This chapter addresses the seductive lure of the harlot to a young man. But, as with the previous chapter, I believe these verses are not about sexual adultery, but spiritual adultery. I believe they are the words of the Lord to Israel as cleverly imagined and disguised by the author. In other words, where the harlot is mentioned, take that to mean ignorance and foolishness, and where the good woman is mentioned, take that to mean understanding and wisdom. The next chapter should be interpreted this way as well.
בְּנִי שְׁמֹר אֲמָרָי וּמִצְוֺתַי תִּצְפֹּן אִתָּךְ׃ 7:1
Prov. 7:1 My son, keep my utterances,
and you must store up my commandments with you.
שְׁמֹר מִצְוֺתַי וֶחְיֵה וְתוֹרָתִי כְּאִישׁוֹן עֵינֶיךָ׃ 7:2
Prov. 7:2 Keep my commandments and live,
and my teaching as the apple of your eye.
קָשְׁרֵם עַל־אֶצְבְּעֹתֶיךָ כָּתְבֵם עַל־לוּחַ לִבֶּךָ׃ 7:3
Prov. 7:3 Bind them on your fingers,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Archaeologists have uncovered rings of pliable gold that could be wrapped around a finger. Apparently at least some Jews took these words literally.
אֱמֹר לַחָכְמָה אֲחֹתִי אָתְּ וּמֹדָע לַבִּינָה תִקְרָא׃ 7:4
Prov. 7:4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and you should give the name of "Kinsman" to understanding,
לִשְׁמָרְךָ מֵאִשָּׁה זָרָה מִנָּכְרִיָּה אֲמָרֶיהָ הֶחֱלִיקָה׃ 7:5
Prov. 7:5 to keep you from the strange woman,
from the alien woman whose words are deceitful.
כִּי בְּחַלּוֹן בֵּיתִי בְּעַד אֶשְׁנַבִּי נִשְׁקָפְתִּי׃ 7:6
Prov. 7:6 For I look out at a window of my house through my lattice,
וָאֵרֶא בַפְּתָאיִם אָבִינָה בַבָּנִים נַעַר חֲסַר־לֵב׃ 7:7
Prov. 7:7 and I might look at the foolish ones,
I would perceive a young man lacking understanding with the youths,
עֹבֵר בַּשּׁוּק אֵצֶל פִּנָּהּ וְדֶרֶךְ בֵּיתָהּ יִצְעָד׃ 7:8
Prov. 7:8 passing in the street near her corner,
and he would stride the road of her house
בְּנֶשֶׁף־בְּעֶרֶב יוֹם בְּאִישׁוֹן לַיְלָה וַאֲפֵלָה׃ 7:9
Prov. 7:9 at twilight, in the evening of the day,
in the black of night and of darkness.
וְהִנֵּה אִשָּׁה לִקְרָאתֹו שִׁית זֹונָה וּנְצֻרַת לֵב׃ 7:10
Prov. 7:10 And behold, the woman would be meeting him,
the attire of a harlot, and hidden of heart.
הֹמִיָּה הִיא וְסֹרָרֶת בְּבֵיתָהּ לֹא־יִשְׁכְּנוּ רַגְלֶיהָ׃ 7:11
Prov. 7:11 She is turbulent and rebellious,
in her house her feet cannot settle down.
פַּעַם בַּחוּץ פַּעַם בָּרְחֹבֹות וְאֵצֶל כָּל־פִּנָּה תֶאֱרֹב׃ 7:12
Prov. 7:12 At one time in the street,
at another in the plazas,
but near every corner she might wait.
וְהֶחֱזִיקָה בֹּו וְנָשְׁקָה־לֹּו הֵעֵזָה פָנֶיהָ וַתֹּאמַר לֹו׃ 7:13
Prov. 7:13 And she would take hold on him
and try to give him a kiss;
she makes her face firm and says to him,
זִבְחֵי שְׁלָמִים עָלָי הַיּוֹם שִׁלַּמְתִּי נְדָרָי׃ 7:14
Prov. 7:14 “I have paid my vows of sacrifices,
of peace offerings for myself today.”
How deceptive the idolators can be! Even going so far as to claim to be honorable and ritually observant.
עַל־כֵּן יָצָאתִי לִקְרָאתֶךָ לְשַׁחֵר פָּנֶיךָ וָאֶמְצָאֶךָּ׃ 7:15
Prov. 7:15 “Therefore I came out to meet you,
to seek your face,
and I have found you.”
מַרְבַדִּים רָבַדְתִּי עַרְשִׂי חֲטֻבוֹת אֵטוּן מִצְרָיִם׃ 7:16
Prov. 7:16 “I have spread the coverings of my bed,
colored fabrics of Egyptian linen.”
נַפְתִּי מִשְׁכָּבִי מֹר אֲהָלִים וְקִנָּמוֹן׃ 7:17
Prov. 7:17 “I have sprinkled my bed,
myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.”
לְכָה נִרְוֶה דֹדִים עַד־הַבֹּקֶר נִתְעַלְּסָה בָּאֳהָבִים׃ 7:18
Prov. 7:18 “Come, let us take our fill of loving until the morning;
we will delight ourselves with love making.”
כִּי אֵין הָאִישׁ בְּבֵיתוֹ הָלַךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ מֵרָחוֹק׃ 7:19
Prov. 7:19 “For the husband is not at home,
he has gone on a distant journey.”
צְרוֹר־הַכֶּסֶף לָקַח בְּיָדוֹ לְיוֹם הַכֵּסֶא יָבֹא בֵיתוֹ׃ 7:20
Prov. 7:20 “He took the money pouch with him;
he will return home at the time of the full moon.”
הִטַּתּוּ בְּרֹב לִקְחָהּ בְּחֵלֶק שְׂפָתֶיהָ תַּדִּיחֶנּוּ׃ 7:21
Prov. 7:21 She influences him with her great persuasiveness;
she can impel him with the seductiveness of her lips.
הֹולֵךְ אַחֲרֶיהָ פִּתְאֹם כְּשֹׁור אֶל־טָבַח יָבֹוא וּכְעֶכֶס אֶל־מוּסַר אֱוִיל׃ 7:22
Prov. 7:22 He is following her immediately as an ox would go to slaughter,
or like one fettered, to the correction of a fool –
עַד יְפַלַּח חֵץ כְּבֵדוֹ כְּמַהֵר צִפּוֹר אֶל־פָּח וְלֹא־יָדַע כִּי־בְנַפְשׁוֹ הוּא׃ 7:23
Prov. 7:23 until an arrow would have pierced his liver
-- as the hastening of a bird to the trap
that does not know when it is at risk of its life.
וְעַתָּה בָנִים שִׁמְעוּ־לִי וְהַקְשִׁיבוּ לְאִמְרֵי־פִי׃ 7:24
Prov. 7:24 So now, children, listen to me,
and attend to the utterances of my mouth.
אַל־יֵשְׂטְ אֶל־דְּרָכֶיהָ לִבֶּךָ אַל־תֵּתַע בִּנְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ׃ 7:25
Prov. 7:25 You must not let your heart turn to her ways,
you must not stray onto her paths.
כִּי־רַבִּים חֲלָלִים הִפִּילָה וַעֲצֻמִים כָּל־הֲרֻגֶיהָ׃ 7:26
Prov. 7:26 For many she has cast down fatally wounded,
and numerous are all her slain.
דַּרְכֵי שְׁאוֹל בֵּיתָהּ יֹרְדוֹת אֶל־חַדְרֵי־מָוֶת׃ 7:27
Prov. 7:27 Her house? The ways of the netherworld,
the descent to the chambers of death!
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