Warning Against Adultery
5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
8 Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.
Chapter 5 is a poem. The poem has two subjects:
1. A married woman tempts a man who is not her husband.
2. The lure and intoxicating nature of sin.
Solomon discusses both subjects at the same time. This is similar to Proverbs 2:16-19. The actions of the woman show us how easy it is to be drawn into sin.
Solomon begins his lesson in the usual way. He reminds us why we need wisdom and knowledge. With wisdom and knowledge, we can avoid danger.
A married woman attracts a young man. She seems so beautiful and alluring. When he kisses her, her lips seem to taste like honey. When he listens to her, her words are so attractive. Her speech ignites his desire. There is tension and chemistry. The seductress knows what she is doing. He is already intoxicated.
He does not think about the woman’s husband. He does not think about God’s ways. He does not even think about the results of his actions. He only thinks about her and his moment of desire.
Lust is one of the most intoxicating of emotions in my experience. It is like a drug in that respect. It has an irresistible lure and pull. Yet, like a drug it will not deliver what it promises to deliver. It may for a moment medicate against sadness, disappointment, failure and pain but those feelings will return heavy laden with the guilt of my act and further send me into the abyss of life let alone where it will send me in the realms of eternity.
Later she will be like a sword and pierce the soul. At its core all sin is selfish and it does relational damage of some sort.
Sin is a statement of “I don’t trust that you have my best interests at heart God, so I will meet my own needs because I always have my best interests at heart”.
It is our personal Brexit from God …our independence without thinking about the consequences. It is a result of fear and lack of trust. I want to take matters into my own hands. I don’t trust that you will meet this need in me so I am going to find a way to meet it myself.
Solomon advises that his son should not even meet the married woman. Solomon’s son is advised to be very careful. He should not enter her house. He should not even walk near her door.
If the son walks near her door, then he might enter. If he enters, he might listen to her. Her speech is attractive (verse 3). She will tempt him. If he listens to her, it is likely to head in one direction.
Maybe Solomon was mindful of his own fathers story as he goes on to talk about the sanctity of marriage.
The passage ends with the point that everything is visible to God. Nothing is hidden from God.
This passage taps into my own story. I lived in this darkness and though I never want to go back again. I know where it leads, I know the damage it does, the hurt it causes, the suffering, the anguish, the breaking of trust and betrayal on every level.
I now know the pull of recovering addicts when they are in relapse drift. It’s at those times you have to immerse yourself in the programme and deal with whatever is going on for you emotionally. This intoxication is an irresistible pull and it takes everything in your emotional tank to not go there.
I am thankful that I have closed the doors that were open to me but I know how easy it would be to open them again and that’s scary.
I know that if I am not confronting myself everyday with the word of God, the presence of God and allowing others in my life that it would be too easy to drift.
I am always one decision away from oblivion. That’s a dark prospect.
Some sin to us seems less extreme than adultery, sexual immorality, stealing. These things are obvious but sin is not about rules. It’s a violation of relationship. It is an assertion of self as God. It is a rejection of everything he has given to us. Every lie, dishonest manipulative thought, every hidden motive of self protection, self preservation, self promotion is a rejection of God and an assertion of self. It’s pretty ugly really.
It may be a cliche but it’s true that all sin is the same to God, there are no categories or levels of sin. It’s all relational violation. Some sin however burn faster and reap huge consequences.