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Beware of Smooth Lips
Proverbs 5:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 For the lips of a strange woman drip honey,
and smoother than oil is her mouth,
For the lips of a strange woman drip honey: The (זָר zār) strange woman (2:16) is referring to those who set aside what was in harmony with the Mosaic Law and thus distanced and estranged themselves from God. Therefore, the immoral sensual woman (prostitute) was not necessarily a foreigner. “The strange woman,” the prostitute, is described as one “who forsakes the companion of her youth” (2:17), which is referring to the husband of her young womanhood. She has ignored and disregarded the prohibition on adultery that was a part of the covenant of her God, the Mosaic Law covenant. (Ex. 20:14) Solomon uses the sweetness of (נֹפֶת nopheth) honey (the sweetest substance in the ancient world and the smoothest substance in the Israelite home) to illustrate the temptation to sexual immorality that the “strange woman” can bring to bear (achieve) by her appeal to a man with her use of beauty, sexual attraction, and smooth words. It is a fine warning to Christians today.
And smoother than oil is her mouth: Her (שָׂפָה saphah) lips, the contributing factor to the young man’s downfall, were used as a figure of speech, in reference to her words. The Hebrew word zarah rendered “stranger” here in this context referred to a woman who had left the Law, who is now a prostitute, or an immoral woman. In this Proverb, like is true of most seductresses throughout history, it is not her physical beauty alone, but primarily the sound of her voice and her words that lead the young man astray. Again, honey is the sweetest substance in the ancient Israelite home and is compared to her words. Verse 3 uses the sweetness of honey to illuminate the enticement to sexual immorality that the strange woman (forbidden woman) will wield by her entreaty to a young man with her seduction of flattering and smooth words, smoother than oil. The gist of Solomon’s message is simple; we do not listen to the charms of sin. The indulgences of fleshly lust are very tempting; like the lips of a strange woman drip honey, the words of the mouth may appear harmless. However, read on and see how fatal the consequences can be.