Proverbs 5:4

but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

    sharp as a two-edged sword.

Proverbs 5:4 ESV

“But in the end …” is a signal to put on your seat belt because you are going to be on a bumpy ride. In this proverb, the writer presents the bad outcome as the result of a deception. In verse 3 we see that the forbidden woman is a smooth talker, “smoother than oil.” As we have said in a previous post, “Because everything is not as it appears, wisdom is a necessity.”

Verse 4 is the first of many examples of bad outcome. Here, the reader’s physical senses of taste and touch are assaulted: “she is bitter as wormwood” and “sharp as a two-edged sword.” An engaged reader might even recoil at the bitter taste of wormwood or the painful thought of being cut by a two-edged sword. That is the writer’s intention, like a splash of cold water to shock us into clarity. Everything about the forbidden woman draws us in, “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.” BUT! “But in the end …”

Verse 4 reworded: If you don’t want to have a bitter taste or be sliced and diced, avoid the forbidden woman.

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