Proverbs 5:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Proverbs 5:3, NIV: For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil;

Proverbs 5:3, ESV: For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil,

Proverbs 5:3, KJV: For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

Proverbs 5:3, NASB: For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, And her speech is smoother than oil;

Proverbs 5:3, NLT: For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.

Proverbs 5:3, CSB: Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil,

What does Proverbs 5:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This begins an extensive warning about the dangers of adultery. The imagery given is that of a woman, but the principles apply equally to either sex.

A universal application is also supported by the lack of physical descriptions. While men are stereotypically more susceptible to looks, women are stereotyped by greater weakness to flattery. Solomon's warning here does not limit itself to someone who merely looks or sounds good; it applies to anyone offering the sin of adultery.

The seducer uses sweet, smooth words to entice their victims. That enticing speech resembles the sweetness of honey, which was the sweetest substance known in ancient times.

Seducing speech is as smooth as olive oil, neither coarse nor rough. Perhaps the seducer uses flattery to trap a victim. Or they may boast about the great pleasure awaiting those who give in. Many people have found themselves tricked by a "smooth talker," or enticed by a flirtatious personality, only to deeply regret that decision.

It is the sin nature that causes humans to love flattery and wrongful pleasure. The Galatian believers fell for the flattery false teachers used to draw them from sound doctrine to error. Paul said the false teachers made much of the Galatians so the Galatians would make much of them (Galatians 4:17). It was Paul's practice not to flatter his audience but to preach the gospel. He wrote how he "never came with words of flattery" (1 Thessalonians 2:5), but was "ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves" (1 Thessalonians 2:8). The Devil is more than capable of using flattery to ensnare human beings, using our natural vanity!