and “Understanding” (BIYNAH, that means “understanding, or discernment”, which is the application of EPIGNOSIS doctrine stored in the right lobe of your soul), that we have an intimate relationship with them.
“You are my sister”, cf. Song of Solomon 4:9-12; 5:1-2, and “intimate friend, relative or kinsman”, cf. Ruth 3:2, are idioms regarding marriage that speak to the close and personal relationship, the intimacy we should have with God’s Word. In other words, we should know it very well, and be very familiar with it!
“In Eighteenth Dynasty Egyptian material (ca. 1500-1300 B.C.), “sister” is a term of endearment for one’s beloved.” (Bruce Waltke, New International Commentary.).
This personification compares the young son’s relationship with wisdom and understanding to marriage, and contrasts this with an adulterous relationship, which is by implication foolish.
As an intimate companion, wisdom will protect the susceptible person from the enticements of the adulteress. Therefore, this action leads us to avoid the temptation of illicit lust, and our commitment to wisdom in an endearing relationship will protect us from the dangerous enticements of Satan’s Cosmic System.
Finally, in Prov 7:5 it reads, “That they may keep you from an adulteress, from the foreigner who flatters with her words.”
This verse repeats Prov 2:16 with the variation of one word.
“They may” is Bible doctrine stored and applied in the right lobe (heart) of your soul.
“Keep” is SHAMAR. This pun once again tells us that Bible Doctrine protects us from mental attitude and overt sins.
“Adulteress” is from two Hebrew words as we have seen previously, Prov 2:16. First is ISHSHAH that means “woman” and then ZUR that means “strange.” So “strange woman” is the literal translation, but refers to the “adulterous woman.” ZUR was used alone for the adulteress in Prov 5:3, 20.
“Foreigner” is NOKRIY, which we have also seen previously referring to the adulteress, Prov 2:16; 5:20; 6:24.
In Prov 2:16, NOKRIY was also accompanied by the Verb CHALAQ, “to divide, plunder”, in the Hiphil (causative), Perfect (completed action), that is used to mean “she has caused to be smooth” that is “she flatters”, which is cognate to the noun CHALQAH which we noted in Prov 6:24.
Therefore, as in Prov 6:20-24, the introductory commands of 7:1-4 conclude with a purpose clause, “that they may keep you”, that introduces the main subject, and section, of the poem, vs. 6-23 which is a vivid detail of the flattery of the adulterous woman as she tempts the naïve young man into a life of sin.
“This typical introduction aims at the adoption by the succeeding generations of the teaching that the conditions for life are “freedom within form, love within limits, and life within law.” (R. Van Leeuwan, Proverbs, pg 86 as quoted by Bruce Waltke, The New International Commentary)
Obeying our Father’s teaching and loving His wisdom will protect us from the temptation to indulge in extramarital immorality, and inoculate us against the flattery that smooths the way for our slide into sin.
This woman (Satan’s Cosmic System) is a “stranger” and a “foreigner” to our betrothal – The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we need God’s Word to be resident within our souls and applied daily so that we do not give over to her temptations. The believer is to love “wisdom” rather than the world, Satan’s Cosmic System.
In Prov 7:1-5, we have noted the importance of Bible Doctrine being resident in our soul so that we can apply it to everyday life, in the avoidance of sin and sin temptation. Therefore, the Word of God must be to you:
- That which you are most careful of.
We must protect Bible Doctrine in the right lobe of our soul (heart), as our most precious and valued treasure. We must store up God’s principles and precepts within us and watch over them within our soul, so that the “evil one” does not rob them from us by his cosmic system, vs. 1.
Likewise, we must guard God’s Word as we would our life and keep His mandates so that we live the unique spiritual life of the believer, especial of the Church Age believer, vs. 2.
We are to not only, “keep them, and you shall live;” but, “keep them as you would your own life, as one who cannot live without them.” It would be death to a good man, one with the integrity of God in his soul, to be deprived of the Word of God, because he lives, “by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and not by bread alone”, Duet 8:3; Mat 4:4; Luke 4:4.
- That which you treat as most tender in your soul:
In Prov 7:2b, when the father says, “keep my law (TORAH) as the apple of your eye”, we see the analogy that a very little thing can hurt or offend the eye, and therefore God has designed an incredible system to guard it. Therefore, we need to learn the lessons of the multiple faceted protection of the eye; from eye brows, to eyelashes, to eyelids, to tear deducts, to contraction and expansion in order to gain an appreciation for the diligence we must apply in protecting God’s Word in our souls, which too has multi-faceted provisions from God’s great design.
As a result, we pray, as David did that God keep us as the apple of His eye, Psa 17:8, and that our lives and logistical grace blessings be precious in His sight each and every day. And it will be so, Zech 2:8, if we are in like manner, tender of His mandates and avoid the least violation of them in order to continue to walk in fellowship with Him.
Zech 2:8, “For thus says the LORD of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”
Those who hate strict and prudent “walking” and say “it is needless preciseness”, do not consider that God’s Word is to be kept as the “apple of the eye”, for indeed, it is the apple of our eye. As you know God’s Word is light, and when His Word is in the heart of your soul, it is the eye of the soul.
Rom 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”
And we do so by following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Phil 2:8-9, “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”
1 Peter 1:14-16, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
- That which you are proud of and are ever mindful of:
In vs. 3, we are told to bind and write God’s Word to a visible and invisible part of our body; finger and heart respectfully. As such, we see the two-fold nature of God’s Word in our lives, 1) the invisible, that leads to 2) the visible.
By having God’s Word written upon your invisible heart, it will be part of your conscious thinking and being morning, noon, and night, Prov 6:22.
Where sin was written, Jer 17:1, let the Word of God be written. Because it is a matter of a promise, Heb 8:10, “I will write My law in their hearts”, which makes His precepts practicable and easy. Therefore, that which is written invisibly on the heart of your soul will show its self visibly as you live day-to-day.
Likewise, “binding” God’s Word on your finger has two analogies. The first is like tying a string around your finger so that you do not forget something, and the second carries the analogy of the binding covenant wedding ring that the newlywed couple places on each other’s finger that remains throughout their lives. In both examples, it acts as a constant memorandum of your daily duty to apply God’s Word. It reminds you to have God’s Word always in view, as that which is always before you in your work and service of the Lord.
It is not something hidden away in your dresser draw somewhere, but that which is out in the open, in the plain light of day for all to see and know.
- That which you are fond of, ever thinking of, intimately acquainted and conversant with:
In vs. 4, both analogies speak to the union between a right man and right woman. It speaks to the familiar relationship we should have with God’s Word. It tells you to let the Word of God dwell richly in you, and be written there, where it will always be at hand, ready to apply.
Col 3:16-17, “Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
We must make the Word of God familiar to ourselves, consulting it and its honor and integrity, by taking pleasure in conversing with it morning, noon, and night.
- That which you make use of for your defense and armor:
In vs. 5 we have SHAMAR once again that speaks to the guardian and protectorate that is God’s Word over our souls, and therefore our lives, cf. Phil 6:10-17.
Ultimately, God’s Word keeps us from Satan and his cosmic system, personified as “the strange woman”, “the foreigner” or “adulteress.” God’s Word protects us from sin, especially that flattery which so greatly destroys, and that adulteress, who leads many to unholiness, unrighteousness, and uncleanness before the Lord.
Therefore, we must let the Word of God confirm the evilness of sin and our dread of it so that we have the right resolve to avoid it, and / or recover from it. And let God’s Word be to you as a child who discovers a new thing every day, seeing the fallacies of sin and providing for all the answers we need to combat all the flatteries of sin.
Heb 4:12, “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
1 John 2:14b, “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
In Prov 7:6-23 we have the second topic within the first lecture of Chapter 7.
A Sad Example:
- Here we have a lengthy narrative poem describing, “How the Naïve Fall into Sin, Emphasizing the Behavior that Leads to Adultery.” It is one of the longest poetic narratives in the Bible, cf. Judges 5, to teach a moral lesson.
This is the main body of the chapter that presents the argument in the form of a dramatic, almost autobiographical narrative, Prov 7:6-7; cf. 4:1-9. In it, the father characterizes the adulteress’ dress, cunning motives, essential nature (“turbulent, rebellious, never staying at home”) and aggressive actions (grabbing, kissing, etc.).
Above all, he pays attention to her speech, which rivals the father’s, in her attempt to lure the son away from his inherited wisdom by her glimmering possibilities.
By contrast, the gullible youth is characterized only by the short epithet “who lacked sense”, vs. 7c.
The father’s conclusion admonishes the son to stay clear of the adulteress, vs. 24-27, including an address and a call to resolute obedience, vs. 24-25, with renewed arguments, vs. 26-27.
The go-between verse between the introduction and the body, like those in the other three lectures, states that his aim is to protect his son against the smooth (CHALAQ) tongue of the strange woman, Prov 2:16; 5:2-3; 6:24; 7:5.
There are also four verses for each part of the introduction to the narrative (vv. 6-9, 10-13, balanced by four full lines for its conclusion, vs. 21-23), framing seven (the number of completion) full lines devoted to the speech itself, vs. 14-20. Note too, the use of the root EMER, “to say” in vs. 5 & 13b, contrasting the father’s words to the adulteress’.
- Verses 6-9, The Role of the Man in this Relationship:
It begins with the father’s action.
Prov 7:6, “For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice.”
Once again we have KI that is translated “for” and means “because”. It explains why the lecture is necessary. So this verse begins the reason why the father emphasized the importance of Bible Doctrine in vs. 1-5. So KI shows that the following narrative is far from being an unrelated story to the teaching mentioned in vs. 1-5, and shows the consequences of not properly responding to that teaching.
The phrase “I looked down” is the verb SHAQAPH, שָׁקַף, means, “to overlook, look down or out, overhang, look out and down.” In the Niphal (passive or reflexive), it means, “to lean over and look, or look down.”
It symbolizes the father’s distance from her world and his looking down on it from a different world-and-life view. Just as the believer should have Divine view compared to the unbeliever or reversionistic believer, who has cosmic or worldly viewpoint.
By the father saying that he saw these events from his window, he quickly assumes the role of “omniscient” narrator, since he:
- Watches the youth walking through the town, 8.
- Witnesses their meeting, 10, 13.
- Overhears her words, 14-20.
- Sees the end from the beginning, 21ff.
- See all even though it is in the dark, 9.
Not only this, but he knows that the young man is naïve, vs. 7, and intentionally going to her house, vs. 8, and that she is there in order to meet him, vs. 10.
Viewing through a wooden lattice or shutter tells us that the father could see without being seen; another parallel example of our Father in heaven.
