Proverbs
Introduction 1-5 Warning against the Strange Woman 6-9 The Victim 10-12 The Temptress 13-20 The Temptation 21-23 The Capitulation of the Victim 24-27 Do Not Let Your Heart Turn Aside to Her Ways
Introduction

The necessity of sexual self-control, the necessity to say ‘no’ to offers of physical intimacy outside marriage, is the dominating theme in the speeches of wisdom in Proverbs 1-9.

In this chapter the father speaks again about that to his son (Pro 2:16-1916To 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.
; 5:1-231My 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].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.”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.
; 6:20-3520My 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.25Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.
26For on account of a harlot [one is reduced] to a loaf of bread,
And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.
27Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?
28Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?
29So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.30Men do not despise a thief if he steals
To satisfy himself when he is hungry;
31But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold;
He must give all the substance of his house.
32The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense;
He who would destroy himself does it.
33Wounds and disgrace he will find,
And his reproach will not be blotted out.
34For jealousy enrages a man,
And he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35He will not accept any ransom,
Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.
). He does that in the form of a story. It is an educational story that the father is telling, in order to warn his son urgently about the temptation of the strange woman. In Proverbs 6 it is about a man who is so foolish, that he is not satisfied with his own well and goes to the wife of his neighbor. In Proverbs 7 it is about a young inexperienced man who in his foolishness lets himself to be tempted.

In verses 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 father shows his son first, again as an introduction, the value and beauty of the commandment. Then he tells in verses 6-236For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,
7And I saw among the naive,
[And] discerned among the youths
A young man lacking sense,
8Passing through the street near her corner;
And he takes the way to her house,
9In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and [in] the darkness.10And behold, a woman [comes] to meet him,
Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
11She is boisterous and rebellious,
Her feet do not remain at home;
12[She is] now in the streets, now in the squares,
And lurks by every corner.13So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:
14“I was due to offer peace offerings;
Today I have paid my vows.
15“Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16“I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.
17“I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18“Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.
19“For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;
20He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”21With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.
22Suddenly he follows her
As an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as [one in] fetters to the discipline of a fool,
23Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it [will cost him] his life.
from his own experience what he has seen. He describes a young man who not accidentally comes near the temptress, but is looking for the danger zone. The young man comes, in resistance against the warning of Proverbs 5:8, near her house. He did not intend to fornicate, but still does do it. In verses 24-2724Now therefore, [my] sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.
25Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.
26For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.
27Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.
the father tells his children what the consequences are, when in their heart they turn away to the paths of the harlot.


Warning against the Strange Woman

1My 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.

This portion starts again with the father pointing out to his son his “words”, so that he may keep them and at his “commandments” to treasure them within him (verse 11My son, keep my words
And treasure my commandments within you.
). If he does that, he will live (verse 22Keep my commandments and live,
And my teaching as the apple of your eye.
). That is the opposite of death, which is the result of not obeying them (verses 24-2724Now therefore, [my] sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.
25Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.
26For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.
27Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.
). Life in the true sense of the word is threatened when there is no obedience. It is a matter of life or death.

Therefore the son is to keep the teaching of his father as “the apple of your eye”. This implies that obedience to the teaching is crucial for him; that he is to keep it with the greatest care, in order to be able to have a good sight of these things. There is no part of the body that is more sensitive than the apple of the eye (Deu 32:1010“He found him in a desert land,
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.
; Psa 17:88Keep me as the apple of the eye;
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings
; Zec 2:88For thus says the LORD of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.).

In verse 33Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
the commandments are related to the fingers. Everything he does with his fingers, has to be controlled by the commandments. He also has to write them on ‘the tablet of his heart’. The heart is the center of the person. When the commandments are written there, then everything that he does, wherever he goes and sees and everything he says and thinks, will be controlled by the commandments.

“Wisdom” should be to him as his “sister” and “the understanding” has to be in his blood, so to speak (verse 44Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding [your] intimate friend;
). The brother-sister relationship renders a close bond of affection in the Old Testament. “Sister” is also used for the wife or sweetheart (Song 4:9-109“You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, [my] bride;
You have made my heart beat faster with a single [glance] of your eyes,
With a single strand of your necklace.
10“How beautiful is your love, my sister, [my] bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all [kinds] of spices!
). If he embraces wisdom as his sister, the strange woman will get no chance to embrace him (verse 1313So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:
). Man should have an object in which he delights. If that is not wisdom, the emptiness will be filled with wrong desires. Love for God’s Word will remove the power of evil.

