Proverbs
Introduction 1-2 Discretion and Knowledge 3-6 The Lips and Feet of the Strange Woman 7-14 The Price of Unfaithfulness 15-23 The Joy of Faithfulness in Marriage
Introduction

In this chapter Solomon comes back with more details to the corrupt heart, which makes a man forsake the woman of his youth for another one (Pro 2:16-2016To deliver you from the strange woman,
From the adulteress who flatters with her words;
17That leaves the companion of her youth
And forgets the covenant of her God;
18For her house sinks down to death
And her tracks [lead] to the dead;
19None who go to her return again,
Nor do they reach the paths of life.20So you will walk in the way of good men
And keep to the paths of the righteous.
). He demonstrates that that is the way, which demoralizes the whole man. It is a warning from man to man to avoid any sexual relation with an adulteress, literally ‘strange woman’, which is every woman outside the one, own, legal wife.


Discretion and Knowledge

1My son, give attention to my wisdom,
Incline your ear to my understanding;
2That you may observe discretion
And your lips may reserve knowledge.

If we assume that in verses 1-61My son, give attention to my wisdom,
Incline your ear to my understanding;
2That you may observe discretion
And your lips may reserve knowledge.3For the lips of an adulteress drip honey
And smoother than oil is her speech;
4But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
5Her feet go down to death,
Her steps take hold of Sheol.
6She does not ponder the path of life;
Her ways are unstable, she does not know [it].
the grandfather is still speaking to the father, we see that David has spoken to his son Solomon about the adulteress or the strange woman. Anyway, it is also a matter which each generation has got to deal with. The sexual desire doesn’t stop after reaching a certain age. Whoever allows himself to be tempted by the strange woman, has turned away from the way of life and goes the way of death. The way of the strange woman terminates in death. Many people deny this. They want, so to speak, to reach life through the way of death. Thereby life has another meaning to them than to God. It is impossible to live the true life through that way.

The father begins again with encouraging his son to give attention to his “wisdom” and to listen to his “understanding” (verse 11My son, give attention to my wisdom,
Incline your ear to my understanding;
). “Wisdom” is God’s wisdom, what God has revealed; the “understanding” is what he has acquired by experience and observation. He has more often appealed to listen to him (Pro 2:11My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
; 3:1,21My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
; 4:1,10,201Hear, [O] sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,
10Hear, my son, and accept my saying
And the years of your life will be many.
20My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
), but here he does that particularly with the view to the temptation with which the adulteress approaches him.

If his son indeed listens, he will “observe discretion” (verse 22That you may observe discretion
And your lips may reserve knowledge.
). He will think carefully before he does something and live cautiously and disciplined. That will keep him from hasty and wrong choices. His lips will “reserve knowledge”, which means that he will speak what he has learnt from his father. That knowledge is the knowledge of God, knowledge which leads to honoring Him and obedience to His commandments. That knowledge will appear from his words (“your lips”). ‘Discretion’ and ‘knowledge’ are the basis of avoiding temptation to commit the disastrous foolishness of adultery.

These verses are the introduction on the teaching of the father to his son about sexuality. Only by giving attention to his wise words, he will be kept from fulfilling his sexual desires in a wrong way. The wrong way is outside of marriage. The father also tells him that can have optimal enjoyment of that inside marriage. Therefore he appeals to his son to listen to his wisdom and his understanding (Pro 6:20-2420My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
21Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
22When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.
23For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
24To keep you from the evil woman,
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
; 7:1-51My son, keep my words
And treasure my commandments within you.
2Keep my commandments and live,
And my teaching as the apple of your eye.
3Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding [your] intimate friend;
5That they may keep you from an adulteress [lit strange woman],
From the foreigner who flatters with her words.
).


The Lips and Feet of the Strange Woman

3For the lips of an adulteress drip honey
And smoother than oil is her speech;
4But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
5Her feet go down to death,
Her steps take hold of Sheol.
6She does not ponder the path of life;
Her ways are unstable, she does not know [it].