In addition, even if she lived next to or across from the watcher, and even if his window were on a second floor (as the lattice may imply), he could not have seen or known all of this, nor is it probable that the woman would have attempted seduction by shouting to him! Therefore, all of this tells us of the great interest that God our Father watches over every aspect of our lives. He is always watching and caring for us.
Prov 7:7, “And I saw among the naive, and discerned among the youths A young man lacking sense.”
Here is the role of the young man where “among the naïve” is used as a plural (PETHAYIM the plural of PETHI) speaking of many naïve ones that the son is among. Therefore, when God is watching, He sees all of mankind, the great and the small.
In addition, “lacking sense”, (CHASER LEB – lacking in heart); there are many who lack Bible Doctrine in the right lobe of their soul (heart) here on planet earth.
The “naïve one lacking sense” is one without much experience applying God’s Word to help him make wise decisions. It refers to the young man who refused to make commitments to wisdom before entering the city, and so is easy prey to the wicked, cf. Prov 1:20.
“Discerned among the youths”; see 1:2b, means that he used his senses along with intellectual discernment from the Word of God resident in his soul, for interpretation to get understanding of the whole situation, cf. Prov 24:32.
“Among the sons”, is a parallel to the gullible and connotes the intimate relationship they should have had with their fathers, cf. Prov 1:8; 4:3, and connotes the failed transition from one generation to the next in the teaching of Bible Doctrine. So the inexperienced, gullible youth, Prov 1:4, who is on the threshold of maturity, is about to betray the relationship with his family and father and to squander the family’s heritage cf. Prov 5.
Therefore, education means that every generation does not need to rediscover everything for itself, but can “stand on the shoulders” of previous generations, by learning from those who in their turn learned from others before them. Therefore, we have doctrines today that we teach that are not newly discovered but ones that have been tried, and shown to be true by those who have gone before us. We saw this in the recent controversy regarding the doctrines of the “Filling of the Holy Spirit” and “Rebound Technique”, (the confession of our sins), from 1 John 1:9. This story, like all the stories found in scripture are told not to entertain us but to instruct those who are naive, those who have not yet learned these lessons, which includes every believer at some point in time.
In addition, “lacks in heart” is a unique expression in Proverbs. And to be “lacking in heart” is condemned and warned against throughout Proverbs, cf. 6:32; 9:4, 16; 10:13, 21; 11:20; 12:11; 15:21; 17:18; 24:30. It means to be without doctrine in your soul, or not applying whatever doctrine you have in your soul. It is not having EPIGNOSIS doctrine, not having wisdom, discernment, or understanding of life’s situations, whereby you apply God’s Word for positive results.
Prov 7:8, “Passing through the street near her corner; and he takes the way to her house.”
Here we see that the Father observes our every step.
Although it is possible that being naïve, he was ignorant of his peril; it seems more likely that this wayward son was meandering through his own town or village hoping to eventually bump into the adulteress. It tells us that he most likely knows what he is doing or is about to do is wrong, yet he continues on this path anyway towards the place where sin lies. This is an example of “feet running rapidly toward evil.”
Therefore, by lacking a firm-commitment to the right way, cf. vs. 1-4, he also lacks the sense to not put himself into moral jeopardy by straying into her path, see vs. 25.
Prov 7:9, “In the twilight, in the evening, in the middle (ISHON – pupil) of the night and in the darkness.”
Four words in this verse progress from twilight to darkness. The third temporal expression (literally, “in the pupil of the night”; cf. vs. 2b) is used for “time” in Prov 20:20, so that the phrase refers to the moment when darkness falls. This is also understood in the sense of the black (i.e., as the pupil is black) of night, an expression which is parallel to “deep darkness.”
So the four-fold emphasis may be an attempt to show how long he was wandering about, but these temporal designations are synonyms, not temporally progressive to each other, which emphasizes that all of this took place in the dark of night, which is when sinners typically “come out to play.”
Job 24:15, “The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye will see me.’ and he disguises his face.”
1 Thes 5:7-8, “For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”
So the darkness symbolizes the moral darkness of the strange woman and at the same time the dark fate that is now “approaching” her young and naïve victim.
As Robert L. Alden wrote, “If you want to avoid the devil, stay away from his neighborhood. If you suspect you might be vulnerable to a particular sin, take steps to avoid it.” (Proverbs: A Commentary on an Ancient Book of Timeless Advice, p. 63, as quoted in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty.)
- Verses 10-21, The Role of the Woman.
In vs. 10-13, we see the father characterize the adulteress in terms of her dress and approach as a prostitute / harlot in vs. 10, her inward disposition as loud and stubborn, vs. 11, her dwelling place for hunting prey on the streets and plazas, vs. 12, and her brash tactics, vs. 13, so that his son will be forewarned and so forearmed.
As we have seen, Bible Doctrine forewarns you of the dangers of life and Satan’s Cosmic system, and forearms you with the right defensive and offensive weaponry to be victorious in every battle in your soul.
Prov 7:10, “And behold, a woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.”
Here we see the woman is coming out to meet the meandering and unwise young man, (the one who is not diligently studying the teachings of God’s Word and does not have a personal sense of destiny), in order to lure him into her trap.
“The Father foreshadowed her in vv. 5 and 8, but now he dramatically puts her on the stage, characterizing her by her bold approach in a titillating harlot’s dress, the hidden designs she harbors in her heart, and her brazen, confrontational kiss.” (Bruce Waltke, New International Commentary.)
“Meet” is the verb QARA, קָרָא, that means, “to call, to invoke, to name, to appoint, to summon, to read, to encounter, or to befall.” In the Qal Infinitive, it means she “keeps on calling” out for him. That is, she is searching for him as he is wandering by her house in the hopes that he “bumps” into her.
Here we see the irony, where “to call” on someone means to court them or date them with integrity. But here there is no integrity in sight by either party, as we have seen.
“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou oh Romeo.” Yet this is not her true love!
In addition, this is where we get the old term, “call girl” from, which is a euphemism for a prostitute, which is our next phrase, “dressed as a harlot.”
“Dressed” is the noun SHIYTH, שִׁית, which means, “clothed or garment.”
“Harlot” is the Particle form of the verb ZANAH, meaning “to fornicate or to prostitute,” and comes to mean, “a professional prostitute,” Deut 23:18, or “women who commit fornication for other reasons,” Hosea 4:14. It is used both literally and figuratively.
This poem does not directly call her a prostitute. It merely describes her wearing the type of bold clothing that would have identified her as a prostitute to anyone in that culture, cf. Gen 38:14-19, which was used to lure in her prey.
Her bold attire matches her bold approach for meeting him, and as we will see below, this combined boldness tells us that she knows no shame, cf. Prov 30:20.
Prov 30:20, “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, “I have done no wrong.”
Those who have been living inside of Satan’s cosmic system for a prolonged amount of time are blind to the sin in which they are living in.
As we have previously noted, figuratively, harlot is used for Israel’s improper relationships with other nations, Isa 23:17; Ezek 23:30; Nah 3:4; or other gods Ex 34:15, 16; Deut 31:16; Ezek 6:9; Hosea 9:1. As a metaphor, it describes Israel’s breach of the Lord’s covenant relationship, Ex 34:16.
Therefore, the warning here is against having relations with this type of woman (Satan’s cosmic system) as is later urged in Prov 23:27; 29:3.
Prov 23:27, “For a harlot is a deep pit and an adulterous woman is a narrow well.”
Prov 29:3, “A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.”
Then we have “cunning of heart” which is NATSAR, נָצַר, and LEB, לֵב. NATSAR is one of two words used throughout Proverbs for “guarding, preserving, or keeping.” SHAMAR is the other that we have been noting.
Even though they have been used in regard to guarding doctrine in your soul and doctrine guarding your soul, here it has a unique and negative connotation of being “crafty, cunning, or wily.” This may be the result of concealing her illicit activities from her husband, vs. 19f, but may also refer to the non-emotional nature of this relationship, from her point of view. Clearly the NASB translators saw it as a devious mental attitude, one who is setting a trap or laying a snare for her victims, which is described later in this poem.
In the Qal Passive it means the woman receives the action of the verb. She has received this way of thinking by residing inside of Satan’s cosmic system over a long period of time, by allowing her sin nature to rule her soul. Therefore, her outward dress, which seems to promise her victim her body, conceals her secret intention to use him to gratify her own lusts, which the observant father insightfully entails knowing her intent.
Next we turn to Prov 7:11, and we will see what we can buy at the “7Eleven.” lol
Prov 7:11, “She is boisterous and rebellious; her feet do not remain at home.”
“Boisterous” is the Verb HAMAH, הָמָה, that means, “to murmur, growl, roar, or be boisterous.” It describes many types of sounds, but here and Prov 9:13, it describes the noisy harlot and her aggressive course of behavior. It sums up the noisy movements of this street woman.
Prov 9:13, “The woman of folly is boisterous, she is naive and knows nothing.”
“Rebellious” is the Verb SARAR, סָרַר, that means, “to be stubborn, obstinate, or rebellious.” Its synonymous word, MARAH, carries more of the “rebellion” force, where SARAR carries the stubborn or obstinate nature. It refers to the person who will not change their ways even though they have been told over and over again that what they are doing is wrong, or have seen failure over and over again but pursue the same course. Her defiance here is ultimately against God’s laws and her marriage vows.
So we see that this is not the first rodeo for this “call girl”, as noted in the second part of the verse; “Her feet do not remain at home.”
“Do not remain” is the Verb SHAKAN, שָׁכַן, that means, “to stay, abide, dwell, etc.” Here with the negative LO it represents the wandering nature of this woman, especially in regard to her right man, as noted in “at home.”
SHAKAN is used positively throughout the Old Testament for God dwelling among His people or vice versa, Ex 25:8; 29:42-46; 1 Kings 6:13; cf. John 1:14. And in fact, the cognate term SHAKINAH representing the dwelling glory of Christ also speaks to its usage.
So we see the spiritual parallel that this woman does not have a relationship with the Lord, even though she “plays church” from time to time acting religious as noted in vs. 14, but having no true relationship with the Lord. Rather than dwelling in the Word of God, Prov 8:12, she resides inside of Satan’s cosmic system, being ruled by her sin nature. She is anything but the religious woman she makes herself out to be.
Therefore, we have the wandering and meandering naïve young man being greeted and embraced by the wandering wife. Both are operating in sin on a consistent basis, and both are devoid of Bible Doctrine in the heart of their soul.
Next we have Verse 12 that sure sounds like a 7Eleven, that is, you can find one on every corner! Lol
Prov 7:12, “She is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner.”
Interestingly, “now” is used twice in this verse, which is PAAM, פַּעַם, a noun in the Hebrew that means, “foot, step, or time”, where its root means, to “thrust, impel, or beat persistently.” It differs from the more common word for “time”, ETH that indicates an event occurring in a particular setting. PAAM then often implies a recurring occasion. So once again, this is not the first rodeo she has been to.
