chapter
2 Pages

ofillicit

common "turn "turning
By(sarat)

In the Proverbs account, the )ishshah zarah is firmly rooted on the evil path, indeed her house leads to Sheo!. There is no warning for a female reader not to stray into these paths; rather the warning is presented to her potential male victim. It is the vulnerable young male, a nameless parallel to the chaste hero Joseph, who must be warned against "turning aside," or turning toward the )ishshah zarah) a parallel to the character of the Egyptian wife. The roles of the two women in Proverbs, the )eshet hayil and the )ishshah zarah) are fixed; the author of Proverbs expects no textual engagement between a wifewoman and her sexual twin. He is not concerned with exploring possible shadings in either woman's character. Nor is he worried about stones in the paths ofyoung women, causing them to stumble. It is male readers (the sons) to whom the author (the father) addresses his collection of maxims and warnings. Once again the woman is the object of male anxiety: subduing her sexuality is the key to his safety.