Verse 33For the lips of an adulteress drip honey
And smoother than oil is her speech;
begins with the reason giving word “for”, which means that now comes the reason why the father says that he should give attention to discretion (verses 22That you may observe discretion
And your lips may reserve knowledge.
). Without any further introduction he tells him that has got to do with “an adulteress” (lit strange woman). He doesn’t presume it as a possibility, but he puts it as a fact. This will surely happen.

The strange woman is the forbidden woman, the unauthorized woman. First it is here about another woman than one’s own wife. Then it regards a woman who deliberately seeks to tempt. The father has already said something about her, but now he starts to speak of further details about her.

She is an adulterous woman, therefore a woman who is unfaithful to her own husband. The sin of unfaithfulness is the first big sin which happens when adultery is committed. The father tells his son how she operates to tempt him to commit adultery. That unfaithful woman comes to him with words, which are sweet like honey and smoother than oil (cf. Song 4:11a11“Your lips, [my] bride, drip honey;
Honey and milk are under your tongue,
And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
). She speaks flattering, pleasant words that slide easily in his ear and in his heart.

Her “lips” are in great contrast to those of the young man that reserve knowledge (verse 22That you may observe discretion
And your lips may reserve knowledge.
). He who is trained to speak sound words with his lips, whose lips reserve knowledge, who is used to faith building conversations, will directly notice that her language is corrupt. We will get used to a sound use of language only when we listen to God’s Word and the teaching of it.

The (grand)father unmasks the corruptness that is hidden behind the tempting language (verse 44But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
; cf. Psa 55:2121His speech was smoother than butter,
But his heart was war;
His words were softer than oil,
Yet they were drawn swords.
). He directly switches to the consequences, “but in the end she is”. He means by that where it turns out to, what her intention is, what the result is of her corrupt performance. What she says seems so sweet and so pleasant. But where a relationship with her leads to, is so bitter: “bitter as wormwood”. Her tongue is “sharp as a two-edged sword”, literally ‘a sword with more than one mouth’, which causes torment and destruction. The sword represents a devouring monster (2Sam 2:2626Then Abner called to Joab and said, “Shall the sword devour forever? Do you not know that it will be bitter in the end? How long will you refrain from telling the people to turn back from following their brothers?”; Isa 1:2020“But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
). The temptress poisons and kills (cf. Ecc 7:26a26And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.).

The father pictures the consequences of an adulterous life (verse 55Her feet go down to death,
Her steps take hold of Sheol.
). His son must be aware that through the bed of this woman, the bed of sin, he ends up on the path downward, to death. Her footsteps go in the direction of the grave. That is her target. Before we know whether to join someone, we are to know where the other one is going to. Sin always leads to death: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:2323For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.; Jam 1:1515Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.).

She deliberately seeks to keep the young man from taking “the path of life” (verse 66She does not ponder the path of life;
Her ways are unstable, she does not know [it].
). Today it is also recognizable in the countless temptations in advertisements, on the billboards and on porn sites. The more a person looks at it and in that way takes it in, the more his conscience is numbed and the path to death is followed. This woman wavers from the one to the other road of death; there is nothing stable in her life; she is so unpredictable. She goes around purposelessly, uncontrollably and indecisively. You see that from her capricious traces, that go from the right to the left and back. She walks like a drunk person. There is neither rest nor direction to be found in her. If the young man lets himself be tempted by her, he will not be aware that he himself is wavering, just like she is doing. He sees her alone and does not pay attention to the way she goes.

