Proverbs 7

Chapter seven brings attention again to the adulterous woman, the fourth time since chapter two. After another warning and encouragement for his son to keep Solomon’s instruction, including a reference to binding them to himself as with the Law in Deuteronomy 6:8, Solomon spent the rest of the chapter telling a story of a young man who did not pay attention. Whether the story was a true account or a parable is unknown, though he said that he saw the events through his window.

The young man that Solomon saw from his window was walking near the woman’s house, possibly hoping for a glance at her, when she came out and grabbed him (Proverbs 7:6-10). Solomon described her as wearing the clothes of a prostitute (Proverbs 7:11-15). Though she was technically not one, she was well-known in the marketplace for seducing young men. She had apparently just made a voluntary offering at the Temple, so she had a feast waiting for them at home. Her bedroom had the best Egyptian sheets and fragrances (Proverbs 7:16-20). She was ready to have him all night. In case he was unsure if it was safe, she assured him that her husband was on a business trip for at least a few days, if not a couple of weeks, so no one would catch them.

“She persuaded him with persuasive words,” and Solomon likened the young man to an animal that had just stepped into a trap and was about to be pierced and killed (Proverbs 7:21-27). Even if he was not executed for adultery under the Law, his life was over. She could hold this over him, or he would always fear of being found out. His morals had been corrupted; she had killed him spiritually.

Proverbs 6

Chapter six contains some of the well-known sections of Proverbs: the foolishness of co-signing, the industrious ant, and the seven deadly sins. Still, there are only three main sections of the chapter. In the first section, Solomon warned his son about foolishness regarding finances (Proverbs 6:1-15). Co-signing a loan for a financially risky person is foolish, and he should do everything within his power to get out of it, like a gazelle running for its life. Laziness is also foolish, and the “sluggard” was worse than an ant, which actually works for its food, while the lazy man sleeps, makes excuses, and expects everyone else to help him. He is a disaster waiting to happen.

The second section contains the infamous seven deadly sins, “seven things that are an abomination to him” (Proverbs 6:16-22). This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but it represents the categories of actions and attitudes that God despises. It is worth noting that, although only two of these are direct violations of the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes are a kind of opposite list of proper actions and attitudes that God desires in his people. 1 Solomon persisted in his claim that his instructions were the best for his son and would keep him protected both physically and spiritually as he walked life’s path, but it required diligence and commitment to know and keep them.

The third section returns to the area of sexual morality (Proverbs 6:23-35). Once again the adulterous woman is in view and is considered worse than a prostitute. Solomon’s reasoning is that, though a prostitute may bankrupt a man, an adulteress will have a jealous husband. “Can a man hold fire against his chest without burning his clothes?” Can a man have an affair with his neighbor’s wife without repercussions? What compensation will the husband accept for this kind of theft?

Notes:

  1. Technically, the Beatitudes of Matthew 5 are instructions and principles for the Messianic Kingdom, but some of the underlying attitudes are timeless.

Proverbs 5

Chapter five returns to the subject of the sexually loose woman from Proverbs 2:16-19, emphasizing that she is an adulteress. Solomon’s own mother, Bathsheba, committed adultery with King David (2 Samuel 11-12), of which union Solomon was the second-born. Solomon also had many wives during his life (1 Kings 11:3), and it does not take supernatural wisdom to see the issues associated with adultery. In this chapter, Solomon laid out the dangers of his son getting mixed up with a married woman, then offered a much better situation.

In Solomon’s example, the woman was the seductress, speaking words dripping with honey and oil (Proverbs 5:3). Anyone who was caught up with her, however, would find himself on the path of bitterness and death (Proverbs 5:4-5). As if that were not bad enough, Solomon warned that the man who has an affair with a married woman is wasting his strength, his years, and his wealth by investing them into another man’s home (Proverbs 5:8-11). Although it does not clearly state it, the wasting away of one’s body or strength could certainly apply to sexually transmitted diseases.

Instead of this potential life, Solomon encouraged his son to be satisfied at home: “Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well” (Proverbs 5:15). A married couple should fully satisfy each other, so there is no need to look elsewhere (Proverbs 5:16-20). In this case, as with many other examples that will arise in this book, the lack of discipline and structure leads to destruction, while obedience to God’s law brings life and a straight path (Proverbs 5:21-23).