New English Translation
10 Suddenly[a] a woman came out to meet him!
She was dressed like a prostitute[b] and with secret intent.[c]
11 (She is loud and rebellious,
she[d] does not remain[e] at home—
12 at one time outside, at another[f] in the wide plazas,
and by every corner she lies in wait.)
13 So she grabbed him and kissed him,
and with a bold expression[g] she said to him,
14 “I have meat from my peace offerings at home;[h]
today I have fulfilled my vows!
15 That is why I came out to meet you,
to look for you,[i] and I found you!
16 I have spread my bed with elegant coverings,[j]
with richly colored fabric[k] from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply[l] of lovemaking[m] until morning,
let’s delight ourselves[n] with love’s pleasures.
19 For my husband[o] is not at home;[p]
he has gone on a journey of some distance.
20 He has taken a bag of money with him;[q]
he will not return until[r] the end of the month.”[s]
21 She turned him aside[t] with her persuasions;[u]
with her smooth talk[v] she was enticing him along.[w]
22 Suddenly he was going[x] after her
like an ox that goes to the slaughter,
like a stag prancing into a trapper’s snare[y]
23 till an arrow pierces his liver[z]—
like a bird hurrying into a trap,
and he does not know that it will cost him his life.[aa]
- Proverbs 7:10 tn The particle וְהִנֵּה (vehinneh) introduces a dramatic sense of the immediate to the narrative; it has a deictic force, “and look!—there was a woman,” or “all of a sudden this woman….”
- Proverbs 7:10 tn Heb “with the garment of a prostitute.” The noun שִׁית (shit, “garment”) is an adverbial accusative specifying the appearance of the woman. The words “she was” are supplied in the translation to make a complete English sentence.
- Proverbs 7:10 tn Heb “kept secret of heart”; cf. ASV, NRSV “wily of heart.” The verbal form is the passive participle from נָצַר (natsar) in construct. C. H. Toy lists the suggestions of the commentators: false, malicious, secret, subtle, excited, hypocritical (Proverbs [ICC], 149). The LXX has “causes the hearts of the young men to fly away.” The verb means “to guard; to watch; to keep”; to be guarded of heart means to be wily, to have secret intent—she has locked up her plans and gives nothing away (e.g., Isaiah 48:6 as well). Interestingly enough, this contrasts with her attire which gives everything away.
- Proverbs 7:11 tn Heb “her feet.” This is a synecdoche, a part for the whole; the point is that she never stays home, but is out and about all the time.
- Proverbs 7:11 tn Heb “dwell” or “settle”; NAB “her feet cannot rest.”
- Proverbs 7:12 tn The repetition of the noun פַּעַם (paʿam, “step, occasion”) is an idiom indicating different occasions. It could be rendered idiomatically in English as “now [here], now [there],” “once [here], then [there],” or “at one time…at another time” (BDB 822 s.v. פַּעַם 3.e).
- Proverbs 7:13 tn Heb “she made her face bold.” The Hiphil perfect of עָזַז (ʿazaz, “to be strong”) means she has an impudent face (cf. KJV, NAB, NRSV), a bold or brazen expression (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT).
- Proverbs 7:14 tn Heb “peace offerings are with me.” The peace offerings refer to the meat left over from the votive offering made at the sanctuary (e.g., Lev 7:11-21). Apparently the sacrificial worship meant little to this woman spiritually. By expressing that she has peace offerings, she could be saying that she has fresh meat for a meal at home, or that she was ceremonially clean, perhaps after her period. At any rate, it is all probably a ruse for winning a customer.
- Proverbs 7:15 tn Heb “to look diligently for your face.”
- Proverbs 7:16 tn Heb “with spreads I have spread my bed.” The rare noun is a cognate to the verb.
- Proverbs 7:16 tn The feminine noun means “dark-hued stuffs” (BDB 310 s.v. חֲטֻבוֹת). The form is a passive participle from a supposed root II חָטַב (khatav), which in Arabic means to be of a turbid, dusky color mixed with yellowish red. Its Aramaic cognate means “variegated”; cf. NAB “with brocaded cloths of Egyptian linen.” BDB’s translation of this colon is unsatisfactory: “with dark hued stuffs of yarn from Egypt.”
- Proverbs 7:18 tn The verb means “to be saturated; to drink one’s fill,” and can at times mean “to be intoxicated with.”
- Proverbs 7:18 tn Heb “loves.” The word דּוֹד (dod) means physical love or lovemaking. It is found frequently in the Song of Solomon for the loved one, the beloved.
- Proverbs 7:18 tn The form is the Hitpael cohortative of עָלַס (ʿalas), which means “to rejoice.” Cf. NIV “let’s enjoy ourselves.”
- Proverbs 7:19 tn Heb “the man.” The LXX interpreted it as “my husband,” taking the article to be used as a possessive. Many English versions do the same.
- Proverbs 7:19 tn Heb “in his house.”
- Proverbs 7:20 tn Heb “in his hand.”
- Proverbs 7:20 tn Heb “he will come back to his home at.”
- Proverbs 7:20 tn Heb “new moon.” Judging from the fact that the husband took a purse of money and was staying away until the next full moon, the woman implies that they would be safe in their escapade. If v. 9 and v. 20 are any clue, he could be gone for about two weeks—until the moon is full again.
- Proverbs 7:21 tn Heb “she turned him aside.” This expression means that she persuaded him. sn While this verb is a Hebrew perfect (and so past tense in English) the next verb is an imperfect (past progressive). The sage is taking us inside the transition in the man’s mind. He is hooked but not yet reeled in. He has turned and maybe taken a step in her direction, but not really committed yet inside. The second half of the verse points to her continuing enticement to keep him coming until he commits; she is close to closing the deal.
- Proverbs 7:21 sn The term לֶקַח (leqakh) was used earlier in Proverbs for wise instruction; now it is used ironically for enticement to sin (see D. W. Thomas, “Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 : 280-92).
- Proverbs 7:21 tn Heb “smoothness of her lips”; cf. NAB “smooth lips”; NASB “flattering lips.” The term “lips” is a metonymy of cause representing what she says. The noun חֵלֶק (kheleq) “smoothness” is the counterpart to the verb “flatter” is 7:5.
- Proverbs 7:21 tn The basic meaning of the verb נָדַח (nadakh) is “to go/be led astray.” In the causative Hiphil form it means “to drive away, to entice, to seduce.” As an imperfect verb in a past time setting it is progressive: she turned him aside and was leading him astray.
- Proverbs 7:22 tn The participle with “suddenly” gives a vivid picture. It depicts the inner change in the man. She had turned him and been enticing him along, but he was still like an ox deciding whether to really follow the call after turning in its direction. Then suddenly, like a switch has been thrown inside, he goes on under his own will power, just like the dumb ox he has become.
- Proverbs 7:22 tn The present translation follows R. B. Y. Scott (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 64). This third colon of the verse would usually be rendered, “fetters to the chastening of a fool” (KJV, ASV, and NASB are all similar). But there is no support that עֶכֶס (ʿekhes) means “fetters.” It appears in Isaiah 3:16 as “anklets.” The parallelism here suggests that some animal imagery is required. Thus the ancient versions have “as a dog to the bonds.”
- Proverbs 7:23 sn The figure of an arrow piercing the liver (an implied comparison) may refer to the pangs of a guilty conscience that the guilty must reap along with the spiritual and physical ruin that follows (see on these expressions H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament).
- Proverbs 7:23 tn The expression that it is “for/about/over his life” means that it could cost him his life (e.g., Num 16:38). Alternatively, the line could refer to moral corruption and social disgrace rather than physical death—but this would not rule out physical death too.