Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Lest. “A husband should teach his wife to be chaste by his own example.” (Lact. Relig. vi.)
Ipse miser docui quo posset ludere pacto
Custodes eheu! nunc premor arte mea. (Tibul.)
Ver. 4. Dancer. Greek, “musician, lest,” &c. (Haydock) — The same person is often given to both music and dancing, (Menochius) and these arts are very dangerous. ([Ovid?] Met. xiv. 6.) — The dances in the East were more licentious than ours.
Ver. 5. Gaze. It is not always possible to avoid seeing them; but the greatest caution is requisite, Job xxxii. 1., and Matthew v. 28. (Calmet) — Jealousy and all dangerous occasions must be avoided. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Streets. Greek, “retired parts,” where bad women dwell. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Up. Greek, “of a fine appearance.” Grabe substitutes, “who has found favour.” (Haydock) — The Fathers condemn too much dressing as a mark of levity and incontinence.
Ver. 12. Nor, &c., is also admitted in many copies, though found in the Complutensian and Aldus edition. (Calmet) — Grabe replaces it on the authority of Clement (Pæd. ii. 7.) as he does many other passages, which are erroneously left out in several editions. (Prolog. t. 4. c. 3.) It would therefore be injurious to the word of God, if we were always to reject the additions in the Vulgate, which are not in the Vatican Greek copy; and they must not all at least be considered as interpolations.
Ver. 16. Envy not. If thou hast faith and wisdom, thou wilt rather dread his punishment, Psalm xxxvi. 1., and Proverbs iii. 31. (Calmet) — He is like a summer flower, that is quickly cut down. (Worthington)
Ver. 17. Wrong. Greek, “applauses of the unjust. Remember that they will not be justified even to hell.” (Haydock) — The world itself will finally approve only of virtue. (Calmet) — The wicked will be condemned both by God and man. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. It. Greek, “Know what thou art….walking on the pinnacles of the city.” (Haydock) — The same sense is given in the Vulgate, as people walking among armed men in a rage, are exposed to imminent danger. (Menochius)
Ver. 21. Beware. Greek, “aim at.” Examine the person to whom thou intrusteth a secret.
Ver. 24. Artificers. All strive to excel in their profession.
Ver. 25. Hateful. Satirists are dangerous. (Calmet) —
Excutiat sibi, non cuiquam parcet amico. (Horace, i. sat. 4.)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Cautions with regard to women, and dangerous conversations.
1 Be not jealous over the wife of thy bosom, lest she shew in thy regard the malice of a wicked lesson.
2 Give not the power of thy soul to a woman, lest she enter upon thy strength, and thou be confounded.
3 Look not upon a woman that hath a mind for many: lest thou fall into her snares.
4 Use not much the company of her that is a dancer, and hearken not to her, lest thou perish by the force of her charms.
5 *Gaze not upon a maiden, lest her beauty be a stumbling-block to thee.
6 *Give not thy soul to harlots in any point: lest thou destroy thyself and thy inheritance.
7 Look not round about thee in the ways of the city, nor wander up and down in the streets thereof.
8 *Turn away thy face from a woman dressed up, and gaze not about upon another’s beauty.
9 For many have perished by the beauty of a woman, and hereby lust is enkindled as a fire.
10 Every woman that is a harlot, shall be trodden upon as dung in the way.
11 Many, by admiring the beauty of another man’s wife, have become reprobate, for her conversation burneth as fire.
12 Sit not at all with another man’s wife, nor repose upon the bed with her:
13 And strive not with her over wine, lest thy heart decline towards her, and by thy blood thou fall into destruction.
14 Forsake not an old friend, for the new will not be like to him.
15 A new friend is as new wine: it shall grow old, and thou shalt drink it with pleasure.
16 *Envy not the glory and riches of a sinner, for thou knowest not what his ruin shall be.
17 Be not pleased with the wrong done by the unjust, knowing that even to hell the wicked shall not please.
18 Keep thee far from the man that hath power to kill, so thou shalt not suspect the fear of death.
19 And if thou come to him, commit no fault, lest he take away thy life.
20 Know it to be a communication with death: for thou art going in the midst of snares, and walking upon the arms of them that are grieved.
21 According to thy power beware of thy neighbour, and treat with the wise and prudent.
22 Let just men be thy guests, and let thy glory be in the fear of God.
23 And let the thought of God be in thy mind, and all thy discourse on the commandments of the Highest.
24 Works shall be praised for the hand of the artificers, and the prince of the people for the wisdom of his speech, but the word of the ancients for the sense.
25 A man full of tongue is terrible in his city, and he that is rash in his word shall be hateful.
5: Genesis vi. 2.
6: Proverbs v. 2.
8: Genesis xxxiv.; 2 Kings xi. 4. and xiii. 1.; Matthew v. 28.
16: Judges ix. 4.; 2 Kings xv. 10.