Proverbs 23:28

ESV She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind.
NIV Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.
NASB Certainly she lurks as a robber, And increases the treacherous among mankind.
CSB indeed, she sets an ambush like a robber and increases the number of unfaithful people.
NLT She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful.
KJV She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.

What does Proverbs 23:28 mean?

This concludes one of the book of Proverbs' many warnings about sexual sin (Proverbs 23:26–27). On numerous occasions, Solomon sounds an alarm about the dangers and consequences of lust (Proverbs 5:22; 6:27–35; 28:10). While the phrasing implies a woman who tempts a man, the principle applies to all people and situations. Here, the concept of sexual temptation as a trap is magnified. The tempting person is depicted waiting in ambush, springing out to attack.

The point is not that all sexual temptations come from deliberate predators. Some do, which is a good reason to be cautious, but Scripture has a broader idea in mind here. The emphasis is on the suddenness and deep peril those temptations present. Part of avoiding those traps is awareness: diligently looking for dangers and acting accordingly (Proverbs 4:23). Sexual temptation can be difficult enough to overcome, let alone when it catches someone completely off guard.

One of Jesus' famous parables was about a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers pounced on him, stripped him of his clothes, and left him to die in the road (Luke 10:30). Sexual temptation, metaphorically, is like a robber, catching the unsuspecting and, when acted upon, inflicting wounds on their souls that can be healed only by the grace of God.

The reference to "increases the traitors" is from a Hebrew figure of speech not easy to translate. In a spiritual sense, those who are sexually immoral drag other people into their sin; they add to the number of people rebelling against God's goodness. The phrase might also be used to imply the frequency of sexual sin, implying that lust is responsible for many people's moral failures.
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