These instructions are all given with a view to the strange woman (verse 55That they may keep you from an adulteress [lit strange woman],
From the foreigner who flatters with her words.
). He will only be able to stay away from the snare of temptation, when he obeys this teaching of his father. Whoever keeps the words and commandments of the father, which means: whoever keeps the Word of God, will be kept by it himself. Briefly said: he who keeps, will be kept.


The Victim

6For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,
7And I saw among the naive,
[And] discerned among the youths
A young man lacking sense,
8Passing through the street near her corner;
And he takes the way to her house,
9In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and [in] the darkness.

In verses 6-236For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,
7And I saw among the naive,
[And] discerned among the youths
A young man lacking sense,
8Passing through the street near her corner;
And he takes the way to her house,
9In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and [in] the darkness.10And behold, a woman [comes] to meet him,
Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
11She is boisterous and rebellious,
Her feet do not remain at home;
12[She is] now in the streets, now in the squares,
And lurks by every corner.13So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:
14“I was due to offer peace offerings;
Today I have paid my vows.
15“Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16“I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.
17“I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18“Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.
19“For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;
20He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”21With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.
22Suddenly he follows her
As an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as [one in] fetters to the discipline of a fool,
23Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it [will cost him] his life.
the father gives one of the most vivid descriptions that we have in the Scripture of the temptation to sin. He gives an eyewitness report, not as a peeper, but as a teacher. His report does not present sin as attractive, but it contains a serious warning to avoid and flee from sin.

We find the elements in it, where he earlier had warned about:
1. The company of sinners (Pro 1:10-1910My son, if sinners entice you,
Do not consent.
11If they say, “Come with us,
Let us lie in wait for blood,
Let us ambush the innocent without cause;
12Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,
Even whole, as those who go down to the pit;
13We will find all [kinds] of precious wealth,
We will fill our houses with spoil;
14Throw in your lot with us,
We shall all have one purse,”
15My son, do not walk in the way with them.
Keep your feet from their path,
16For their feet run to evil
And they hasten to shed blood.
17Indeed, it is useless to spread the [baited] net
In the sight of any bird;
18But they lie in wait for their own blood;
They ambush their own lives.
19So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence;
It takes away the life of its possessors.
);
2. To hang around purposelessly (Pro 6:6-106Go 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”—
);
3. Places where temptation is lurking (Pro 5:88Keep your way far from her
And do not go near the door of her house,
) and
4. especially disobedience to the words and commandments of the parents (Pro 4:1,101Hear, [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.
; 5:1,71My son, give attention to my wisdom,
Incline your ear to my understanding;
7Now then, [my] sons, listen to me
And do not depart from the words of my mouth.
; 6:20-2220My 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.
).

The scenario of the disaster is as often a combination of the wrong company in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the eyewitness report we find
1. the victim in verses 5-95That they may keep you from an adulteress [lit strange woman],
From the foreigner who flatters with her words.6For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,
7And I saw among the naive,
[And] discerned among the youths
A young man lacking sense,
8Passing through the street near her corner;
And he takes the way to her house,
9In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and [in] the darkness.
;
2. the temptress in verses 10-1210And behold, a woman [comes] to meet him,
Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
11She is boisterous and rebellious,
Her feet do not remain at home;
12[She is] now in the streets, now in the squares,
And lurks by every corner.
;
3. the temptation in verses 13-2013So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:
14“I was due to offer peace offerings;
Today I have paid my vows.
15“Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16“I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.
17“I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18“Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.
19“For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;
20He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”
and
4. the capitulation of the victim in verses 21-2321With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.
22Suddenly he follows her
As an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as [one in] fetters to the discipline of a fool,
23Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it [will cost him] his life.
.

The father begins his story by saying that he was at home and was looking outside through the barred window (verse 66For at the window of my house
I looked out through my lattice,
). Then he describes what he saw when he looked down. He saw a group of “naive people”, a group of innocent, inexperienced young people, who were strolling along the road (verse 77And I saw among the naive,
[And] discerned among the youths
A young man lacking sense,
). Among those young ones his attention was drawn to “a young man lacking sense”, which literally means ‘a young man without a heart’ or ‘a young who lacks common sense’, so a nitwit, a dunce.