With the strange woman is firstly meant a literal danger. But in the application, she also refers to a spiritual danger. In the strange woman we can actually see ‘the foolish woman’ which is the opposite of ‘the woman of wisdom’ (Pro 9:1-6,13-181Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars;
2She has prepared her food [Lit slaughtered her slaughter], she has mixed her wine;
She has also set her table;
3She has sent out her maidens, she calls
From the tops of the heights of the city:
4“Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!”
To him who lacks understanding she says,
5“Come, eat of my food
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
6“Forsake [your] folly and live,
And proceed in the way of understanding.”13The woman of folly is boisterous,
[She is] naive and knows nothing.
14She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high places of the city,
15Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:
16“Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,”
And to him who lacks understanding she says,
17“Stolen water is sweet;
And bread [eaten] in secret is pleasant.”
18But he does not know that the dead are there,
[That] her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
). The temptation that comes from the foolish woman, is to drag us from the fear of the LORD. She finds her full application in “the great Babylon, the mother of harlots” (Rev 17:55and on her forehead a name [was] written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”), which is a picture of the roman catholic church.


The Price of Unfaithfulness

7Now then, [my] sons, listen to me
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8Keep your way far from her
And do not go near the door of her house,
9Or you will give your vigor to others
And your years to the cruel one;
10And strangers will be filled with your strength
And your hard-earned goods [will go] to the house of an alien;
11And you groan at your final end,
When your flesh and your body are consumed;
12And you say, “How I have hated instruction!
And my heart spurned reproof!
13“I have not listened to the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to my instructors!
14“I was almost in utter ruin
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

From verse 77Now then, [my] sons, listen to me
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
the father (Solomon) goes further with the teaching on the danger of the strange woman which he had received from his father (David). That teaching continues until the end of Proverbs 7, with an interruption in Proverbs 6:1-19. The father speaks extensively about this danger to his children, which, as it is said, is a danger for each generation. The addressee is possibly a married son (verses 15-1915Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
16Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
17Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
18Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19[As] a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
), but that is not necessary for the teaching. The dangers apply to both the married and unmarried son and remain as long as he lives.

The father introduces his teaching on the danger with the strange woman by calling upon his children to listen to him and not to turn away from the words of his mouth (verse 77Now then, [my] sons, listen to me
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
). He did that also in verses 1-21My son, give attention to my wisdom,
Incline your ear to my understanding;
2That you may observe discretion
And your lips may reserve knowledge.
. The reason why he does that again, is because he wants them to keep their focus on his teaching as long as they live. To turn to a strange woman is to turn away from the teaching of the father.

He begins with the simple argument that the son stays as far as possible from the place of temptation and not to come near the door of her house (verse 88Keep your way far from her
And do not go near the door of her house,
). If he comes in her neighborhood, he comes under the hearing of her flattering voice. He has to avoid her, so that he does not hear nor see her. We can and should pray “and lead us not into temptation” (Mt 6:1313‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
), but we can only do that sincerely when we ourselves do not look for that temptation.

From verse 99Or you will give your vigor to others
And your years to the cruel one;
the motivation follows to stay away from her as far as possible. That is derived from the word “or” in verses 9 and 109Or you will give your vigor to others
And your years to the cruel one;
10And strangers will be filled with your strength
And your hard-earned goods [will go] to the house of an alien;
. When he actually comes under her influence and gets involved with her, he will lose his “vigor”, his good name and reputation (verse 99Or you will give your vigor to others
And your years to the cruel one;
). He will then waste the prime of his life to “others”, like the strange woman to ‘have the joy’ of it. He himself will have lost the joy of it. He will not be able anymore to enjoy his own wife, his own children, his own family. He has immersed himself in the greatest misery.

He will also give the best years of his life and also thereafter to “the cruel one”. The cruel one is the woman. She has taken control over him and makes firm demands to him. Hereby we could also think of blackmail, which is not an unusual phenomenon with marital infidelity.

