What does Proverbs 5:3 mean?
ESV: For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil,
NIV: For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil;
NASB: For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, And her speech is smoother than oil;
CSB: Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil,
NLT: For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil.
KJV: For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
NKJV: For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil;
Verse Commentary:
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!
Verse Context:
Proverbs 5:1–6 pleads with the son to heed his father Solomon's wise counsel in order to be discreet and to speak knowledgeably. He depicts the seductress—a person seeking to come between a married couple—as speaking sweetly but her words are full of deadly poison. She is headed for ruin, and she does not realize it. Of note is that Solomon does not describe the seducer physically, since temptation isn't limited to physical attraction. As with other warnings in this book, the reader is advised not to put themselves at risk of sharing in that same destruction.
Chapter Summary:
Solomon approaches the subject of adultery by describing a prototype seducer: a smooth talker who leads the victim down a dangerous road. Sin promises pleasure, but it is ultimately brief and destructive consequences are long lasting. The destructive consequences include a loss of strength, respect, money, and longevity. The person who disregards godly counsel about adultery experiences ruin and disgrace. Faithfulness in marriage brings a person exuberance and joy. No sin, including adultery, is hidden from God. Sin ensnares the adulterer and shows that he is foolish, undisciplined, and far from the Lord.
Chapter Context:
This chapter continues the wise sayings Solomon addresses to his children and / or students. Solomon warns about the temptation to succumb to adultery. He points out the calamities of yielding to sexual sin, and of violating one's marriage. This warning is similar the one given in Proverbs 1:8–10. After cautioning about the risks of adultery, he cites the joys and advantages of monogamous marriage.
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.
Accessed 5/26/2024 8:04:56 AM
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