Proverbs 5:14

I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

I was almost in all evil,.... Scarce a sin but he was guilty of; contempt of private and public instructions, the instructions of parents and ministers of the Gospel, and following lewd women, commonly lead to the commission of all other sins, even the most atrocious. Some understand this, not of the evil of sin, but of the evil of punishment; and that the sense is, that there is scarce any calamity, distress, or misery, that a man can be in, but his profaneness and lewdness had brought him into; and he was just upon the brink of hell itself: and so Jarchi paraphrases it,

"there was but a step between me and hell.''

Aben Ezra observes, that the past is put for the future, "I shall be"; and then the meaning is, in a little or in a short time I shall be in complete misery; and so they are the words of one under consciousness of sin, despairing of mercy;

in the midst of the congregation and the assembly; that is, either be despised and neglected the instructions which were given in a public manner; or he committed all the evil he did openly; not only in company with wicked men, which he frequented, but even in the presence and before the people of God; yea, before the civil magistrates, the great sanhedrim, which is sometimes designed by the last word here used: or when he was in the house of God, attending public worship, his eyes were full of adultery, and his heart of impure lusts; and neither place, service, nor people of God, where he was, commanded any awe and reverence in him, nor in the least restrained his unclean thoughts and wanton desires; and which is mentioned as an aggravation of guilt. Or else the sense is, that his calamities and miseries were as public as his crimes; he was made a public example of, and all the people were witnesses of it; which served to spread his infamy, and make his punishment the more intolerable: both the sins and punishment of those that commit fornication with the whore of Rome will be public and manifest, Revelation 18:5.