Chapter 7

Warning Against the Adulteress

Another "My son" chapter head, six more paragraphs in the NIV (the last one beginning again with (plural) "sons"), the same topic we have seen before. This may not be important to some of us, but it's a real problem in our culture today, as I suppose it was in the time of Solomon. Except as we might infer from Solomon's advice repeated here in Proverbs, the Bible does not tell us much about the moral fabric of Israel at that time, but people are sinners in every time and in all places.

Invitation to Obedience

Except for the one final verse declaring the chapter topic, this first paragraph resembles the other introductions, where "My son" is invited to pay attention and to seek Wisdom [read v.1-5]
1 My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings 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 understanding your kinsman;
5 they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words.
Pastor Mark's sermon focus last Sunday was elsewhere, but a clear teaching of Jesus in John 14:15,21 is that being one of God's People is inextricably connected to obeying His commandments. Obedience does not save us -- only Christ's finished work on the Cross does that -- but disobedience is incompatible with loving God. Moses said it repeatedly in the Law God gave to Israel from Mt.Sinai [for example Ex.20, Dt.28:1,2,15], Solomon repeats it here (and four other places we have already seen: 2:1, 3:1, 4:4, 6:20, plus a couple more beyond the scope of this study [10:8, 13:13]), Jesus said it in the sermon text Pastor Mark read from the pulpit on Sunday, the Evangelist John repeated it in his epistle [1Jn.2:3,4], and the great Apostle Paul also repeated it several times in his letters [Rom.6:1,2, 15,16, 1Co.6:9,10, Gal.6:9, Eph.2:10].

The Wayward Woman and Her Foolish Client

Most of this chapter in Proverbs is devited to an extended tale, Solomon watching how this plays out. My NIV broke this into four paragraphs for readability, but it's one story [read v.6-9]
6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice.
7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment.
8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house
9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.
This guy is a kid, old enough to know better, but not very smart. Smart people don't do these things.

Continuing, [read v.10-13]

10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.)
13 She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said:
[Read v.14-17]
14 "I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows.
15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
[Read v.18-20]
18 Come, let's drink deep of love till morning; let's enjoy ourselves with love!
19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon."
James in his epistle [Jas.4:13-16] warns against making assumptions about future events. What if the husband comes home early? Maybe his business client had his own emergency, or maybe the husband suspects something and only pretends to be off on a long trip, then what? You don't want to be that kid [read v.21-23]
21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose
23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.
Solomon's story ends with him musing about the kid's latter end, but it doesn't take much imagination for us to understand how right he is.

Finally, the moral of his story [read v.24-27]

24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.
25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.
26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.
Don't do this at home! Nor anywhere else.

Tom Pittman
2022 August 22