It also relates back to “feet” in vs. 11, as PAAM sometimes refers to a person’s walk or lifestyle before God, Psa 17:5; 119:133. As we have seen, this woman is operating in a manner that excludes God and His Word from her life. In addition, the feet are seen as a vulnerable part of the body with which a person can stumble, be tripped, or caught by enemies, Psa 57:6; Prov. 29:5, whereas the adulterous woman is trying to ensnare the unwise young man.
“Streets, squares and corner” (CHUTS, RECHOB and PINNAH) tell us of the ever-present and omnipresent trap that she lays out in the streets, in the plaza, and in the city.
Sin is ever present waiting to tempt you.
This woman lies in ambush, cf. 1:11, 18, wherever she can, and PINNAH expands the interpretation of “her corner/house” in vs. 8, since the whole town is her territory. Therefore, discretion needed to avoid her does not depend on knowing where she lives, but lies in recognizing her for what she is when you encounter her, since she waits to ambush the naive passerby.
This too tells us what sin does as well; it waits to ambush your soul and take it over. Our Lord conveyed this to Cain in Gen 4:7b, “Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
This is seen in the word “Lurks”, the Qal Imperfect (for incomplete or ongoing action) Verb, ARAB, אָרַב, that means, “to lie in wait, to ambush, or to lurk.”
Prov 23:28, “Surely she lurks as a robber, and increases the faithless among men.”
As the naïve approach her trap, she springs the snare and captures them with her wily ways.
Prov 7:13, “So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face she says to him.”
“Seizes” is the Verb CHAZAQ, חָזַק, that means, “to grasp, be strong, or firm, i.e., determined to do something.” In the Hiphil (declarative here) Perfect (completed action), “grasping” something or someone is the nuance here. This picks up from vs. 10, where she steps out to meet him face-to-face, and now she grabs hold of him.
Waltke notes, “Her direct and bold acts reveal her tyrannical resolve to conquer her victim.”
“Kisses” is the Verb NASHAQ, נָשַׁק, and means, “to kiss” in a casual or affectionate way. It has two nuances that are interesting; the first refers to taking someone’s place, and the second to the archer ready to fire his arrows.
Here the woman kisses her wrong man in replacement for her right man, as she fires her flaming arrows of seduction, sin, and flattery towards the naïve.
As we will see, once they meet, she seduces him by physical touch, vs. 13; flattery, vs. 15; erotic language, vs. 16ff; and reassurance, vs. 19f. This combination is effective and deadly.
So although she begins by seizing and kissing him, most of the space, in the text to follow, is given to recording her words, since they are her main weapon, alongside her touch.
“Brazen face” is AZ (strong), PANIYM (face), so literally it is, “strong face,” but speaks to her arrogance of behavior; her brash and bold behavior. Just like the wicked man of Prov 21:29, she has a bold look and shows no shame in what she is doing.
Prov 21:29, “A wicked man displays a bold face, but as for the upright, he makes his way sure.”
Bruce Waltke speaks of the numerous double-entendres found in this passage, explaining the wily ways of the adulterous in more severe and war like terms.
“S. C. Jones (“Woman’s Pedagogy: A Comparison of Proverbs VII and 4Q184” [paper presented to Bruce K. Waltke, 2001], pp. 9-13) argues that the text is loaded with double entendre. The alternative interpretations falsify her words and expose their latent deadliness by warlike imagery. (1) arab (v. 13), glossed “lurk,” normally means “lies in ambush” (see 1:11, 18). (2) “to face” (liqratô, vv. 10, 15a) literally means “contrary to, opposite,” and Holladay notes that it is usually used with a verb of motion in the context of war and renders it “against” (cf. Gen. 32:7; Num. 20:18, 20). (3) In this bellicose environment heḥezîqâ (= “grabbed”) can have the more precise meaning “rape,” “violate” (F. Hesse, TDOT, 4:304, s.v. hzq.) (4) “Find” (maṣah) can mean “to obtain, achieve” with reference to booty as in war (cf. Num. 31:50, cf. Holladay, s.v. qr II). (5) Šḥr, glossed “seek,” can be taken from šhr III, which in Akkadian means “cast a spell,” “charm”; its participial form means “charmer” (W. von Soden, ed., Akkadisches Handwörterbuch, [Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1972], 2:1,009, #1, d). Likewise Arab. šahara means “to bewitch, enchant, fascinate.” In short, “with speech smoother than butter, but with a heart set on war; with words that were softer than oil, but in fact were drawn swords” (Ps. 55:21) the brazen vixen kills the dullard who has been charmed from hearing her true speech because he cannot discern her true character.” (Bruce Waltke, New International Commentary – The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15.)
Finally, the last phrase, “she says to him,” resumes the narrative, and forms a transition to her speech in vs. 14-20.
We now turn to Verses 14-20, where the woman begins her speech of enticement. Here we have the main body of her persuasion by her lying, deceptive, and flattering tongue. We will see that she veils her true intentions by appearing in need of a sexual partner for potentially religious reasons, vs. 14; by idolizing the naive youth, vs. 15; and by having prepared a lavish erotic setting for a night of love-making with him, vs. 16-18.
Prov 7:14, “I was due to offer peace offerings; today I have paid my vows.”
We begin with “I was due to,” which is the Preposition AL, עַל, that means, “on, upon, on account of, etc.” with the first common singular pronominal suffix, it should read, “on behalf of me.”
Then we have the noun “offer”, which is ZEBACH, זֶבַח, that means, “sacrifice.” ZEBACH is used throughout the Old Testament for both true worship and false pagan god worship. However, it is used most frequently, as it is here, with the Noun SHELEM that means, “peace offering.” The “Peace Offering” was mandated by God in Lev 3.
So this should read “A sacrifice of peace offering was made on behalf of me.”
Peace or fellowship offerings, described in Lev 3, were given in thanks for God’s goodness, or as freewill offerings, and worshipers were allowed to eat some of the meat of the sacrificed animal, Lev 7:11-18; cf. 1 Sam. 9:11ff. The greatest part of the flesh of the peace-offerings was, by the law, returned back to the offerors to feast upon with their family and friends, which (if they were peace-offerings of thanksgiving) was to be all eaten the same day and none of it left until the morning. A beautiful picture of our receiving of Christ in full, who made peace between God and man at the Cross.
Her invitation thus includes a festive meal; yet her true purpose shows her low regard for the Covenant.
There were of three kinds of Peace Offerings:
- Eucharistic or thanksgiving offerings, expressive of gratitude for blessings received.
- In fulfillment of a vow, but expressive also of thanks for benefits received.
- Free-will offerings, something spontaneously devoted to God. This third kind of wave offering was known as a thank offering. It was waved before the LORD in grateful response to an unexpected blessing. The wave offering was especially used in the Feast of First Fruits, Lev 23:11. This Feast was fulfilled by our Lords resurrection.
Other verses that describe the wave offering are, Ex 29:24, 27; Lev 7:30, 34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14f; 23:11, 15, 20; Num 6:20; 8:11, 13, 15.
This offering consisted of the sacrifice of a bull, cow, lamb, or goat that had no defect. As with the burnt offering, the individual laid a hand on the animal and killed it. The priests, in turn, sprinkled the blood around the altar. Only certain parts of the internal organs were burned. The priest received the breast and the right thigh, Lev 7:28-36, but the offeror was given much of the meat to have a meal of celebration, Lev 7:11-21, as noted above. Part of the offering eaten by the priest signified God had accepted it, and the part eaten by the worshiper and his guests noted that man had accepted it. As part of the meal, various kinds of bread were offered (and ultimately kept by the priest). The idea of thanksgiving was associated with the peace offering. It often accompanied other sacrifices in celebration of events such as the dedication of the Temple, 1 Kings 8:63, or spiritual renewal, 2 Chron. 29:31-36.
Next in Prov 7:14, we have “today I have paid my vows.”
“Paid” is a cognate of SHELEM above, the Verb SHALAM, שָׁלַם, that means, “to be at peace.” The most common use of this verb is in the Piel stem for intensive action, as it is here, meaning, “I paid what was owed.” This is linked with “vows”, NEDER, נֶדֶר, that is used for the obligation someone has to make a sacrifice, including voluntary sacrifices as in the peace offering. The text is silent about the nature or content of her vows here, although as noted in the phrase, “brazen face” in vs. 13, we see that she lies about everything, including her piousness in making a vow and sacrifice unto God.
When she says, “today” YOM, note that she herself divides the difference between day and night, as she performs her religious duties in the day time (light), while she connives evil at night (darkness).
Bruce Waltke also notes, “Perdue suggests that she wears more specifically the garb of a sacral priestess or a devotee of a fertility cult to support her claim that she offered sacrifices and was in need of a male partner at her communion meal (7:14-15). It was a specific kind of zebah, “sacrifice,” that refers to a sacrifice practiced by the Canaanites and Israelites that aimed to bind together the deity and communicants by a meal in which the deity, priestly officials, worshiper, and guests share (Lev. 17:11-21; 1 Sam. 9:11-13; and Jer. 7:21). After the deity “devoured” the fat and intestines and certain pieces were presented to the cultic officials, the worshiper and invited guests ate the remainder at home. (Prudue, “Wisdom and Cult”, quoted by the New International Commentary)
Then in Prov 7:15 we have, “Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.”
Here we see that her lies continue, as she uses her false piousness to say that she is so moved that it lead her to meet him. That is, her love for the Lord has led her to love him, what hypocrisy.
Here we see the idolization of the man, where she begins to flatter him by saying that he was the reason she was there; she had been looking for him in particular, as the repeated “you(r)” shows.
In this passage, her speech is alliterative, which is a signal that this speech is a well-polished weapon, ready at a moment’s notice. In other words, this is not the first time she has said these things to a man! It’s her SOP, standard operating procedure.
Next we will see three actions on the part of the sinner to tempt the naïve in three ways seen in vs. 16-18. (Go out to meet, seek, and find!)
“Meet” is QARA, “to call”, once again. This is her alleged reason for being in the streets, plaza, and city, calling out for him; another lie! This statement matches the father’s prior observation of warning in vs. 10.
“Seek” is SHACHAR, שָׁחַר, that means, “to look earnestly or diligently for.” We have seen this verb throughout Proverbs but typically in regard to seeking “wisdom.” Here she is not seeking wisdom but her victim, “presence” is PANIYM that means “face.”
Waltke notes that this is, “an idiom meaning to make a request and connoting that his attractive features singled him out to be the honored invitee for this special occasion. In fact, he is the right one because he looks brainless.” (New International Commentary)
So here she alleges that it was he, and only he, that she was seeking, but in truth any man would do.
