Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
Good fathers warn their sons about women. Solomon warned his son here (Pr 7:6-27), and he asked his son to remember his advice and value it highly. Whorish women have harmed more young men than maybe any other single factor (Pr 7:26; 23:27-28; Ge 3:12; Ec 7:26). They must be warned against often, and the warnings must be appreciated.
This proverb does not stress obeying fatherly instruction, but rather not forgetting or neglecting the advice. The imperative verb “keep” is understood here as paying attention or regard to his rules. This is known by the preceding context (Pr 7:1), the following context (Pr 7:3), and the elliptical explanation of “as the apple of thine eye” (Pr 7:2).
When the ellipsis is supplied, the proverb reads, “Keep my commandments, and live; and keep my law as the apple of thine eye.” The great temptation facing most young men is to discount their father’s advice about women due to the folly bound in their hearts and the lust raging in their eyes and loins (Pr 22:15; Psalm 25:7; II Tim 2:22; I John 2:16).
The idiom “apple of the eye” means something that is cherished with the greatest regard. It originally referred to the pupil of the eye, which was supposed to have been a globular solid body, much like an apple. As precious as this part of the eye is to seeing, and as all objects are beheld through this aperture, the expression means something very precious.
Good fathers warn their sons often about whorish women. Solomon stressed their danger in the book of Proverbs (Pr 2:16-19; 5:1-23; 6:20-35; 7:1-27; 9:13-18; 22:14; 23:27-28; 30:20; 31:3). Was it because of his father’s failure (II Sam 11:1-27)? Or his own failure (I Kgs 11:1-8)? Or was it because of Judah (Gen 38:12-26)? Or Samson (Judges 16:4-21)?
By nature, a son does not value his father’s warnings. He deceives himself to believe that his father is out of touch with the world, that his father overstates the danger, that his father wants to deprive him of pleasure, that his father never met a desirable woman, that his father did not have sexual lusts, or that he can escape the consequences his father describes. All these are dangerous lies from a foolish youthful heart and the father of lies.
Sons must trust fathers and esteem their advice and warnings. Every father was once a young man with the same desires and temptations. But a father has survived youth and reflected much on what is best for his son. He has long-term success in mind, not short-term pleasures that will ruin his life. Fathers love their sons more than any woman will ever love them, even a virtuous wife. Young man, keep your father’s commandments!
Young men must resist the attraction and temptation of a whorish woman by having their minds firmly established in their fathers’ commandments long before they encounter this dangerous creature. Once they are even slightly captivated by the appearance, flattery, or offers of a seductress, it becomes almost impossible to recall any fatherly warnings.
But what will a young man do, whose father does not teach or warn him about such a woman? He will be helpless before the drawing power of her body and wiles. Such fathers are accomplices in the destruction of their sons. Though he may have advised and warned about many dangers, he neglected the most harmful. Fathers, save your sons!
Reader! God your Father has given His commandments and law to you. Do you keep them as the apple of your eye? Do you read them daily? Do you meditate upon them? Do you tremble before their warnings and rejoice at their instruction? Or do you deceive yourself that you can forget or neglect them and survive? Do not be like a foolish son.