As he was strolling, this young man deliberately crossed the street “near her corner” and slowly “took the way to her house” (verse 88Passing through the street near her corner;
And he takes the way to her house,
). It is an action which takes place under the cover of darkness (verse 99In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and [in] the darkness.
). No less than four different words are used to describe the darkness. It is in the twilight in the evening of the day, after sunset, which makes the middle of the night look to come fast, because of the directly falling darkness.

Both his purposelessness and darkness deprive him of the spiritual understanding to see the danger to which he exposes himself. Therefore he is not able to do what Joseph did, which is to flee from fornication (Gen 39:7,10-127It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”10As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her [or] be with her.11Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside.12She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.; 1Cor 6:1818Flee immorality. Every [other] sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.). It is not possible, for whosoever, to stand firm in such a situation. The only option is to flee.


The Temptress

10And behold, a woman [comes] to meet him,
Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
11She is boisterous and rebellious,
Her feet do not remain at home;
12[She is] now in the streets, now in the squares,
And lurks by every corner.

In verse 1010And behold, a woman [comes] to meet him,
Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.
the temptress appears on the scene. She comes out of her house and comes to meet the young man. There is no doubt about what she wants. She shows that by the way she is dressed. She is “dressed as a harlot” (cf. Gen 38:14-1514So she removed her widow’s garments and covered [herself] with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.15When Judah saw her, he thought she [was] a harlot, for she had covered her face.). The young man knows who is before him. She is a devious, sly woman. She is “cunning of heart”, which indicates her profound insincerity, decided to tempt the young man. What she pretends to feel for the young man is totally missing.

This woman is “boisterous” (verse 1111She is boisterous and rebellious,
Her feet do not remain at home;
). She is full of restlessness, loud and excited. She is also “rebellious” concerning God’s intention with marriage. Marriage is an oppressing and squeezing yoke which she throws off. She could not bear to stay at home. She is rushed by her impure desires into the street. Restlessly she wanders outside her house (verse 1212[She is] now in the streets, now in the squares,
And lurks by every corner.
). She is on the lookout like an enemy, in an ambush, in order to tempt a naive young man who crosses her path, to commit the sin of adultery.


The Temptation

13So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:
14“I was due to offer peace offerings;
Today I have paid my vows.
15“Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
16“I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.
17“I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18“Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.
19“For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;
20He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”

The stages in the temptation have been carefully prepared by her. She knows exactly what and when she has to do and what and when she has to say. When the young man is close to her, she overwhelms him (verse 1313So she seizes him and kisses him
And with a brazen face she says to him:
). She seizes him and kisses him. She has him in her power. With a brazen face, she starts to rope him in further, so that also the last bit of inner resistance with the young man is broken off.

The first thing she says has to do with the service to God (verse 1414“I was due to offer peace offerings;
Today I have paid my vows.
). From this we can derive that we have to do with a woman from the people of God. This corrupt woman does not shrink from pouring a religious sauce over her despicable intention and in that way give the impression that God is on her side. She had promised God, as she says, that she would bring Him peace offerings. She had done that, she says. The peace offering is a meal offering (Lev 7:11-2111‘Now this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings which shall be presented to the LORD.12If he offers it by way of thanksgiving, then along with the sacrifice of thanksgiving he shall offer unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes [of well] stirred fine flour mixed with oil.13With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with cakes of leavened bread.14Of this he shall present one of every offering as a contribution to the LORD; it shall belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the peace offerings.15‘Now [as for] the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace offerings, it shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.16But if the sacrifice of his offering is a votive or a freewill offering, it shall be eaten on the day that he offers his sacrifice, and on the next day what is left of it may be eaten;17but what is left over from the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burned with fire.18So if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings should [ever] be eaten on the third day, he who offers it will not be accepted, [and] it will not be reckoned to his [benefit]. It shall be an offensive thing, and the person who eats of it will bear his [own] iniquity.19‘Also the flesh that touches anything unclean shall not be eaten; it shall be burned with fire. As for [other] flesh, anyone who is clean may eat [such] flesh.20But the person who eats the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the LORD, in his uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from his people.21When anyone touches anything unclean, whether human uncleanness, or an unclean animal, or any unclean detestable thing, and eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the LORD, that person shall be cut off from his people.’”). The thought is that she is allowed to eat the meat of the peace offering which she has with her, which the one who brings the offering is allowed to eat. Now she is looking for someone to eat it together with her. That should happen very quickly of course, it has to happen today, for otherwise it will rot.