“I have found you” is the Verb MATSA, מָצָא that means, “to find.” She says as if to say, “eureka.” All her dreams have now been followed by finding this young man. Being naïve as he is, he will believe her lies, as we will see below.
As you may be aware, the Matza bread was used at the Seder (Passover) supper and during that meal, one piece of three was removed from pouch and hidden in the house for the children to find. This, unbeknownst to many Jews today, was a picture of the resurrected Christ which we must find, “believe in.”
Now in contrast, instead of going out to seek and find the Lord via God’s Word, as the father instructs his son to do, this adulterous woman instead idolizes another, this young man, so she says!
Then beginning in vs. 16 and running through vs. 18, we see her setting the snare; describing the abode she has made ready just for the two of them. These three verses are the heart of her appeal and are filled with all kinds of erotic imagery, similar to that found in the Song of Solomon. Here we see that her bed was expensively prepared with imported goods. And all of this was carefully applied to arouse the young man’s passion until he could no longer resist.
At the same time, we are going to see many analogies to the right relationship we should be having with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Prov 7:16, “I have spread my couch with coverings, with colored linens of Egypt.”
“Couch” is ERES, עֶרֶשׂ, which is better translated, “bed.” This is the bait she lays in her trap, the suggestion of sexual relations.
“Spread” is the Qal Perfect RABAD, that means, to “spread or cover.” This word is used only here in the Old Testament. This is the past completed action of laying her trap for the young man to be caught in.
“Coverings”, is the Noun MARBAD, מַרְבַד. It is used only twice in scripture and interestingly shows a contrast between a righteous woman and the adulteress. In our verse, the adulteress prepares her bed for a promiscuous secret meeting while her husband is away, bringing dishonor to the family. The other verses describe a virtuous woman who labors to provide for her family, bringing them honor, particularly her husband who sits at the gate with the city’s elders, Prov 31:22.
“Colored linens” is CHATUBOTH חֲטֻבוֹת, with ETUN אֵטוּן, which are also only used here in the Old Testament.
“Of Egypt” MITSRAYIM מִצְרַיִם,
Remember that looking back to Egypt represents disobedience to God and disregard for His provisions for life, Num 14, and therefore represents Satan’s cosmic system and sin which we have been freed from. So the temptress is using her worldly ways to seduce the naïve young man.
All of these descriptions speak of worldly beauty in which the woman is using to tempt the appetite of the young man, along with her own costume as noted in vs. 10. So we see the first of three temptations by this woman, A.K.A. Satan. In vs. 16, we see the temptation of “appetite”, in vs. 17 “beauty”, and vs. 18 “Ambitious Pride.” Compare 1 John 2:15; Gen 3:6, Matthew and Luke 4.
Prov 7:17, “I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.”
“I have sprinkled” is NUPH, נוּף, that means, “to move to and fro, wave, sprinkle.”
Here we see a tie-in with vs. 14. The most common item waved in scripture is a sacrifice or offering. Throughout the Pentateuch, this verb describes the motion of the priest in presenting what is referred to as a “wave offering”, (also called a peace offering, heave offering, or fellowship offering). So the link is made with her disingenuousness.
“Come” ravah, רָָוה in the Qal Jussive is an exhortation, almost a command on her part, “to drink one’s fill, be satiated, soaked, or saturated.” That means to be filled completely. When you are filled completely with Satan’s cosmic system, it leaves no room to be occupied with our right man, Occupied with Christ.
“Love” here is DOD, דּוֹד, and has three meanings, “Love, beloved, and uncle,” which all have analogy here.
“Love” can mean “sexual intercourse” as in our verse and in the words of the harlot who seduces the foolish young man. Also, as a result of her disobedience and rejection of God, Israel suffered “defilement,” as Babylon conquered and plundered the nation: Ezek 23:17, “Then the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and they defiled her with their immorality.”
The meaning, “beloved” is chiefly used in the Song of Solomon, where the Shulamite woman speaks of her “beloved,” though the persons of the chorus, or daughters of Jerusalem also refer to him as “her beloved”, S.S. 8:5.
- The term “beloved” also refers to God, the Well-Beloved, who planted a vineyard in Israel that disappointed Him by its disobedience, Isa 5:1.
- The male partner in Song of Solomon compliments his spouse that her “love is better than wine,” S. 1:2, 4; 4:10, more exhilarating and heartwarming.
The term is used symbolically for the intimate loving care and relationship of God for his people, Israel.
- In Ezek 16:8, the LORD is like a husband to the innocent maiden, Israel and takes special care of her to create her in beauty. But Israel plays the harlot, 16:15ff, trusts her own beauty, and rejects her Protector God.
The third semantic field conveyed by this noun is “uncle.” It is used in this sense about one-third of the time. The role of the uncle is an important one in the tribal society of the ancient Near East. In Israelite society, the responsibilities of the uncle often led him to take the role of the substitute father, and the duty or right of redemption was a prime function of an uncle in Israelite society, Lev 25:49; Jer 32:6-9.
Lev 25:49, “Or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself.”
Also in 1 Sam 10:14-16, DOD is used for uncle in regard to the finding of the lost donkeys, which we noted recently in our study of the “covenant” donkey our Lord rode into Jerusalem before He was crucified. In 1 Sam, the donkeys had been found, just as the redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, had been presented for discovery. We are going to see this tie in our next verses too!
So in most verses, we see our right “love” relationship with the Lord who is our kinsman redeemer, yet in Prov 7:17, the woman and young man are playing the role of the harlot, rejecting the Lord.
Hosea 4:12, “My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; for a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God.”
Then we have “Until morning” or “dawn”, BOQER, where once again we see evil occurring at night in the cover of darkness.
“Let us delight ourselves”, ALAS, עָלַס, which is also found three times in the Old Testament. The intransitive verb means “to enjoy.”
- In his rebuke of Job, Zophar insisted that those who obtain dishonest wealth ultimately do not “enjoy” the result of their effort, Job 20:18.
- God cited the ostrich, an unwieldy part of his creation, which although it can flap its wings, does not fly, Job 39:13. It leaves its eggs exposed and treats its young harshly.
- In our verse where wisdom admonished the young man who spends the night with an adulteress, the adulteress exclaims, “Let us enjoy ourselves,” but her sins lead to death.
“Caresses”, is the noun OHAB, אֹהַב from AHEB the more traditional word that means “love.” Used only here in the Old Testament. It is not pure love that is pictured, but the folly of having relations with an immoral woman. This type of “loving” leads to certain destruction as noted in vs. 22.
In these three verses, the heart of her appeal are filled with erotic imagery similar to that found in the Song of Solomon, and carefully calculated to arouse his passion until he could no longer resist. Her bed was expensively prepared with imported goods. Yet each analogy also has a dark side associated to it which leads to death.
As Satan always does, he counterfeits the things of God to make them appear as holy or righteous, yet they are all wrong. As the woman sprinkled her bed with the various spices in the fashion of the “wave offering” of the Peace Offering God commanded Israel to keep, we see how false religion and worship uses the things of God in counterfeit, calling out to those who lack knowledge of God’s Word and says, come enter in here, all is well, the sacrifice has been made, I have done everything necessary for you, it is ready and waiting for you. It gives off the appearance of righteousness, yet as a counterfeit, it in actuality leads to death.
The adulteress saved her most explicit invitation for last, vs. 18, saying that together they will drink their fill, (cf. the same word in 5:19), of love all night and delight in each other with their lovemaking. Her language could hardly be more explicit, since both words translated “love” and “caresses” can have a sexual context.
So we see the temptress peddling her wares which the naïve young man who lacks in wisdom is powerless to pass by, just as Satan peddles his wares of false religion, human good, sin, and evil for those who are lacking Bible Doctrine in their heart, with the result that they are helpless to avoid and hapless, as we will see how it leads to all kinds of problems, including death.
Then in vs. 19 & 20, we see her final push of persuasion, which is ultimately prophetic regarding our right man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whether the naïve young man begins to worry or expresses his concern, this woman meets his potential objection by reassuring him that they will not be discovered, since her husband, the one most likely to cause trouble is on a long journey. She freely acknowledges that her husband will be back in several weeks, indicating that she intends to remain married though unfaithful, leaving the foolish young man without moral excuse for his mindless adultery. Also this fool should have known that she should not be trusted, because her very argument reveals that she is deceitful and unfaithful. Her speech tares apart her camouflage as a professional prostitute for sex, as a professional would not have a husband by which her “Johns” would incur the husband’s rage.
So her final argument aims to remove the uncommitted youth’s fear of her husband catching them in adultery, Prov 6:34-35, just as Satan tried to throw aside Eve’s reservations to not sin with the promise, “You will surely not die.”
And that is exactly what Satan tries to do with this world; convince us the Jesus will not be returning, and that we are safe to get involved in all kinds of cosmic exploits.
“If the unrestrained wife, who is Satan’s seed, is right, then the whole basis of biblical ethics is undermined: deed and consequences are not connected. “The significance of the seduction of the Strange Woman is that it is carried out in language that separates deed from consequence. In Proverbs 7 … the woman does not seek to convince her prey that adultery is right, but only that they can get away with it because her husband is not at home”.” (Bruce Waltke, New International Commentary, quoting C. V. Camp, “Woman Wisdom as Root Metaphor: A Theological Consideration,” in TLH, p. 51.)
Next we have, Prov 7:19, “For my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long journey.”
Interestingly, this is the second verse that begins with “for” or KI in the Hebrew that means “because, that, for, etc.” As we noted in vs. 6, it indicates a reason for the previous information given. In vs. 6, the reason we were exhorted to guard doctrine in our souls in vs. 1-5 is because of the forewarning of the adulterous woman’s (Satan’s Cosmic System) temptations in vs. 6-21. Now in vs. 19, we have our second reasoning, which furthers the temptress’ argument for the naïve young man to enter into a sinful relationship with her.
What is fascinating is that in vs. 6-7, we see the father, a personification of God our Father, who sees us although we do not see Him, vs. 6, and who has full knowledge and understanding of our inner most being, vs. 7.
Then in vs. 19-20, we have a depiction of a “husband” who has gone on a long journey, having taken a bag full of money to purchase something, who will ultimately return. Well if that does not sound like a personification of our Lord Jesus Christ, I don’t know what does! So both KI’s introduce God to this storyline, first God the Father and then God the Son.
The next word in the Hebrew is “not” AYIN, אַיִן, that means, “not, there is not, non-existence, etc.”, as in the “husband is not at home.” This word is also used in regard to the donkeys of 1 Sam 9 & 10. In 1 Sam 9:4, “He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them…”
1 Sam 9 & 10 are about the selection of Saul as the first king of Israel and his coronation. God was their true King but the people selected a worldly king in His place. So once again, we see Satan’s counterfeit system at work. In these chapters, Saul is commanded by his father to search for their lost donkeys, (a picture of the people losing their relationship with the Lord, having selected a man over God as their king). Then, as noted above, in 1 Sam 10:14-16, the redeeming uncle is part in parcel with finding the donkeys, telling us that the Messiah will be presented and eventually found by Israel, especially upon His Second Advent, having been rejected or lost in His First Advent. What a great depiction we have here in Prov 7.
