16 to deliver you[a] from the adulterous woman,[b] from the loose woman[c] who has flattered[d] you with her words;[e]
Proverbs 2:16sn The same term, לְהַצִּילְךָ (lehatsilekha, “to deliver you”), introduces twin purposes in vv. 12 and 16 of deliverance from the evil man and the wicked woman. Four poetic lines elaborate each: vv. 12-15 the evil man, vv. 16-19 the evil woman.
Proverbs 2:16tnHeb “strange woman” (so KJV, NASB); NRSV “the loose woman.” The root זוּר (zur, “to be a stranger”) sometimes refers to people who are ethnically foreign to Israel (Isa 1:7; Hos 7:9; 8:7) but it often refers to what is morally estranged from God or his covenant people (Pss 58:4; 78:30; BDB 266 s.v.). Referring to a woman, it means adulteress or prostitute (Prov 2:16; 5:3, 20; 7:5; 22:14; 23:33; see BDB 266 s.v. 2.b). It does not mean that she is a foreigner but that she is estranged from the community with its social and religious values (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 285). It describes her as outside the framework of the covenant community (L. A. Snijders, “The Meaning of זוּר in the Old Testament: An Exegetical Study,” OTS 10 : 85-86). Here an Israelite woman is in view because her marriage is called a “covenant with God.” She is an adulteress, acting outside the legal bounds of the marriage contract.
Proverbs 2:16tnHeb “alien woman.” The adjective נָכְרִי (nokhri, “foreign; alien”) may refer to people who are non-Israelite, ethnically foreign, or someone who is unknown or unfamiliar, although an Israelite (see BDB 649 s.v.) It is perhaps used as a technical term in Proverbs for a harlot or promiscuous woman as someone who is morally alienated from God and moral society (Prov 2:16; 5:20; 6:24; 7:5; 23:27; see BDB 649 s.v. 2). Or perhaps the terms characterizing her as a stranger are chosen to underscore the danger of being naively taken in by someone unknown.
Proverbs 2:16tnHeb “has made smooth.” The Hiphil of II חָלַק (khalaq, “to be smooth; to be slippery”) means (1) “to make smooth” (metal with hammer) and (2) “to use smooth words,” that is, to flatter (Pss 5:10; 36:3; Prov 2:16; 7:5; 28:23; 29:5; see BDB 325 s.v. 2; HALOT 322 s.v. I חלק hif.2). The related Arabic cognate verb means “make smooth, lie, forge, fabricate.” The seductive speech of the temptress is compared to olive oil (5:3) and is recounted (7:14-20).sn As the perfect verb of a dynamic root, the verb reports what she has done not what she is doing (the way the participle in 2:12 describes the men speaking). While it is likely true that she would regularly flatter every man who crossed her path, we are given the picture of the young man carrying on his mind what she has said to him. Part of succumbing to temptation often involves becoming narrowly focused on something potentially pleasurable and blocking out the consequences. Compare Eve in Genesis 3. The man has been flattered—how will he let that sit in his mind?
Proverbs 2:16sn For descriptions of seductive speech, see Prov 5:3 where it is compared to olive oil, and 7:14-20 where such speech is recorded.
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to choose a monthly or yearly subscription, and then enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate, click the button below.
Upgrade, and get the most out of your new account. An integrated digital Bible study library - including complete notes from the Believer's Bible Commentary and the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (NIV and NRSV) - is just a step away! Try it free for 30 days.