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Proverbs 7:22 - Exposition

He teeth after her straightway; suddenly, as though, casting aside all scruples, he gave himself up to the temptation, and with no further delay accompanied her to the house. Septuagint, "He followed, being cajoled ( κεπφωθείς ), ensnared like a silly bird" (see the article on Cepphus Larus, in Erasmus's 'Adag ,' s.v. "Garrulitas"). As an ox goeth to the slaughter. He no more realizes the serious issue of his action than an irrational beast which, without prevision of the future, walks contentedly to the slaughter house, and is stupidly placid in the face of death. Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks. There is some difficulty in the translation of this clause. The Authorized Version, with which Delitzsch virtually agrees, is obtained by transposition of the nouns, the natural rendering of the Hebrew being "as fetters to the correction of a fool." The sense thus obtained is obvious: the youth follows the woman, as a fool or a criminal is led unresisting to confinement and degradation. Doubtless there is some error in the text, as may be seen by comparison of the versions. Septuagint (with which the Syriac agrees), "As a dog to chains, or as a hart struck to the liver with an arrow;" Vulgate, "As a frisking lamb, and not knowing that as a fool he is being dragged to bondage." The commentators are much divided. Fleischer, "As if in fetters to the punishment of the fool," i.e. of himself; Ewald, "As when a steel trap (springs up) for the correction of a fool," i.e. when a hidden trap suddenly catches an incautious person wandering where he has no business. The direct interpretation, that the youth follows the harlot, as fetters the proper punishment of fools, is unsatisfactory, because the parallelism leads us to expect a living being instead of "fetters." We are constrained to fall back on the Authorized Version as exhibiting the best mode of reconstructing a corrupt text. The youth, with his insensate passion, is compared to the madman or idiot who is taken away, unconscious of his fate, to a shameful deprivation of liberty.

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