“Husband” is ISH, that means, “man or husband”, as the man of the household. In the prophets, the Lord is referred to as the “husband” of Israel.
Jer 31:32, “I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.”
Isa 54:5, “For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.”
Hosea 2:16, “It will come about in that day,” declares the LORD, “That you will call Me Ishi, (my Husband).”
Jesus was the “Husband” of Israel, and is the husband of the Church, Eph 5:21-32; Rev 19:7-9a.
Eph 5:31-32, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”
“Go” and “Journey” are HALAK and DEREK respectfully. We have seen both of these words previously regarding the direction in which someone is going and speaking of the right or wrong path, way or road they are on.
The Adjective “long” accompanies DEREK which is RACHOQ, רָחוֹק, that means, “far off or away, or distant.” This word carries the idea of remoteness, and relates to distance from a place. It is used this way in Gen 37:18ff regarding the actions of Joseph’s brothers. Joseph, (who personifies Jesus Christ), was sent by his father, Jacob, to find his brothers. As Joseph approached them in Dothan, they thought of an evil plot to rid themselves of him: Gen 37:18, “And when they saw (Joseph) afar off, even before he came near to them, they conspired against him to slay him.”
When Christ the Messiah presented Himself to His brothers, (the people of Israel), riding on the covenant donkey, they began to conspire to kill him too, Mat 26:3-4; Mark 11:18; Luke 19:47.
Mat 26:3-4, “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; 4and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him.”
RACHOQ is also translated “far,” such as the phrase, “as far as distant places,” which describes some of the activity of Israel as they rebelled against the LORD, Isa 57:9. In that passage the Israelites became idolatrous and sought far and wide for foreign deities to worship. So once again, we see the counterfeit replace the real!
Ultimately, “a long journey” in relation to our Lord, speaks of His Ascension, being seated at the right hand of the Father. Prior to our Lord’s First Advent, Satan’s tactics were to introduce false doctrines and religions to deceive mankind so that they would not know or recognize the Christ when we came. Then when He did come, Satan tried to get rid of Him and kill Him off, stopping Him from going to the Cross. Now that He has come and ascended to heaven, Satan has reintroduced false doctrines and religions, as well as trying to convince people He has gone away, so don’t worry about believing or worshiping Him.
Then in Prov 7:20, the analogy continues where we have, “He has taken a bag of money with him, at the full moon he will come home.”
“Taken” is the Qal Perfect of LAQACH, לָקַח, that means, “to take, receive, accept,” and sometime “marry a wife.”
“Bag” is TSEROR, צְרוֹר, that means, “bundle, parcel, pouch, or bag” that would contain silver or money. According to some, the noun is used metaphorically to describe a container for Job’s offenses or sins, Job 14:17. Therefore, to purchase mankind from the slave market of sin, Jesus took upon Himself all of our offenses or sins. As I have said before, we are nothing but “sin bags.” And Jesus’ body became a “bag of sins” on our behalf, in order to redeem us from the slave market of sin, with the result that we become His wife.
“Money” is KESEPH, כֶּסֶף, and means, “silver or money.” And, oh, by the way, “silver”, among other things, stands for redemption, as it was used extensively throughout the Tabernacle, Ex 26 & 27, and also found throughout Scripture!
Ex 30:16 uses KESPEH as “atonement money”, and Num 3:49 speaks of KESEPH as “redemption money”; both were offerings given in regard to covering sins committed, typifying the payment for our sins Jesus would make upon the Cross.
In addition, KESEPH speaks of “trespass money” or “sin money,” in 2 Kings 12:16, “The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it was for the priests.”
Silver was also used to purchase our Lord’s betrayal, for the price of 30 pieces of slivers, Mat 26:15; 27:3-10, as prophesized in Zech 11:12-13; cf. Jer 32:6-9 (also noting the uncle redeemer).
Peter stated in 1 Peter 1:18-19, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
Then we have, “with him” that may be the meaning here, but it is not what the Hebrew says. The Hebrew uses BE, for “in”, and YADAH, for “hand,” as “in his hand.” As you know, our Lord’s hands were nailed to the Cross to purchase our sins, cf. John 20:20, 25. So the redemption analogy continues in a fascinating way.
Then we have, “at the full moon he will come home.”
“At the full moon” is the noun YOM, יוֹם, for “day or appointed time” with KESE, כֶּסֶא, that means, “full moon.” KESE is a play on words with KESEPH above for “silver.” So we see a tie-in between redemption and the “day of the full moon.” KESE is used only here and Psa 81:3.
As you know, God created the moon to “rule the night”, Gen 1:16ff, which means that it would be the brightest sphere in the night sky. Some early cultures worshiped the moon as a feminine deity attached to the masculine sun in divine partnership. The moon was considered to be under the direct influence of the sun, as a passive entity. So we see the counterfeit of Satan’s false religions once again. Yet in truth, the moon was created to “rule the night”, Gen 1:16ff,
Gen 1:16, “God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.”
This indicates for us that light shines even in the darkness, speaking of Christ’s coming, John 1:5.
John 1:5, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
As noted above KESE is used only here and in Psa 81:3. In Psalm 81, the psalmist calls for loud praise to God, especially at festival times, including the new and full moon.
Psa 81:3, “Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day.”
The new moon is in regard to the beginning of the seventh month, Tishri, (Sept – Oct), which was a time appointed by God in Lev 23:23-25 to be celebrated, called the Feast of Trumpets; Rosh Hashanah, as it is known today. The blowing of the trumpets indicated the beginning of the civil New Year, cf. Num 29:1-6.
The full moon, being 15-days later was the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles in Lev 23:33-43. It was the last of the seven festivals given by God for Israel to commemorate. It was a seven-day festival concluded with a holy convocation. During the week, people lived in booths or huts made of boughs, Neh 8:14-18, commemorating God’s provisions as He freed them from slavery and brought them out of Egypt and through the wilderness.
In Deut 16:13-15, this was one of the three “high” holidays for Israel in which all the males would have to appear before the Lord at the Temple, Deut 16:16.
Zech 14:16 tells us this festival will continue to be celebrated during the Millennial Reign.
Zech 14:16, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”
Interestingly, in Psa 81:3 our Lord used both the New and Full Moon.
In regard to Israel, the figurative use of the moon, in general, in Old Testament literature is prevalent in poetic or prophetic passages. Catastrophic effects or strange appearances regarding the moon are mentioned as a sign of impending great events.
This is particularly prevalent in the “Great Day of the LORD”, which speaks to the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, (as part of His Second Coming), to gather Israel and all believers on earth at the end of the Tribulation to enter them into the Millennial reign, Mark 13:24; Isa 13:10; Joel 2:30-32.
That is also the meaning of the “Feast of Tabernacles” celebrated on the “Full Moon.” The Day of Atonement, TISHRI 10, speaks of His Second Advent, and the “Feast of Tabernacles” speaks of our Lord gathering Israel and all believers remaining on earth at the end of the Tribulation and ushering them into the Millennial Kingdom.
And remember, of the three fall festivals “Tabernacles” is the only one “all males” where commanded to appear before the Lord. So it was a very important celebration to God, as it commemorates past freedom from slavery and future Kingdom reign.
See Doctrine of the, “Seven Feasts of Israel”
As for the Church, Psa 81:3 indicates a significant event also because the “New Moon” and the blowing of the trumpet at “The Feast of Trumpets”, Rosh Hashanah, speaks to the Resurrection or Rapture of the Church, which occurs just prior to the beginning of the Tribulation, and begins the Second Coming of our Lord, 1 Cor 15:20, 23, 52; 1Thes 4:16-17.
1 Cor 15:20, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
1 Cor 15:23, “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming.”
1 Cor 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
1 Thes 4:16-17, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
So Psa 81:3 speaks of resurrection at the “New Moon” first, being the Rapture and Resurrection of Church Age Believers before the Tribulation, and the “Full Moon” second, speaking of the Resurrection of all Old Testament saints at the end of the Tribulation, “each in his own order.”
As for our continued theme of Satan’s counterfeit, Prov 7:20’s “full moon” may speak of the rise of the antichrist, who appears during the Tribulation, Dan 9:27; Mat 24:15; 2 Thes 2:3-4, 8-10.
“He will come” is the Qal Imperfect, (used for future tense), 3rd person masculine singular (3MS) of the verb BO that has a variety of meanings including, “in, toward, to go or enter, to come, etc.”
This verb is used as a euphemism for sexual intercourse in Ezek 23:17, which we noted above, used in a doubly figurative way. In Ezek 23, it referred both to sexual intercourse and idolatry that came upon Israel and Samaria, as they played the harlot, cf. Hosea 9:10. So it continues the tie-in with Satan’s counterfeit system, as prostitution was a major part of ancient pagan religions.
But in regard to our Lord and His Second Coming, BO in particular announces the coming of a Messianic King, of YHVH (Yahweh) Himself.
Interestingly, Zech 9:9 announces that your King comes to you (BO, Qal Imperfect 3MS), mounted on a donkey! Then in Zech 9:10, it describes the Millennial Reign, cf. Dan 7:13-14.
In Prov 7:20, where is the king coming to? “His house or home.” So here BO is linked with the (3MS) noun BAYITH, בַּיִת, for, “home or house,” sometimes used in Scripture for the Temple of Jerusalem, 2 Sam 7:5f; 1 Kings 6-8.
So we have, “He will enter His house,” which is prophetic for the Second Advent of our Lord to establish His Millennial reign.
And the counterfeit entering of the house by the Antichrist is given in Dan 9:27; 11:41; 2 Thes 2:4.
2 Thes 2:4, “Who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”
- So the counterfeit will be completed as, “The Antichrist Will Come with a False Proposal of Peace, and Enter the House of the Lord, Establishing Himself as God, with the Result of Deceiving Many,” which is the topic of Verses 21-23.
In Verse 21, we have the conclusion and summary of her seductive prowess.
Prov 7:21, “With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him.”
“With her many” is the noun ROB, רֹב, pronounced (ROV), which speaks of a multitude, extensive in quantity. This refers back to her seductive ways in vs. 13-20, trying to lead him astray. There were many ways in which she tempted him including as we noted, “appetite, beauty and ambitious pride.” This also may indicate that there were other ways not mentioned here.
In this analogy of Satan and his cosmic system, he too had many things which led to his corruption, Ezek 28:16.
