Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. Thoughts. Or wisdom; and act with discretion. — Mind, &c., is omitted in Hebrew and St. Jerome. (Calmet) — By woman all concupiscence, or the inducement to sin, is commonly understood. We must not think of such things. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Sword. “It is a crime even to hearken.” (St. Ambrose, de Abrah. ii. 11.) She seeks thy ruin, ver. 5., and chap. ii. 16.
Ver. 6. They. Hebrew, “if perhaps thou ponder the path of life.” (Pagnin) (Haydock) — Or “she ponders not,” &c. She walks inconsiderately, and consults only her passions, chap. vii. 10. (Calmet) — No one can depend on her love. (Menochius)
Ver. 9. Strangers. The world, the flesh, and the devil are such; cruelly devising our ruin. (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Strength. Or children, ver. 16., and Genesis xlix. 3. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Body. He alludes to a shameful disease, the just punishment of intemperance, Ecclesiasticus xix. 3.
Ver. 14. Evil. Infirm and worn out, having lost my reputation, &c. (Calmet) — Though I lived among the faithful, I was under no restraint. (Menochius)
Ver. 15. Well. Live comfortably on your own property, (Cajetan) with your own wife. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Waters. Mayst thou have a numerous offspring, (ver. 10.) and be liberal. Many copies of the Septuagint, &c., have a negation, with Aquila, “let not thy,” &c., (Calmet) though it may be read with an interrogation, “are the waters of thy fountain to be?” &c. (De Dieu) — By no means. Origen (in Numbers xii.) acknowledges both readings. (Calmet) — Good instructions must be given to those who are well disposed, but not to scoffers, or obstinate infidels. (Worthington) — Husbands are exhorted to be content with their own wives, (ver. 15, 20.) so that the negative particle seems to be here wanting, as it is, chap. vi. 17., in Manuscript 60, (Kennicott) and chap. xiv. 33. (Septuagint, &c.) (Capellus)
Ver. 17. Thee. Stick to thy own wife. In a moral sense, let those who instruct others, take care not to neglect themselves.
Ver. 18. Vein. Thou shalt have a numerous progeny, Psalm lxvii. 28., and Isaias xlviii. 1. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Love. This is spoken by way of permission, and to withdraw people from unlawful connections, Ecclesiastes ii. 1., and 1 Corinthians vii. 29. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Ropes. “Evil habits unrestrained induce a necessity,” (St. Augustine, Confessions viii. 5.) though not absolute. (Haydock) — The libertine thinks he can get free as soon as he pleases; not being aware of the chains which he is forging for himself. (Calmet) — Sin requires punishment. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
An exhortation to fly unlawful lust, and the occasions of it.
1 My son, attend to my wisdom, and incline thy ear to my prudence,
2 That thou mayst keep thoughts, and thy lips may preserve instruction. Mind not the deceit of a woman.
3 For the lips of a harlot are like a honeycomb dropping, and her throat is smoother than oil.
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down into death, and her steps go in as far as hell.
6 They walk not by the path of life, her steps are wandering, and unaccountable.
7 Now, therefore, my son, hear me, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the doors of her house.
9 Give not thy honour to strangers, and thy years to the cruel.
10 Lest strangers be filled with thy strength, and thy labours be in another man’s house,
11 And thou mourn at the last, when thou shalt have spent thy flesh and thy body, and say;
12 Why have I hated instruction, and my heart consented not to reproof,
13 And have not heard the voice of them that taught me, and have not inclined my ear to masters?
14 I have almost been in all evil, in the midst of the church and of the congregation.
15 Drink water out of thy own cistern, and the streams of thy own well:
16 Let thy fountains be conveyed abroad, and in the streets divide thy waters.
17 Keep them to thyself alone, neither let strangers be partakers with thee.
18 Let thy vein be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of thy youth:
19 Let her be thy dearest hind, and most agreeable fawn: let her breasts inebriate thee at all times: be thou delighted continually with her love.
20 Why art thou seduced, my son, by a strange woman, and art cherished in the bosom of another?
21 *The Lord beholdeth the ways of man, and considereth all his steps.
22 His own iniquities catch the wicked, and he is fast bound with the ropes of his own sins.
23 He shall die, because he hath not received instruction, and in the multitude of his folly he shall be deceived.
21: Job xiv. 16. and xxxi. 4. and xxxiv. 21.