1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
“the apple of thine eye” – the pupil, which is cared for and protected because of its great value (see Deut 32:10).
3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
“Bind them upon thy fingers” – as a reminder (see 6:21; Deut 6:8).
“table of thine heart” –
But he shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jer 31:33).
4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
“wisdom” – as embodied in the instructions of the wisdom teacher (vv 1-3).
“my sister…kinswoman” – make wisdom your most intimate companion. “Sister” may be used here in the sense of “bride” (see Sol 4:9-10, 12; 5:1-2).
5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
“black and dark night” – he was hoping no one would see him (see 2:13).
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart.
“the attire of a harlot” – perhaps dressed in a gaudy manner (see Ez 16:16) and heavily veiled (see Gen 38:14-15).
11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
“she…lieth in wait” – ready to catch her prey (see v 22).
13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
“kissed him” – a bold greeting (see Gen 29:11).
14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I paid my vows.
“peace offerings” – part of the meat could be eaten by the one who brought the offering and by his (or her) family (Lev 7:12-15).
“This day I have paid my vows” – an offering made as the result of a vow was one of the peace offerings, and the meat had to be eaten on the first or second day (see Lev 7:15-16). So the young man had an opportunity to enjoy a real feast, one that ironically had a religious significance (cf Amos 5:21-22).
15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
“fine linen of Egypt” – linen is associated with the wealthy in 31:22. Egyptian linen was of great value (see Is 19:9; Ez 27:7).
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
“myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon” – fragrant perfumes that are linked with making love also in Ps 45:8; Sol 4:14; 5:5.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
“take our fill of love” – making love is compared to eating and drinking (also in 9:17; 30:20; Sol 4:16; 5:1).
19 For the good man is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
“not at home” – so he will never know (cf 6:34-35)
“long journey” – perhaps he wa s a wealthy merchant.
20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
“money” – pieces of silver of various weights were a common medium of exchange, but not in the form of coins until a later period.
21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
“As an ox goeth to the slaughter” – totally oblivious of the fate that awaits him.
23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
“through his liver” – the terrible fate of the wicked is similarly described in Job 20:24-25.
24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.