Ezek 28:16, “By the abundance (ROB) of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”
“Persuasions” is the Noun LEQACH, לֶקַח, that means, “teaching, learning, insight, etc.” We have seen this previously in regard to “instruction” on the part of the father trying to teach his son God’s Word, ways, and principles, Prov 1:5; 4:2. But here it is used for the art of “persuasion.”
Prov 4:2, “For I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction.”
It is used in a good sense for the persuasion of a teacher in Prov 16:21, as the father was trying to teach his son some life giving lessons.
Prov 16:21, “The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”
But it is also used in the negative sense, as it is here, of the seductive words and persuasiveness of a harlot, representing her speech as a world and life view contrary to the father’s. Ultimately this is a personification of Satan and the antithesis of wisdom.
Therefore, “with her many persuasions” tells us she is putting intensive pressure on this man and probably has said more than what has been revealed here. She is flattering, enticing, and reassuring until the naïve young man can no longer resist.
This tells us once again of the importance of having the 11 Problem Solving Devices on the Forward Line of Troops (FLOT) line of our souls so that the outward pressures of life, (flattery, temptations, enticements, etc.), do not become inward stress upon our souls that then leads us into sin.
“She entices him” is the verb NATAH, נָטָה, in the Hiphil (causative) Perfect (completed past action). The verb has three primary meanings: “to spread out, to turn aside, or to bend down.”
It is both actual and metaphorical: As for “turning aside,” she turned his lust toward her sensual attractions and so turned his body toward her house. He turned away from his walk with God to enter her house. She caused him to enter into this adulterous relationship with her, with the emphasis of the causative perfect for completed past action. In other words, the deal is done. She caused him to turn aside from the path of righteousness to walk in the path of sin and evil.
The Perfect tense also tells us her mission is accomplished, he has been ensnared, caught in her devious plan.
As we have been noting the enhanced spiritual analogy, we could also say, she caused him to “bend down” with the nuance of a counterfeit religion with her counterfeit “peace offering”, as she was living inside of Satan’s system of false worship.
And in fact, we could say he has been “spread out” for sacrifice on her false altar, her bed, in counterfeit to the Cross of Jesus Christ, which was noted in vs. 19-20. The outstretched arm also speaks of strength, so we see that her human good works based on human power are in view here, which is evil.
“Flattering” is the noun CHELEQ, חֵלֶק, that means, “smoothness.” By extension, this noun means, “seductiveness” and occurs only here in the Old Testament. It is derived from the verb CHALAQ used in Prov 2:16 and 7:5, and the adjective CHALAQ in Prov 5:3, for “flatters.”
“Lips” is SAPHAH, שָׂפָה, that means, “lips or edges” that we saw in Prov 5:3. Once again, it is used to warn of the prostitute who seduces with the “smoothness of her lips,” or “seductive” speech.
“She Seduces Him” it the verb NADACH, נָדַח that means “to be scattered, to be banished, to thrust, to mislead, and to wield.”
First, it is used in various ways to indicate the idea of forcefully removing, impelling, or driving something away. The Hiphil (causative) Imperfect stem of the verb denotes the action of “driving away.” It is used for cattle that stray off in Deut 22:1.
In 2 Chron 13:9, NADACH is used for priests who were expelled by the first king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam I, who replaced the Levitical priests descended from Aaron with illegitimate ones. As for “impelled to do something”, it is used that way for the lure of idolatry and false gods in Deut 4:19; 13:13; 30:17. So once again, we see the counterfeit system of Satan’s cosmic system, where he utilizes false religion to deceive many. And as Psa 62:4 tells us, the wicked attempt to dethrone YHVH (Yahweh) from his rightful throne by offering counterfeit systems.
Psa 62:4, “They have counseled only to thrust him down from his high position; they delight in falsehood; they bless with their mouth, but inwardly they curse. Selah.”
The second way NADACH is used in the Old Testament is as a verb meaning, “to wield, or bring (against).” It is used of wielding or swinging an ax against something, whether a person or a tree, and striking it in Deut 19:5; 20:19. Therefore, it is used figuratively of bringing evil and destruction on something or someone as in 2 Sam 15:14.
2 Sam 15:14, “David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise and let us flee, for otherwise none of us will escape from Absalom. Go in haste, or he will overtake us quickly and bring down calamity on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword”.”
So we see the double meaning here, as the adulteress led the young man lacking Bible Doctrine in the right lobe of his soul to be driven away from his right relationship with God and towards sin and Satan’s cosmic system, with the result that he will get his head cut off, as we will see in the next two verses.
As Bruce Waltke notes, “Her seduction drove the “pushover” from the way of life into her house, the foyer into death, (see Prov 2:18-19.” (Bruce Waltke, New International Commentary.)
- Verses 22-23, The Man Caught in the Trap.
We now come to the third part of this story in vs. 22-23. Here we will see the destructive nature of entering into Satan’s cosmic system, and the outworking of the Law of Volitional Responsibility and God’s Divine discipline, with the stark “reality” that the wages of sin is death, as we did in Prov 5:9-14; 6:15, 26-29.
Prov 7:22, “Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool.”
Here we see that this man is lacking in both the resources to resist and the wisdom simply to separate himself from the adulterous, causing himself to be as helpless as an ox being led to slaughter, vs. 22b, or a bird once it touches the snare, vs. 23b. Once he decides to go with her, he is no better than an animal, led on by his appetites, and not guided by wisdom or instruction (God’s Word), having no problem solving devices deployed to protect his soul.
We begin with, “Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter.”
“Suddenly”, PITHOM, פִּתְאוֹם, meaning, “suddenly or unexpectedly.” It refers to things occurring all at once, surprisingly, or all of the sudden. In twenty-four of its twenty-five uses, PITHOM appears in a context of disaster or judgment, including Prov 6:15 of this young man lacking doctrine in his soul. It implies that the fool acted without reflection but allowed his glands to do his thinking for him.
“He follows her” literally means, “he walks (HALAK) after (ACHER) her”, in other words, he is now walking on the same path that she is, which is a path of evil and sin. Her efforts of persuasion have been successful.
“Ox” is the noun SHOR, שׁוֹר. Here we have the description of how he is following after the woman; not as a wise and intelligent individual, leading her as he should by making good decisions from God’s Word in his soul, but as one that is led around by the nose by another, like an “Ox.”
Interestingly, in the Book of Exodus, SHOR is mostly used of the ox in regard to penalties for breaking the law. Then towards the end of the book and flowing into Leviticus, the ox is used for sacrifices almost exclusively, and that is our analogy here as this ox is being led to the “slaughter” as a sacrifice to Satan’s cosmic system.
Waltke notes, “The first simile, as an ox (kešôr) enters (yabô; see v. 22) a slaughterhouse, compares her victim to the physically powerful king of domesticated animals and connotes that the fatuous youth, by following his animal instincts rather than his intellectual and spiritual sensibilities, deprives himself of all his endowed opportunities, strength, and even life.” (Ibid)
“Goes” is the Verb BO once again, in the Qal Imperfect, for his “entrance” into self-induced misery and Divine discipline depicted by the next word.
“Slaughter” is the noun TEVACH, טֶבַח. It is used occasionally for animals slaughtered for food, e.g., Gen. 43:16. But its primary use refers to people as victims of slaughter, particularly as a result of God’s judgment, cf. Isa 34:2; 53:7; 65:12; Jer 48:15; 50:27. This graphic picture is death by slashing and thrusting implements, as we saw the ax being swung in the metaphor of the seduction (NADACH) of the adulterous woman in vs. 21.
So this young man is blithely unaware of the life threatening dangers of being seduced by an immoral woman. As Prov 9:2 says, “She has slaughtered her slaughter.”
Then we have, “or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool.”
Hebrew scholars have noted the difficulty of this verse and meaning, because it does not follow the pattern of vs. 22a or 23a & b, (an animal and its fate), especially with the added confusion the LXX gives here by including “a dog” with the Greek word KUON, in the imagery of that which steps in a noose or a “deer” as the NIV translates it.
“Fetters” is the Noun EKES, עֶכֶס, that means, “anklet, bangles, or even stocks.” It is used twice in the Old Testament, here and Isa 3:16.
These translations draw from an Arabic cognate ‘KS, which refers to a rope placed around the head and front feet of a camel to restrict its movement, or to hold back the head of a camel when it is being broken in, or the head of any animal when it is being slaughtered.
The broader meaning is a rope or chain, placed around a part of the body and not simply an anklet. So we see the material used to lead someone to the slaughter. It indicates the loss of freedom and of honor.
EKES, may be where we get the idiom for a woman who drags a man down, saying, “she is my old ball and chain.”
In Isaiah 3:18, it is translated “tinkling ornament” in the KJV, giving a negative connotation to the jewelry worn by apostate woman of Judah.
Note the description of their apostasy in Isa 3:16:
Isa 3:16, “Moreover, the LORD said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud and walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, and go along with mincing steps and tinkle the bangles on their feet.”
As we have been noting, it describes both self-induced misery under the Law of Volitional Responsibility and Divine discipline from the Lord and leads us to the next topic, “To the discipline of a fool.”
“Discipline” is MUSAR, מוּסָר, which we have seen previously in a good way for instruction or discipline. Here it is the negative use of discipline, a play on words as this apostate male has received and applied the “instruction” of the adulterous woman; therefore, reaping “discipline” in his life.
“Fool” is EWIYL (EVIL), אֱוִיל. It is an Adjective used substantively meaning, “foolish one,” in the sense of one who hates wisdom and walks in folly, despising wisdom and morality. It depicts someone who is lacking the application of Bible doctrine in their soul, one who lacks wisdom and discernment. It is used for “fool” nineteen times in Proverbs, e.g. 1:7; 24:7; 29:9, and here as a hapless animal falling into the trap of stupidity, metaphorically presented as an adulteress.
Therefore, the first figure tells the fate into which he rushes, like a beast devoid of reason, resulting in the loss of life; and the other tells us of the fate to which he permits himself to be led by that woman (Satan), like a criminal by the officer, as the loss of freedom and of honor.
As our Lord stated about the reversionistic Israelites in Jer 4:22, “For My people are foolish, they know Me not; they are stupid children and have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, but to do good they do not know.”
And finally, in Verse 23 we see the final results of the young man lacking doctrine in his heart.
Prov 7:23, “Until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life.”
This verse has three parts; the first two speak of the self-induced misery under the Law of Volitional Responsibility under God’s Divine discipline, while the third part is the final result of his wrong decision making.
We begin with the first part of self-induced misery; “Until an arrow pierces through his liver.”
Just as the animal is trapped so that it may be killed, the young man will suffer for his immorality.
The “arrow”, CHES, חֵץ, here is not the arrow of love; it is not Cupid’s arrow which makes one love-sick, but the arrow of death, which slays him who is ensnared in sinful love making.