What is attached to that, is that others will overpower his strength and that everything he earns, he will have to deliver to “a stranger” (verse 1010And strangers will be filled with your strength
And your hard-earned goods [will go] to the house of an alien;
). In “the stranger” we could also see best the cruel one of the previous verse, the temptress, the adulteress. We see here that a relation with the strange woman, brings a person in financial trouble. A person who is under the power of such ‘a stranger’, often has to run debts to meet her demands. This is extensively clarified in Pro 6:1-191My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor,
Have given a pledge for a stranger,
2[If] you have been snared with the words of your mouth,
Have been caught with the words of your mouth,
3Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself;
Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor,
Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.
4Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids;
5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from [the hunter’s] hand
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.6Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
7Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
8Prepares her food in the summer
[And] gathers her provision in the harvest.
9How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—
11Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.12A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
13Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;
14Who [with] perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.
15Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.16There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
18A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
19A false witness [who] utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
.

The end result is groaning and being a physical wreck due to exhaustion (verse 1111And you groan at your final end,
When your flesh and your body are consumed;
). That can for example happen by a sexual disease and aids, diseases which debilitates the body. The body will prematurely become dilapidated and exhausted. It is clear that the price of unfaithfulness due to “passing pleasure of sin” (Heb 11:2525choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,), is enormously high. Whoever commits this unfaithfulness, burdens himself with an unpayable debt. The path of death leads to the loss of honor, time, money, power and health and to pain, regret and eternal torture at the end of life.

Then the forced recognition comes, which expresses itself in hopeless remorse and a hopeless self-reproach (verse 1212And you say, “How I have hated instruction!
And my heart spurned reproof!
). ‘How could I have done such a thing? How could I have hated instruction and could my heart have rejected discipline?’ It had been said clearly and severely to him that he should stay far away from the adulteress, but he did not listen and went that way self-willed. “To hate” means to have an aversion. He has responded with aversion to the instruction.

Inwardly, in his “heart”, he has rejected “discipline”. He has resisted it instead of bowing down to it and receiving it. He did hear the instruction and discipline, but did not want to obey to it. Now his conscience is judging him, while he realizes too late that he has ignored the teaching and instruction. The hell will be full of people who again and again will say remorsefully: ‘I wish I had …’

He then will have to admit that it is his own fault, because he did not listen to “my teachers” and “my instructors” (verse 1313“I have not listened to the voice of my teachers,
Nor inclined my ear to my instructors!
). These people, with whom especially his father and mother will be meant, have given him private teachings (the son speaks twice about “my”). They have taught him intensively how he could make the right choices. They have trained him therein and made him get used to it. And yet he has rejected their teachings and has been disobedient to the commandments that they have presented him. He found himself wiser than them, he was wise in his own eyes (Pro 3:77Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
). This makes his sin extra great.

The father is saying this all to his son, as an urgent appeal to listen to his warnings. Then he will be kept from total ruin and endless remorse as a result of a wrong choice.

The sin of adultery leads to a lot of other sins. The young man has to admit to his shame that he has been “almost in utter ruin” (verse 1414“I was almost in utter ruin
In the midst of the assembly and congregation.”
). He will also become aware that his fornication is not only a personal sin, but the whole assembly has been defiled because of him (cf. 1Cor 5:1-131It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.2You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.3For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.4In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,5[I have decided] to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.6Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump [of dough]?7Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are [in fact] unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.8Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.9I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;10I [did] not at all [mean] with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.11But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within [the church]?13But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.). In the Old Testament there is no substitutionary sacrifice for this sin, but only the death penalty (Lev 20:1010‘If [there is] a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.; Deu 22:2222“If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.). In the New Testament committing this sin is followed by the discipline of the church, which means that such a person should be removed from the midst of the church (1Cor 5:33For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.).


The Joy of Faithfulness in Marriage

15Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
16Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
17Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
18Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19[As] a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
20For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress
And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
21For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD,
And He watches all his paths.
22His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
23He will die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.

The alternative to escape from the temptation of the adulteress or the strange woman is not a compulsory abstention or celibacy (1Tim 4:33[men] who forbid marriage [and advocate] abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.). The father points his son to his own wife. The desire for forbidden delight comes forth from dissatisfaction with the blessings that a person has. He tells him that his own wife should be enough for him (verse 1515Drink water from your own cistern
And fresh water from your own well.
). In his own house he has a source that can quench his thirst. He means his wife by that. In that way by him “marriage can be held in honor and the marriage bed undefiled, for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:44Marriage [is to be held] in honor among all, and the [marriage] bed [is to be] undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.).

