What does Proverbs 7:13 mean?
ESV: She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him,
NIV: She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said:
NASB: So she seizes him and kisses him, And with a brazen face she says to him:
CSB: She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him,
NLT: She threw her arms around him and kissed him, and with a brazen look she said,
KJV: So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
NKJV: So she caught him and kissed him; With an impudent face she said to him:
Verse Commentary:
Solomon has been depicting the way careless youth fall prey to adultery, describing a senseless person taken in by a predatory seductress (Proverbs 7:10–12). The adulterous woman grabs the foolish young man and kisses him. Then she speaks to him with a brazen face. Thus, she springs the trap. While the moral guidelines given here are meant for both sexes, men—especially young men—can be particularly vulnerable to sudden temptations such as these. Such an approach is a deliberate strategy to ensnare victims. When a tempting situation arises, it is wise to recognize the danger and escape—even to flee.

A famous example of aggressive seduction happened to the patriarch Joseph. In Egypt, he was sexually assaulted by his employer's wife. She continually enticed Joseph to lie with her, and he consistently refused. Then, like the prostitute Solomon describes, Potiphar's wife caught Joseph by his garment and urged him to have relations with her. But Joseph was committed to the Lord and responded decisively to his master's wife by leaving his garment in her hand and fleeing from the house (Genesis 39:7–13).

Joseph's steadfast resistance to temptation infuriated Potiphar's wife. She lied about him to Potiphar, who promptly cast Joseph into prison. However, the Lord honors those who refuse temptation, and He honored Joseph. In time, Joseph was freed from prison and elevated to second in command over the entire nation (Genesis 41:39–45).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 7:10–23 describes an adulteress as aggressive and seductive. Though speaking to his son, Solomon's lessons here are meant for all people. This passage is part of Solomon's teaching about the dangers of sin and temptation. The prior passage spoke of a reckless youth (Proverbs 7:6–9), who now suffers the consequences of his own choices. The woman in this story takes advantage of the young man's lust and carelessness. Solomon compares the trap she springs to those used to capture ox, a deer, and a bird.
Chapter Summary:
Repeating a theme common to the early chapters of Proverbs, Solomon once again presents a dire warning about the dangers of adultery. This comes in the form of a story about a foolish young man being seduced by a predatory woman. Solomon says this is something he has seen—meaning this is likely a summary of many such examples he has witnessed in his life. The result of these reckless sins is misery and death, for both men and women alike.
Chapter Context:
In Proverbs 5 and 6 Solomon warns his son against adultery. He describes the evil woman, the adulteress, as deceptive and dangerous. While this is valid in a literal sense, it also serves as a general warning about the seductive nature of sin. In this chapter he continues his counsel about adultery, stressing the tactics used in temptation and how falling to them leads to death. The following chapter will return to the personification of wisdom as a woman, begging to be honored.
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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