What’s so alluring about drinking stolen water and eating food in secret? (Proverbs 9:17) 13 Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. 14 She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, 15 calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, 16 “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, 17 “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!”
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
I think that Solomon is referring to the (sinful) human desire to get the benefit of something that is not honestly obtained, without being required to have earned it by working for it, or to have deserved it for some other reason. However, Solomon is also saying that only those without wisdom will engage in such conduct, because of adverse consequences that will follow.
Proverbs 9:17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. "Stolen water" and "bread eaten in secret" probably are figures of unlawful sexual intercourse (Ryrie) because Wiersbe says water here is a symbol of adultery. He also says "bread" ("food") eaten this way, i.e. secretly symbolizes Stolen Pleasure (Proverbs 9:17; 20:17). Support for Wiersbe's view is corroborated in the classic.net.bible.org cross reference (XRef): 9:17 = Ge 3:6; 2Ki 5:24-27; Proverbs 7:18-20; Pr 20:17; Pr 23:31,32; Pr 30:20; Ro 7:8; Eph 5:12; Jas 1:14,15 Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary 17. The language of a proverb, meaning that forbidden delights are sweet and pleasant, as fruits of risk and danger. Proverbs 9:16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, The woman, who in her own person serves as a sign to her house, addresses those who pass by in their innocence (לתמּם, 2 Samuel 15:11): 16 "Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither!" And if any one is devoid of understanding, she saith to him: 17 "Stolen waters taste sweet, And the bread of secrecy is pleasant." פּתי (folly, simplicity) has a side accessible to good and its contrary: Wisdom is connected with the one side and Folly with the other. And as the חסר־לב offers a vacuum to Wisdom which may perhaps be filled with the right contents, so is this vacuum welcome to Folly, because it meets there no resistance. In this sense, Proverbs 9:16 is like Proverbs 9:4 (excepting the addition of a connecting and of a concluding ו: et si quis excors, tum dicit ei); the word is the same in both, but the meaning, according to the two speakers, is different. That to which they both invite is the pleasure of her fellowship, under the symbol of eating and drinking; in the one case, it is intellectual and spiritual enjoyment, in the other sensual. That Wisdom offers (Proverbs 9:5) bread and wine, and Folly water and bread, has its reason in this, that the particular pleasure to which the latter invites is of a sensual kind; for to drink water out of his own or out of another fountain is (Proverbs 3:15-20) the symbol of intercourse in married life, or of intercourse between the unmarried, particularly of adulterous intercourse. מים גּנוּבים (correct texts have it thus, without the Makkeph) is sexual intercourse which is stolen from him who has a right thereto, thus carnal intercourse with אושׁת אישׁ; and לחם סתרים fleshly lust, which, because it is contrary to the law, must seek (cf. Furtum, secret love intrigue) concealment (סתרים, extensive plur., as מעמקּים; Bttcher, 694). Just such pleasure, after which one wipes his mouth as if he had done nothing (Proverbs 30:20), is for men who are without wisdom sweet (מתק, Job 20:12) and pleasant; the prohibition of it gives to such pleasure attraction, and the secrecy adds seasoning; and just such enjoyments the כסילות, personified carnality, offers. But woe to him who, befooled, enters her house! Proverbs 9:17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.