From Proverbs 7-9
A father warns his sons away from an adulterous woman. She has offered sacrifices and made her vows to the LORD in the hope she will have children. But her husband has gone away. So she resorts to dressing up like a prostitute and going out in the night to get what she wants. In doing so she draws simple young men into her death bed.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Like a few passages in the beginning of Proverbs, today’s passage begins with a father encouraging his son to pursue wisdom and resist folly.
7 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you;
2 keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
3 bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend,
5 to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words. (Prov 7.1-5)
‘My words’, ‘my commandments’. The father describes his own commandments. No doubt he received these himself from his own father and they are embodied in the law of Moses. The law of Moses commanded the Hebrew people to honour their father and mother that their days may be long.
Part of what it means to honour our parents is to obey their commands.
The father specifically warns him away from the adulteress. The forbidden woman. The embodiment of folly.
The author of the proverb lays the foundation of his story and instruction.
6 For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice,
7 and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense,
8 passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house
9 in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. (Prov 7.6-9)
The adulteress lies in wait for a simple young man. Someone she can lure in to her house and deceive. Someone gullible.
She waits at night. Not willing to act in the day when everyone could see.
10 And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.
11 She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him,
14 “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.
16 I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” (Prov 7.10-20)
She dresses up for the occasion. Making herself look like a prostitute. She is on the prowl, looking in different places to see who she can find.
The young men themselves will know what she is looking for from the way she dresses and the few kisses she has laid on him. He is tempted.
Impatience, disloyalty, unfaithfulness mark the adulteress’ path.
She says she has offered sacrifices and paid her vows. Occasionally these are given to the LORD for something in return. Reading between the lines, she wants to have children. But her husband is absent on a long journey and she wants to act quickly. Anyone else will do.
21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.
22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast
23 till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. (Prov 7.21-23)
‘A stag is caught fast’, ‘cost him his life’. The man and the woman commit adultery.
The penalty for adultery is death.
24 And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths,
26 for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death. (Prov 7.24-27)
The story is about adultery. The warning could be against this specific danger or possibly it could allude to a whole host of calamities that could befall the young and the simple.
Now the father speaks to his sons. Plural. He wants them all to learn from this story.
In a more general sense, sin can look fairly seductive and can be a great temptation. But in the end it leads to death.
“The seduction reads like a nature film in which the lion stalks an unsuspecting zebra that has become separated from the herd. The victim is not a hardened sinner, but he is ‘naive’ (v. 7). He doesn’t fully understand what is about to happen to him. This feather-brained man, however, is culpable. He hasn’t heeded the parental warnings of wisdom. He walks right into temptation (‘near her corner’, v. 8), even though he has been told not to go near her door (5:8).
Perhaps he is curious about the disreputable area of town about which he has heard. He has heard about certain movies, websites, or bars but has never personally experienced them.
Perhaps he thinks himself wise to the ways of the world and able to resist (but see 1 Cor. 10:12).
Perhaps he, like David, has time on his hands because of sinful idleness (2 Sam. 11:1).
Perhaps he assumes that he will be anonymous because of the darkness of night (v. 9), not realizing that darkness is a time of evil and danger (4:19; John 3:19).” (Newheiser, J., 2008. Opening up Proverbs, Leominster: Day One Publications.)
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.
21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (Jn 3.19-21)
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