What does Proverbs 6:27 mean?
ESV: Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?
NIV: Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?
NASB: Can anyone take fire in his lap And his clothes not be burned?
CSB: Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned?
NLT: Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?
KJV: Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
Verse Commentary:
This passage of Proverbs warns of the dangers associated with adultery (Proverbs 6:20–26). This statement is echoed by a common proverb in modern English, which says "if you play with fire, you're going to get burned." In much the same way, those who dabble in sexual sin don't need to wonder "if" there will be consequences, only "when" and "how drastic" they will be. Solomon compares adultery to fire being carried next to the chest. In both cases the adulterer and the person carrying fire will get burned. Engaging in immoral sex is like carelessly handling something only to have it harm you.

This truth was demonstrated in the lives of Solomon's own parents. After committing adultery with Bathsheba, David experienced the distressing consequences of his sin. In Psalm 32 he described what he experienced as physical and emotional suffering (Psalm 32:3), guilt and loss of energy (Psalm 32:4). In his prayer of confession in Psalm 51, David refers to the uncleanness he felt following his act of adultery (Psalm 51:2), the constant pain of being confronted by his sin (Psalm 51:3), the loss of joy (Psalm 51:8, 12), and the feeling of being estranged from God (Psalm 51:11). David learned that the momentary pleasure of sin brings long days and nights of physical and spiritual suffering (2 Samuel 12:7–15).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 6:20–35 returns to the topic of adultery, something Solomon also discussed in chapter 5. He warns his son to abide by the teaching he received from his parents, because they will guide him and keep him from the adulteress. Further, he cites the harmful and irreversible consequences of adultery.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter provides teaching on two aspects of wealth management. The first is avoiding putting one's property in debt for the sake of some other person's risky investment. The other warns against laziness, indicating that it puts a person at risk for sudden ruin. Solomon then poetically explains attitudes and actions which God finds especially repulsive. Next, Solomon returns to the subject of adultery. He reiterates the inherent risks of sexual immorality, including the catastrophic consequences which it brings. That lesson continues into the following chapter.
Chapter Context:
This chapter of Proverbs continues the wise sayings Solomon addresses to his son. In chapter 5 he addresses adultery and marriage. In this chapter he addresses financial matters, work ethics, characteristics and conduct the Lord despises, and sexual immorality. A common theme of these lessons is to avoid the natural consequences of foolish choices. The next chapter describes the adulteress's ways and the pitfalls involved in committing adultery with her.
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 4/13/2024 9:26:39 AM
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