She satisfies his sexual desires, just like water satisfies a person who is thirsty. He does not need to look for someone else for the satisfaction of those desires (1Cor 7:2-52But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.3The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband [does]; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife [does].5Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.). The comparison with a water cistern and a well indicates the refreshment that sexuality gives. Having water in the dry Israel is a valuable provision, which gives great joy.

That is a different presentation of sexuality from what is sometimes given, that all sexual experience should be restrained and that it should only happen with a view to reproduction. Sexual desires, it is argued, are much too dangerous, those flowing waters are much too powerful. But that is not the language of the Bible. God has put in man the desire for sexuality as something good. Sexual intercourse can and is allowed to be enjoyed to His honor in the bond of marriage.

God has given the enjoyment of it in marriage as a source of deep joy (Deu 24:55“When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken.; Ecc 9:99Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.; Gen 24:6767Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.). We see that in these verses. Thereby we are allowed to see in the light of the New Testament, that it is about a mystery that speaks of Christ and the church (Eph 5:25-3325Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,26so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.28So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;29for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also [does] the church,30because we are members of His body.31For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must [see to it] that she respects her husband.). Therefore it is clearly an experience which is sanctified by God’s Word.

The sexual desires are allowed to be developed, but indeed for and together with one’s own wife. Is it necessary to point this out? Yes, it is necessary, also in case we have been married already for a while or for a long time. We should avoid every desire to another than one’s own wife and ‘channel’ as it were all desires to our own wife. It is about one direction only, that of one’s own wife. That goes also for the wife towards her husband.

The authority or entitlement to the body of one another (1Cor 7:44The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband [does]; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife [does].) is not to be misused. That will not happen when the husband bears in mind that he needs to love his wife just as Christ has loved the church and still does (Eph 5:2525Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,). It is important that the husband lives with his wife in an understanding way (1Pet 3:77You husbands in the same way, live with [your wives] in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.). Therefore husband and wife should learn to know each other by communicating with each other. It is also important that they can touch one another without sexual excitement, a touch that can happen in the company of other people. Then also the sexual touch will be an expression of love and not an abuse of the other person’s body.

Verse 1616Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
is a verse which is hard to translate wherefore the explanation is also not easy. “Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets?” An explanation that fits within the framework of the verse before and the verse after it, is as follows. When the husband leaves his house and his wife to go to a strange woman, he goes “abroad”, to “the streams of water in the streets”. The sources that are outside, the woman that seduces him, are available to everyone, however much the woman wants to convince him that she is for him alone (Pro 7:1515“Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
).

In verse 1717Let them be yours alone
And not for strangers with you.
the answer comes to the question of verse 1616Should your springs be dispersed abroad,
Streams of water in the streets?
. The source of refreshment must be his own wife only. It is no option that his love goes also to a strange woman.

A spiritual application is that the Lord and He alone is enough for us. He loves us unconditionally and exclusively and also counts on our unconditional, exclusive love (2Cor 11:22For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you [as] a pure virgin.). The true satisfaction of every desire that we have, is only to be found in Christ’s love. When we grow older, our love for our wife will not grow less, but will increase, just as our love for Christ.

The father wishes his son to have a blessed relationship with his wife in their marriage (verse 1818Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
). This shows that the sexual joy in the marriage is given by God and that he may enjoy it. The young man is appealed to “rejoice in the wife of his youth”. It is a joy that should continue until the old age (Ecc 9:9a9Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.). It is a complete folly when a husband and his wife say that they have gotten ‘bored with’ each other and because of that the husband starts a relationship with ‘a strange woman’. It is a lie and a disobedience, for God calls upon the husband to rejoice in his wife, just as He appeals upon the husband that he should love his wife.

