Proverbs 14:10

The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
– Proverbs 14:10

This proverb does not contrast bitterness and joy, but treats them both alike as unknowable to a stranger, or another person. It is a wise observation that a person knows his own deep sorrows and profound joys. These cannot be fully expressed to or known by another. Wisdom would mean being careful to speak into someone’s joy or pain, or assuming you fully understand it. We do have comfort in suffering knowing that God sees and understands (1 John 3:20; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15).

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Proverbs 5:4

But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
– Proverbs 5:4

End means future and is a stern reminder there is an after, as Kidner pointed out. She may at first appear with smooth sweetness and delicious promises of where she is going but the reality is opposite. Rather than sweetness is bitterness, and rather than smoothness is sharpness. Solomon uses two figures to illustrate how all adulterous activity must end. Wormwood is usually related to bitterness and is a symbol of suffering in Scripture (Deuteronomy 29:18). The sword is obviously a symbol of death as that is what her house inclines to and her path leads to (Proverbs 2:18).

Solomon demonstrates the nature of wisdom in this warning. Wisdom considers and weighs. Wisdom looks to the end or the outcome of a path and not just the exciting prospect at the beginning. In relation to the strange woman, Solomon intends for this end to be considered before she is ever met in person (Proverbs 5:8).

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