What a surprise that this young man just crosses her path at this moment. He is exactly the young man for whom she came outside to meet him (verse 1515“Therefore I have come out to meet you,
To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you.
). What a trouble she had made to seek him. And now look, she has found him. If that’s not the guidance of God … She pretends as if she had thought about him only; that he and he alone is her only love. In that way she gives him the feeling that he is very special to her.

But what a world full of lies and deceit she represents. This is how an adulteress always operates, with lies and deceit. She finds nothing special about her prey. In an adulterous relationship you are neither loved nor special. On the contrary, you are deceived, used, raped. The path of death is not pleasant, but causes an endless torment.

The act of adultery is totally impersonal. Someone who has fellowship with a harlot, is one body with her and not one flesh. In marriage husband and wife are one flesh, which is a total unity of spirit, soul and body. With fornication it is only about the body. The body is a toy, you yourself are nothing, nothing more than an impersonal toy.

From the dining room, to where she is inviting him to have a meal together, she suddenly draws the attention to her bedroom. She describes the linens and the perfume that she used to make up her bedroom (verses 16-1716“I have spread my couch with coverings,
With colored linens of Egypt.
17“I have sprinkled my bed
With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
). This is how she visualizes her sinful deed and stimulates his lust. There and in that particular atmosphere love should be ‘made’. This is once again excitement, which is not to be compared with anything. She has prepared everything with care and ‘with taste’.

Then avowedly the invitation follows to come to her (verse 1818“Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with caresses.
). She offers him a whole night of physical pleasure. Come with me and let us get drunk with love, all through the night. This is the great pleasure, this is what they call love! This is pure pleasure, the real, complete and deep saturation of love.

The young man should not worry at all about her husband (verse 1919“For my husband is not at home,
He has gone on a long journey;
). Literally it is not said ‘my’ husband, but ‘the’ man. By talking like that about him, she shows that she has forsaken him as her husband. Speaking about ‘my husband’ also might have kept the young man from going with her. She ensures him that he doesn’t have to be afraid that ‘the man’ will come unexpectedly. He is not at home and will neither come home soon, for “he has gone on a long journey”.

She underlines that lie by saying that he has taken a bag of money with him for the cost of his maintenance (verse 2020He has taken a bag of money with him,
At the full moon he will come home.”
). That he will only come home at the full moon, is another argument of reassurance. At full moon it cannot be pitch dark. Now there is no full moon, but it is pitch dark and they can just go their way (verse 99In the twilight, in the evening,
In the middle of the night and [in] the darkness.
).

What her whole story comes down to, is that God has been satisfied, that the man is out of the picture and the only thing the young man is left to do is to follow her. All the lies that she uses, have been repeated again and again through the ages:
1. Adultery is a ‘sanctified’ action.
2. The temptress pretends that the other person means a lot to her; she pretends that she loves him alone.
3. What there is to be enjoyed is the pinnacle of love and that’s what the other was made for.
4. The one who is tempted, doesn’t have to be afraid, for it is kept secret.

Most of these lies are used in every adulterous relationship. They appear in a wide range of sexual sins, also in ‘private sins’, like masturbation and watching pornography. But it is clear that whoever commits adultery, is a liar, someone who is absolutely not to be trusted. He who breaks the most intimate bond of confidence, the promise of faithfulness, is not to be trusted in any other relationship. How could such a person be faithful to whatever promise, if he is not faithful to his wife?


The Capitulation of the Victim

21With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.
22Suddenly he follows her
As an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as [one in] fetters to the discipline of a fool,
23Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it [will cost him] his life.

The wisdom and uprightness of a Joseph are needed to be able to resist against such an argument. “Her many persuasions” (verse 2121With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.
) has driven all power out of him to say ‘no’. “Her flattering lips” have entered inside of him and has melted away all the resistance he had. She has persuaded the young man to follow her.

His defeat has suddenly become an irreversible fact (verse 2222Suddenly he follows her
As an ox goes to the slaughter,
Or as [one in] fetters to the discipline of a fool,
). He goes with her immediately. We can see him trudging behind her like an ox, however not as an ox that goes to green pasture, but “as an ox goes to the slaughter”. He is not facing the pleasure, but his death. An advertising campaign against the irresponsible use of firework, has the slogan: You’re an ox when you stunt with fireworks. A variation in relation to what Solomon says here, is: You’re an ox when you stunt with porn.