In the confidential relationship of the father with his son, he says to him that he will find the satisfaction of his desires with his own wife (verse 1919[As] a loving hind and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
). He points his son at the behavior of the beloved wife, which he compares with “a loving hind and a graceful doe”. These animals move elegantly and gracefully. That’s the way he may look at his wife. Her breasts may delight him, they may exhilarate him and intoxicate him.

He is allowed to wander ceaselessly in her love, which means that he is allowed to let himself to ‘be caught’ by it and be fascinated. He is allowed to be delighted in her continually, to be very fond of her. It is an appeal and also an instruction to focus on one’s own wife for the satisfaction of sexual desires.

In verse 2020For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress
And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
the father asks some rhetorical questions. When the son has a good sense, he will not “be exhilarated with an adulteress (lit strange woman)” for a brief relationship with a passing pleasure of sin. Here the same word ‘exhilarated’ is used like in the previous verse, but there it is a continuous and permitted exhilaration. With a strange woman there is no room nor time for intimacy. Intimacy demands a lifetime relationship with the wife of one’s youth.

The sin of adultery always takes place in secret, it is a work of the darkness (Job 24:15-1615“The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight,
Saying, ‘No eye will see me.’
And he disguises his face.
16“In the dark they dig into houses,
They shut themselves up by day;
They do not know the light.
). But nothing is hidden for God (verse 2121For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD,
And He watches all his paths.
; 2Chr 16:99For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”; Job 31:44“Does He not see my ways
And number all my steps?
; 34:2121“For His eyes are upon the ways of a man,
And He sees all his steps.
; Pro 15:33The eyes of the LORD are in every place,
Watching the evil and the good.
Jer 16:1717For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes.; 32:1919great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds;). He is not a human inspector who at times comes along to check something or somebody. He sees and weighs all the traces that an adulterous husband leaves. The behavior of such a man becomes a worn-out habit. The path to the strange woman has become a well-trodden path. We can also think of the traces of misery that are being left as the consequences that such a conduct may cause to the children and other family members.

Apart from the fact that God sees everything, He also is righteous. He knows the weight, the seriousness, of adultery and will therefore judge the adulterer (Heb 13:44Marriage [is to be held] in honor among all, and the [marriage] bed [is to be] undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.). ‘To weigh’ means to test, what He will do according to His measure, the law, especially with reference to the seventh commandment. “You shall not commit adultery” (Exo 20:1414“You shall not commit adultery.).

The awareness that there are no secrets for God will help us not to do anything that daylight cannot stand. An open and intimate relationship with God is an important means to keep our human relationships clean and pure. The key to self-control is the awareness that we are never alone, but that God sees us everywhere.

Due to a lack of self-control in the area of sexual satisfaction, the wicked one becomes a captive of his iniquities (verse 2222His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
). Many people think that they will be able to stop with a certain sin after a course of time. They, however, are not aware that a sin which is repeated frequently, has an addictive effect and takes away every resistance to break it.

We see an example with Samson (although he was not wicked) who is being kept captive by Delilah (Jdg 16:19-2119She made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him.20She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.21Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.). He is entangled in sin and is kept there and cannot liberate himself from it. This is how he is led to destruction. When the young man is not ‘chained’ by his own wife, but comes under the power of a strange woman, his own iniquities will chain him and he will be led to destruction.

The path of the adulterer ends up in death (verse 2323He will die for lack of instruction,
And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.
). He dies “because of the lack of instruction”, which means that he listened to no instruction he was given.  It can also mean that he had a lack of self-chastisement and self-discipline. He who does not listen to instruction to stay far away from an adulteress, will go astray in the “greatness of his folly”. This folly is indeed great.

For the believer, fornication or adultery is not just a sin, but a particular sin: “Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1Cor 6:18-1918Flee immorality. Every [other] sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?). Whoever commits “the greatness” of the folly of fornication or adultery, departs from the right path and will hopelessly go astray and die.


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