“Apply your mind to instruction.
Apply your ear to the words of knowledge.”
This is simple enough. Be a good student! Pay attention! Put your mind on what your instructor says. Listen carefully with your ears to the words of knowledge that others are telling you.
Listen to me!
Be attentive to the words of my mouth!
Do not let your hearts turn aside to her ways.
Do not stray into her paths.
Many are those she has laid low.
Numerous are her victims.
Her house is the way to Sheol.
You will be going down to the chambers of death.”
This chapter ends with the death of the simpleton. Once again, there is the parental warning to pay attention to his words. They should not turn away from his warnings. They were not to listen to the smooth and seductive words of the prostitute. The adulteress had laid low many. They were to stay the path and not stray into her paths. Her house was the way to hell, Sheol, the dark underworld of death. Going into that house would lead to death. It is not clear how she actually killed them. This is a very strong warning against adultery and prostitution with the punishment as death.
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.
“There are those who snatch
The orphan child from the breast.
They take as a pledge the infant of the poor.
They go about naked,
Though hungry, they carry the sheaves.
Between their terraces they press out oil.
They tread the wine presses,
But suffer thirst.
From the city,
The dying groan.
The throat of the wounded cries for help.
Yet God pays no attention to their prayer.”
Job maintained that God did not pay attention to the prayers of the poor. They have their children snatched from their breast as collateral. They have no clothing. Although hungry and thirsty, they carry the wheat and press the olive oil and the grapes for wine. They groan from the city, but no one hears them. Their prayers go unanswered.