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therefore, that verses 20-35 are in fact a unity warning against the foreign (v. 24) wife of a neighbor (v. 29) who commits adultery.

In the three passages relating to the "strange woman" which have been examined, the interpretation which has seemed most cogent is that she is an unfaithful foreigner married to an Israelite. Proverbs 6:26 excludes the inter-

pretation of her as a common prostitute (hnvz) for her

price is a man's life rather than a mere loaf of bread. The references to her in Proverbs 2:16-19; 5:1-22 and 6:20-35 contain nothing which demands any cultic perspective.73 An unfaithful foreigner married to an Israelite would fit each of the passages.

The instruction of Proverbs 7:1-27 contains the last explicit reference to the "strange woman." The didactic narrative of verses 6-23 describes her making a pitch to an

to make his point decisively this sage quotes a proverb." Whybray's rigid use of grammatical person as a literary critical criterion leads him astray. The questions of vv. 27-28 and 30 are certainly not addressed to some third party but to the "my son" of v. 20.

73 So also Perdue who remarks concerning 2:16-19 that "the identity of the 'Strange Woman' in this context as a prostitute or temple harlot (is) only a suggestive possi- bility" (p. 147); concerning 5:1-22 that "the text contains nothing that would allow us to decide whether she is to be regarded as a prostitute for hire or a temple priestess" (p. 148); and concerning 6:20-35, "she is easily identified as an Israelite adulteress" (p. 149).


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