He is as “[one in] fetters to the discipline of a fool” being brought to prison (cf. Ecc 7:2626And 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.; Jdg 16:16-1916It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death.17So he told her all [that was] in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any [other] man.”18When Delilah saw that he had told her all [that was] in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all [that is] in his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.19She 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.). Stupid animals do not see any relation between an enticement and death. Likewise stupid people do not see any relation between their sin and death. He has to pay the price for sin, 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.). This sin costs him his life.

The expression “until an arrow pierces through his liver”, possibly refers to the gnawing of a guilty conscience, the awareness that he will reap spiritual and physical destruction (verse 2323Until an arrow pierces through his liver;
As a bird hastens to the snare,
So he does not know that it [will cost him] his life.
). He is like bird that is only focused on the bait, but does not see the trap. He flies down to get the bait, because it is so attractive and because he needs it to keep himself alive. But he is not aware that the opposite is the case. The bait will cost him his life. By hastening to the bait, he hastens to his death. The perfume of the harlot’s bed changes into a perfume of death and the brief night of pleasure changes into an eternal night of torture.


Do Not Let Your Heart Turn Aside to Her Ways

24Now therefore, [my] sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.
25Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.
26For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.
27Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.

In verses 24-2724Now therefore, [my] sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.
25Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.
26For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.
27Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.
we have turned our back on the street and are back in the room of the teaching father. There he pictures to his children again in bright colors what the consequences are of adultery. He did not tell the previous story to entertain his children, but to warn them. Now they have drawn the lesson, they ought to continue to pay close attention.

With the words “now therefore” he connects to what he has demonstrated as the result of sin (verse 2424Now therefore, [my] sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.
). He calls upon his “sons” to listen to him and to pay attention to his words. They are to intend in their hearts not to turn aside to the ways of the harlot and not to let their hearts stray into her paths (verse 2525Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.
). “Her ways” and “her paths” may indicate for instance, the treasuring of impure thoughts, pernicious fantasies, filthy conversations, dirty magazines and foolish company. We should be scared to death for a first step into those ways and paths. If we get familiar to sin, it will weaken the hatred for it. Little by little there will even arise an affection for sin.

Involvement with a harlot leads to death (verse 2626For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.
). Many who have come into her ways, have ended up in death, including prominent people. Samson is an example of that (Jdg 16:1-211Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.2[When it was told] to the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here,” they surrounded [the place] and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. And they kept silent all night, saying, “[Let us wait] until the morning light, then we will kill him.”3Now Samson lay until midnight, and at midnight he arose and took hold of the doors of the city gate and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars; then he put them on his shoulders and carried them up to the top of the mountain which is opposite Hebron.4After this it came about that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.5The lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and see where his great strength [lies] and how we may overpower him that we may bind him to afflict him. Then we will each give you eleven hundred [pieces] of silver.”6So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength is and how you may be bound to afflict you.”7Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I will become weak and be like any [other] man.”8Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh cords that had not been dried, and she bound him with them.9Now she had [men] lying in wait in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the cords as a string of tow snaps when it touches fire. So his strength was not discovered.10Then Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have deceived me and told me lies; now please tell me how you may be bound.”11He said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes which have not been used, then I will become weak and be like any [other] man.”12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” For the [men] were lying in wait in the inner room. But he snapped the ropes from his arms like a thread.13Then Delilah said to Samson, “Up to now you have deceived me and told me lies; tell me how you may be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair with the web [and fasten it with a pin, then I will become weak and be like any other man.”14So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his hair and wove them into the web]. And she fastened [it] with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web. [13The passage in brackets is found in Gr but not in any Heb mss]15Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.”16It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was annoyed to death.17So he told her all [that was] in his heart and said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak and be like any [other] man.”18When Delilah saw that he had told her all [that was] in his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all [that is] in his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.19She 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.).

The way to the house of the strange woman “is a way to Sheol”. It is the way downwards, “to the chambers of death” (verse 2727Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.
). The end of an adulterous relationship is not ultimate pleasure, but destruction. It does not give the special feeling, which true intimacy indeed gives. The sons should not be mistaken: the path of apparent pleasure is the path of death. The house of the harlot is in the true sense of the word, on a dead-end road.


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