“Liver” is the Noun KABED, כָּבֵד, and a “pierced (PALACH, cutting in two, to pierce), liver” was a deadly wound.
Waltke notes, “The liver, derived in the Semitic languages from the root “to be heavy,” implies that the organ is full of blood…commonly in Akkadian literature, as the seat of life.” (New International Commentary.)
Like other major organs, the liver is also associated with the inner person, which we call the heart in English. So the image here is the splitting open of the very core of the animal’s blood supply and vitality that instantly led to death.
As you know, the heart of your soul (right lobe of your soul) is the place where you store and apply Bible Doctrine, the place of thoughts, emotions, and the motivation of the will, cf. Lam 2:11.
So the “piercing of the liver” here can refer to the destruction or loss of your thinking that should be based on Bible Doctrine that you have previously stored in your heart; therefore, leading to further reversionism, moral and / or immoral degeneracy, self- induced misery, and finally the sin unto death.
Therefore, this image of a mortal wound reveals how serious a crime adultery is. Adultery was a capital crime under the Law, Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22; cf. Gen 38:24, the punishment of which may be in view here, although this may refer to the financial ruin that an unbridled life can bring upon someone, as we noted in Prov 5:9-14.
Continuing our theme of the counterfeit religious systems of Satan’s cosmic system, in pagan religions, the liver was a religious object and was carefully inspected in the process of divination.
For example: “In the ancient Near East, people cut open the livers of animals (particularly sheep) and performed divination in which they “read” the inner structures for signs of answers to questions they had, especially about decisions, Ezek 21:21. This practice, known as extispicy (ex-tis’-pi-see), was based upon empirical experience. Sheep were sacrificed constantly in religious rituals. When an odd-shaped liver was noted, one looked for an unusual event to accompany it, assuming that the gods were communicating, through the medium of nature, a coming event. Once an event was associated with a type of liver oddity (e.g., a liver with six bumps on a particular lobe appearing a week before the king dies), that oddity was recorded for future reference. It was assumed that each time a particular oddity occurred, the same event would repeat. There are a number of lengthy texts preserved in Akkadian listing these events, as well as clay models used to facilitate learning the parts of a normal liver.” (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary.)
Ezek 21:21, “For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination; he shakes the arrows, he consults the household idols, he looks at the liver.”
The Second part of self-induced misery is, “as a bird hastens to the snare.”
“Hastens” is the Verb MAHAR, מָהַר, in the Piel (intensive action) Infinitive that means, “hasten, act quickly, or be rash.” This indicates for us the speed with which the apostate comes to his fatal destiny.
It is used in Psa 16:4 regarding the hastening of gathering false gods.
Psa 16:4a, “The sorrows of those who have bartered (MAHAR) for another god will be multiplied.”
Notice that “sorrows”, (ATSTEBETH, “hurt, injury, pain, sorrows”), of self-induced misery are associated with participating in false religions of Satan’s cosmic system.
“Bird” is the noun TSIPOR, צִפּוֹר. Birds were used for sacrifices like other animals, typically for the poor, those lower in the socio-economic scale. So we see the false sacrifice being made here once again. In vs. 22, we saw the Ox slaughtered, but this time we see the bird so that all levels of society understand the meaning.
“Snare” is the Noun PACH, פַּח, that means, “net, trap, or snare.” It is used exclusively in metaphors of humans being trapped by other humans or by the LORD. Here the naïve is trapped by the seduction of the adulteress; just as many people are trapped by sin, human good, and evil of Satan’s cosmic system.
But when a false religious system offers a counterfeit absolution from their sins, the sinner hurries towards it, especially in times of desperation. And that is what this young man is hurry towards, a false sense of security that results in him being slaughtered on the counterfeit sacrificial altar.
The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary notes regarding PACH that, “the effectiveness of the snare metaphor lies in the element of surprise. The victim does not sense danger until it is too late (Amos 3:5). The lure of the loose woman of Proverbs employs this simile (Prov. 7:23), as does a description of the effects of the syncretistic practices, (combination of many religious practices and beliefs), of the official priesthood of the northern kingdom of Israel (Hos. 5:1). The psalmist calls out for protection from the snares of the wicked (Psa. 140:5; 141:9; 142:3), as does Jeremiah (Jer. 18:22). Indeed, Divine protection is characterized as rescue from a snare (Psa. 91:3; 124:7). And the LORD accused the wicked of ignoring His Word delivered through the prophets, as they instead set snares for them (Hos. 9:8).” (The Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary – Pe-Resh).
Then we see the third part to this verse which is the tumultuous conclusion, “so he does not know that it will cost him his life.”
A better and more literal translation here would be, “he did not know it would (go or act) against his own life.”
“Does not know” is the negative LO with YADAH that means, “to know or understand.” So combined, this man “does not know or understand” what is about to befall him. Because of his reversionism, this naïve one does not understand the consequences of his actions. Whether he willfully rejects the knowledge from his consciousness of the consequences of his actions, or he chooses not to outwardly acknowledge or admit them, or even if he is ignorant of the consequences, it does not matter. The consequences are the consequences, and ignorance is not an excuse for the law.
This also indicates that he rejected continuing in a personal experiential relationship with the Lord, failing to continue acknowledging Him in faith and walking in obedience to His Word in every area of his life; therefore, as a result, he will lose his life.
“Life” here is NEPHESH נֶפֶשׁ, which means, “soul, breath, or life.” Here it is speaking of his physical life that he would lose under the third stage of Divine discipline, 1 Cor 11:30, as a result of entering into this adulterous relationship. So in total, it is not just his physical life that he loses, but it is the inevitable ruin of both his spiritual and temporal life.
Waltke notes, “Stupid animals see no connection between traps and death, and morally stupid people see no connection between their sin and death, cf. Prov 1:17-18; Hos 7:11. (ibid)
Hosea 7:11, “So Ephraim has become like a silly dove, without sense; they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.”
Prov 6:32, “The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it.”
A Concluding Appeal:
- In the final four verses we have, “A Closing Exhortation Warning the Son of the Consequences of the Destructive Life Style for the Foolish Adulterer,” Verses 24-27.
This is the 16th of the 17 lessons from the father to his son(s), BENIYM.
Note the symmetry between the four lines devoted to the introduction and conclusion, vs. 1-4, 24-27.
Prov 7:24, “Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth.”
“Now therefore” is the Conjunction WE, “and, but, also” with the Adverb ATTAH, “now.” This is used to indicate that the teacher is now giving the “moral of the story,” after first calling the student’s attention away from the story and back to his words as he did in vs. 1-4.
“Listen to me” is the Qal Imperative of the verb SHAMA, שָׁמַע, “to hear, listen, understand, or obey.” This is the command to learn God’s Word (Bible Doctrine) through the ear gate, by means of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit). So this once again emphatically calls for attentiveness to his teaching, i.e., Bible Doctrine.
“My Sons” BENIYM, extends the teaching from the son of vs. 1 to the lineage of sons right down to you and I today.
“Pay attention” is the Hiphil (declarative) Imperative (command) of QASHAB, קָשַׁב, meaning, “to hear, be attentive, heed, incline (of the ears), pay attention, etc.” It is a command to, “pay attention or give your full attention.” It acts as a double emphasis on taking in God’s Word through the ear gate, with the import of comprehension for application.
“To the Words of my mouth”, LE EMER PEH. This is the teaching ministry of the father towards his son.
Rather than listening to the flattering and enticing “words” coming from the Seductress’ mouth, (i.e., temptations from our old sin nature and Satan’s cosmic system), the father is exhorting his young naïve son to metabolize his teaching of God’s Word, because if he does not, there will be dire consequences. The first of which is leaving the path of righteousness, leaving your Experiential Sanctification.
Prov 7:25, “Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths.”
“Do not let … turn aside” is the negative AL, (do not), with the Verb SATAH, שָׂטָה, the means, “to depart from, turn aside, go astray.” This verb is used just six times in the Old Testament, four times in Numbers and twice in Proverbs. Num 5:12, 19-20, 29 (regarding a potentially adulterous wife); Prov 4:15, (a warning to turn away from the path of the wicked); and our verse.
It has a slightly different emphasis than what we saw in NATAH of vs. 21, (to entice, turn aside). NATAH is the enticement to turn away while SATAH is the actual turning away itself. We could say that NATAH is the enticement to enter into sin compared to SATAH which is taking the exit ramp off of the highway you were on and heading toward sin.
“To her ways” is DEREK, which emphasizes the father’s vision of vs. 22, where the “young man lacking in heart”, (vs. 7), chose to follow the adulterous woman, (Satan’s cosmic system), resulting in his destruction.
As we have been noting, “her ways”, stands for her dark deceptions; restless, irrational, and unrestrained lust; infidelity to her husband; tyranny against society; insults to God and the true worship of God, and calloused indifference to the youth’s fate.
So the NATAH (enticement to enter a wrong direction) of vs. 21 can lead to the SATAH (departing or going astray in a wrong direction) of vs. 25.
And what is the subject that exits to the wrong direction? Your “heart” LEB, the right lobe of your soul, where you store and retain and apply Bible Doctrine. Synonymous with the Liver of vs. 23, we see it is the inner man that turns aside to sin, human good, and evil.
This is then reemphasized in the second half of this verse, “Do not stray into her paths.”
“Do not stray” is AL, (do not), with TAAH that means, “to err, wander, stagger, or go astray” in the sense of intoxication, (Isa 28:7), of sin (ethically) and the wandering (of the mind). In the Qal Jussive, it continues the exhortation to not do this thing. This is a play on what was said in Prov 5:20, “Why should you be exhilarated (SHAGAH) with an adulteress?” versus being exhilarated with your own wife, vs. 19.
Recall that SHAGAH also indicated a type of wandering.
“Into her path”, is a different word than DEREK. It is NETHIB or NETHIBAH, נְתִיבָה, that means, “trodden with the feet, path, pathway, or traveler.” It is a “path or back road” as contrasted with a “highway.” Therefore, it is the dark alley you should not walk down. We saw this in Prov 1:15 warning against associating with those prone to sin, human good, and evil.
Here it is used for the woman who “gets around” as we would say! This is the traveling woman who goes from one bed to another, or one man to another. It is the path of adultery that is worn down, trodden under feet. This is the path or dark alley we are to avoid!
So what appears to be a twofold warning is actually one: to turn aside from the ways of wisdom to the path of an adulteress is to wander about lost in her ways.
This prohibition stands in direct contrast to walking and living in obedience to the ways taught by the teacher Prov 7:1-5, 24. Since behavior reveals what is or is not in the heart, vs. 7, the heart must be guarded and kept at all times, Prov 4:23.
Therefore, we are not to turn our hearts towards sin and Satan’s cosmic system in our imaginations or fantasies, and certainly we should not go near them mentally, verbally, or physically.
