“They are a rebellious people!
They are faithless children!
They are children who do not hear
The instruction of Yahweh.
They say to the seers.
‘Do not see!’
They say to the prophets.
‘Do not prophesy to us what is right!
Speak to us about smooth things!
Leave the way!
Turn aside from the path!
Let us hear no more
About the Holy One of Israel.’”
As in chapter 1 of this book, Isaiah says that the Israelites were a rebellious people. This theme comes from the Exodus situation with Moses in the desert as found in Exodus and Numbers. These faithless children did not want to hear the instructions of Yahweh as presented by Isaiah. They told their wise men not to see. They wanted their prophets not to prophesize about truth, but rather easy smooth things. They wanted to hear about illusions. They were tired of all this talk about the Holy One of Israel. They wanted to get off the idea of the straight and narrow path.
Be attentive to my wisdom!
Incline your ear to my understanding!
Thus you may hold on to prudence.
Thus your lips may guard knowledge.
The lips of a loose woman drip honey.
Her speech is smoother than oil.
But in the end
She is as bitter as wormwood.
She is as sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death.
Her steps follow the path to Sheol.
She does not keep straight on the path of life.
Her ways wander.
She does not know it.”
Once again, we have a parental warning, but this time it is about the loose or strange woman also mentioned in chapter 2. There is the usual admonition to pay attention and listen to his words of wisdom and understanding. He wanted his children to have prudence and knowledge. Then he went into a description of this loose or strange woman. Her lips were sweeter than honey and her speech smoother than oil. However she was bitter like wormwood, some kind of bitter plant. She also was a sharp two edged sword that would lead to death in Sheol. She did not keep to the straight and narrow path of life. She was a wanderer, but did not know it. There does not seem to be any sexual overtones, but a mere unflattering portrayal of this loose or strange woman.