What does Proverbs 22:14 mean?
ESV: The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit; he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it.
NIV: The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit; a man who is under the LORD's wrath falls into it.
NASB: The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the Lord will fall into it.
CSB: The mouth of the forbidden woman is a deep pit; a man cursed by the Lord will fall into it.
NLT: The mouth of an immoral woman is a dangerous trap; those who make the Lord angry will fall into it.
KJV: The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
NKJV: The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; He who is abhorred by the Lord will fall there.
Verse Commentary:
A common form of trap in the ancient world was the pit: a disguised hole used to capture or injure prey. Earlier in the book of Proverbs, "the forbidden woman" was used as a personification of temptation (Proverbs 2:16; 7:4–10). Sin seems attractive and welcoming, but what it draws us to is not what God intends for us. In fact, the result of following temptation is death and ruin (Proverbs 8:34–36). Moving towards sinful urges is as dangerous as walking unaware towards a deep trap.

The comparison used here echoes the anger God expresses at sin as a type of spiritual adultery. After committing physical adultery with Bathsheba, King David felt the disastrous effects of his sin. He suffered mental, spiritual, and physical anguish. Until he confessed his sin and received forgiveness, his bones wasted away, he groaned all day long. He felt God's hand was heavy upon him, and his strength was dried up (Psalm 32:3–4). Further, the joy of salvation had left him (Psalm 51:12). Even after receiving God's forgiveness, David experienced all the natural, negative consequences of his adulterous act. He lost the baby that was born to him and Bathsheba, and his son Absalom rebelled against him and tried to seize the throne. Adultery pays bitter wages; what seemed desirable turns out to be poisonous.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 22:1–16 dispenses practical advice about gaining a good reputation, avoiding danger, setting children on a good path, finances, pure living, and the Lord's watchfulness and judgment. These verses also speak on the absurdity of laziness, the danger of evil words, and the sin of oppressing the poor. This completes an extensive list of wise sayings (Proverbs 10:1) attributed to Solomon.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter completes a long string of wise sayings attributed to Solomon (Proverbs 10:1). He notes that reputation and godliness are far better than money. He also notes that godly wisdom keeps a person from various dangers. Loving parents use proper discipline to instill wisdom in their children. The last portion of the chapter introduces a new passage, made up of thirty wise teachings which Solomon endorses. This string of advice continues into chapter 24.
Chapter Context:
This chapter is the last of the second division of the book, including all of chapters 10—21. This section includes some 375 verses, mostly in paired lines. Chapter 22 completes these statements, then introduces a collection of thirty wise sayings endorsed by Solomon. The first five are negative commands, warning to avoid certain vices. Chapter 23 continues with more sayings of advice.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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