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The instruction of Proverbs 5 is wholly devoted to the issue of adultery. The masculines of verses 9, 10 and 17

(MyrHx, yrzkx, Myrz, yrkn) are troublesome.

Are these associates of the "strange woman"? Or, do liaisons with her lead to ruin at the hands of these foreigners? The difficulty stems in part from the fact that the aim of the instruction is to warn against promis- cuous behavior. What "descriptions" there are occur in the motivations (vv. 3-6, 9-14) and the rhetorical question of verse 20 which, from a formal standpoint, are subordinate parts of the chapter. More important are the descriptions of the joys of the young man's wife which are integrally related to the imperatives and jussives (vv. 15, 17-19) essential to the instruction genre.68 Most likely the chapter has in view adulteresses in general who are typified by the "strange woman."

Although the "strange woman" (hrz hwx) does not

appear in the instruction of Proverbs 6:20-35, the passage is often interpreted in association with her, primarily on the basis of the appearance of the "foreign woman"

(hyrkn) who is parallel to the "strange woman"

68

McKane, pp. 1-10.

48

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