Successful resistance is therefore not a matter of willpower, but of submission and obedience to God’s Word and His plan for your life.
Prov 7:26, “For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain.”
“For” is the conjunction KI, “for or because”, once again. This is the third time this Conjunction is used in the chapter. First in vs. 6, introducing God the Father, then in vs. 19, introducing God the Son, and now in vs. 26, introducing Satan himself and the results of getting in bed with him.
“Many” is the Adjective of ROB that we had in vs. 21, which is RAB, רַב, pronounced RAV, that means “much, many, or great” with the understanding of “to be or become numerous.” In other words, those whom she has destroyed are nearly countless. The “many” things we have here are not enticements, but “victims.”
“Victims”, is the noun CHALAL, חָלָל, that means, “slain or pierced.” It is a technical military term for “pierced” in battle, though it can be used for anyone murdered or executed. It is also a metonymy for the slain corpses in battle that are stripped and then buried. The noun is used to designate all who die premature death, contrasted with those who are classified as simply the “dead.” Cf. Psa 88:5. In addition, this word is used for the piercing of our Lord on the Cross, Isa 53:5, that of being slaughtered due to taking on the sins of the entire world.
So you can see that this is a different form of “piercing” than what we had in vs. 23, “pierce”, PALACH, that meant, “cutting in two or to pierce”, yet you can see the play on words continuing the theme of what was noted in vs. 22-23.
Finally, we have an interesting twist to the use of this word in Lev 21:7, 14, related to our verse. There CHALAL is used regarding women who had had prior sexual relationships, where the priests were forbidden to marry them. They could only marry a virgin. So victims are the ones the adulteress has defiled. It is the innocent of the righteous that have been drag into reversionism.
“She has cast down” is the Hiphil Perfect of the Verb NAPHAL, נָפַל, that means, “to fall, lie, be cast down, fail.” It can mean an, “attack, desertion, or capture.” In the Hiphil (causative) it means, “To cause to fall, throw down, knock out, and lay prostrate.” The Perfect Tense means it is a completed action. She / Satan has already caused this to happen to many victims. It is used:
- 100 times for a violent death and 30 for utter ruin.
- Idiomatically for a violent death, especially in battle, Judges 5:27; 1 Sam 4:10; Amos 7:17.
- For birds falling into a snare on the ground, Amos 3:5.
- Prov 22:14 describes the mouth or words of an adulteress, as a pit into which men fall, when they are under Gods curse. Similar phraseology appears in Eccl 10:8; Psa 57:6.
- As a posture of submission, as many submit to Satan’s Cosmic System.
Then we have, “and numerous are all her slain.”
“Numerous” is the Adjective ATSUM, עָצוּם, that means, “strong, mighty or numerous,” and is a derivative of the verbal root ATSOM, which means, “to be strong, to be mighty, or to be numerous.”
“Numerous” here means, many attributes that make one strong or mighty. As you know, believers of the Church Age have been given Forty Things at the moment of salvation and a Portfolio of Invisible Assets, in order to be “overcomers” in the spiritual life.
So we see that this seductive woman (Satan) can bring down both the strong and the weak, the mature and immature believer, if they let her!
This ties in with ROB, “many”, at the beginning of this verse, and in vs. 21, where the seductress (Satan) has “many” persuasions to offer. In other words, she / he has enough so as to bring down the believer who has many assets and Bible Doctrine in his soul, if he is not careful.
Interestingly, The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), with its “wave offering”, celebrates Jacob’s blessed multiplication from a single patriarch into a great and mighty nation, cf. Deut 16:9-12. And as you know, the Feast of Pentecost, after our Lord’s Ascension, was the beginning of the Church Age in which the Holy Spirit was given to every Church Age believer for permanent indwelling; a major portion of your Portfolio of Invisible Assets so that you can be an overcomer.
In regard to the Feast of Tabernacles and the Millennial Reign of our Lord, Scripture tells us He will “judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for (RAB) strong nations far and wide,” Micah 4:3, NIV. God also promised to save a remnant and make them into a (ATSUM), strong nation, Micah 4:7 NASB.
Therefore, “Many strong men have been slain by her”, indicates that the number of men she had seduced were too numerous to count.
“All her slain” is KOL, “all”, with the Verb HARAG, הָרַג, “to kill, to slay, to slaughter.” This verb is usually used of people killing people and generally contains the idea of violent killing, i.e., murder, cf. Gen 4:8. In the Qal Passive, the men of her past receive the action of being slaughtered, presented here in the form of the woman receiving “blood on her hands.” In vs. 22, we saw that she led the man to the “slaughter”, here we see that she has “slaughtered” many men in the past.
As for “slaughter”, HARAG is used especially after a battle. So we see the defeat of the reversionistic believer in the spiritual warfare of the Angelic Conflict.
As far as the counterfeit theme goes:
Bruce Waltke notes, “Harag originated in the terminology of warfare. The agentive genitive climactically presents her as the victorious conqueror who vanquished an army of men whom she hunted down (see Prov 6:26). The imagery is closely related to the Babylonian Ishtar and the Sumerian Inanna, both of whom have the double function of being goddesses of love and war.” (New International Commentary.)
Duane A. Garrett states, “There is some resemblance between this description of the adulteress and the picture of Anat/Astarte in Ugaritic literature. The following description of Anat from the Anchor Bible is illustrative: “For she plunges knee-deep in knights’ blood/Hip deep in the gore of heroes.” The goddess is at the same time the patroness of sensuality and a bloodthirsty devil. The same can be said for the adulteress.” (New American Commentary – Volume 14)
This exposes the monstrous, strange woman (Satan) for what she is and what lies beneath her beautiful exterior. She is not just a woman who has seduced a simple-minded young man. She is a predator who has slain multitudes.
People should not be assumed to be good or evil based on external appearances, for real good and real evil are in one’s soul, Mat 23:25–28; Mark 7:23.
The warning is then quite simple: if she has destroyed many in this way, she can also destroy you. The only defense is to learn well what the teacher is teaching, Prov 7:1-5, 24.
And finally, we have in Prov 7:27, “Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.”
This verse shifts the imagery from her victory on the battlefield to the imagery of her house and ways to represent the finality of their death.
“Her house” BAYITH, stands for her counterfeit temple of her false religion of Satan’s cosmic system.
“The Way” is the Noun DEREK once again that means, “way, distance; manner, custom.” In other words, her way of life inside of Satan’s cosmic system. Rather than following “The Way” of Christ, Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22, this believer follows the counterfeit way of sin, human good, and evil found inside of Satan’s cosmic system.
DEREK is in the Masculine Plural which continues the previous theme of “many”, and connotes that her house is equipped with many wrong ways (i.e., the many aspects of her foolish behavior). And to follow her ways leads to “SHEOL.”
“Sheol” שְׁאוֹל is transliterated and stands for “death and the grave” and a specific compartment inside the earth where both believers and unbelievers went, Gen 37:35; Job 7:9; Ezek 31:15, 17; 32:27, until the resurrection of our Lord. In the New Testament, it is called Hades.
It had two compartments; One for believers called Paradise or Abraham’s Bosom, and the other called “the place of torments” where only unbelievers were sent upon their death. Since the resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, only unbelievers to go Sheol – the Place of Torments, while believers go directly to the third heaven.
The path of the wise person steers him away from Sheol, Prov 15:24, “The path of life leads upward for the wise that he may keep away from Sheol below.”
The New Testament describes Hades as a place of incarceration for the wicked, Rev 20:13. Then those whose names are not recorded in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire, known as the Second Death, in order to suffer eternal torment with Satan and his minions, vs. 14f.
Prov 5:3-6, “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech; 4But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol. 6She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it.”
This is doubly emphasized with “descending to the chambers of death.”
“Descending” is YARAD, יָרַד, a verb meaning, “to go down, to descend” of spatial descent or downward motion. It is used figuratively of going down to Sheol, Gen 37:35. As noted previously, Folly, the antithesis of wisdom, is a path down to certain premature death, Prov 5:5.
“Chambers” is the Noun CEDER, חֶדֶר, that means, “inner room, chamber, or bedroom.” A nice play on words in that if you go to her bedroom, you will end up in Satan’s bedroom – Sheol.
Most Old Testament usages refer to inner room or chamber, but here only, it refers to a “burial chamber.” Here it is “Chambers of Death.”
Figuratively, “chambers” is used for the “inner self”, which links with “liver” and “heart” above, and plays on the type of death this woman brings to the weak man, spiritual degeneracy for the believer.
“Death” is the noun MAWETH, מָוֶת. As we have noted previously, for the Israelites, death was both acceptable and unacceptable. If one lived a long and blessed life, such as Abraham and David, then death was not an evil, but a last stage in a full life, Gen 25:8; 1 Chron 29:28.
Gemser says: “Her bedroom is no ballroom, but a battlefield where corpses lie about and from where many are sent to the Netherworld, (Prov 2:18f; 5:5; 9:18), even to the most inner chambers of the fortress of death, that are destined for the most disrespected among the dead (Ezek 32:23, 27; Isa 14:15f. 19f).” (New International Commentary, Gemser, Spruche, p. 45)
Prov 9:18, “But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol”
So in conclusion, this chapter has explained and warned against wandering lost in her ways, since her house is a house of death, not of life. Her (Satan’s) promised “love” is an invitation to a bed in the grave, cf. Prov 2:18f.
Mattoon notes, “Solomon shouts out to all young men repeatedly that death is at the end of the yellow brick road of the seductive woman or girl. The path of the adulteress may appear glamorous, inviting, and exciting, but death awaits in the shadows. The bedroom of the immoral woman leads to the chambers of death and the stairway to Hell. This is the resident that Satan wishes to conceal from you.”
The main messengers of death are the horses of sexual disease, a husband’s rage, or a wife’s revenge. These stallions of destruction are wild, screaming, kicking, bucking, rearing back on their hind legs, and practically impossible to control like a cowboy riding a bucking bronco in a Texas rodeo.
Adultery makes you a rider whether you like it or not and will put you on one of these beasts of destruction. You will feel out of control and the ride will be bumpy for sure as you may experience a ruined reputation, a destroyed soul, a lost job, wasted money, a violated marriage, distrusting, bitter children, illegitimate babies, emotional scars, a defiled conscience, horrible guilt, sexual bondage, broken trust, loss of fellowship with God and family, strained relationships, feelings of worthlessness, painful memories, difficulty in moving forward, a loss of health, and eventually death, both physically and spiritually, unless you repent and turn to Christ. Immorality is labeled as casual sex, but there is nothing casual about Hell and the heavy baggage that comes with adultery.” (Mattoon’s Treasures -Treasures from Proverbs, Volume 1.)