Warning Against the Adulterous Woman
7 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 to insight, “You are my relative.”
5 They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words.
6 At the window of my house
I looked down through the lattice.
7 I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
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.
10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly 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:
14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
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.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply 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.”
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.
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.
In chapters 7-9 we read three very stirring poems as Solomon closes his discourse to his son.
This first poem is about a woman who tempts a simple man. The man behaves like a fool, because he trusts her. He does not realise what will happen to him.
This story reminds me of the last affair I had which ended at this time last year (July 2015, one year at the time of writing the original article). There are so many points of connection. It’s perhaps God’s synchronicity that I land on this poem today.
I remember being in a foreign country on this day last year (July 2015) wondering “what have I done?” …so much imploding anger. The next few days were full of drunken recklessness and chaos and yet somehow I was still in the snare of it all. Even as I write I feel raw about this pit that I had somehow spiralled downward into.
Previously, Solomon told us to learn to be wise (Proverbs 2:2). Now, he tells us to keep wisdom in our hearts. Previously, Solomon told us to accept wisdom (Proverbs 2:1). Now he tells us that Wisdom is like our sister.
Solomon’s lesson is a very personal lesson. Wisdom must be close to us. Wisdom must become part of us. Wisdom must not only be part of our lives but actually be our life. Wisdom must guide every decision. I think about Jesus’ words “I am the bread of life”.
Especially, wisdom will protect us when darkness attracts us. As in earlier chapters, Solomon writes about sex. But it could be applied to any kind of situation. Solomon shows how one person can tempt another person. I remember a number of brothers have said to me that they could easily have been in the same situation but had made decisions not to open certain doors because of fear of where it would lead.
Some expressed that they had been tempted but they considered the impact on their wives. In other words they were exercising wisdom.
The poem is a very engaging story. As I read it I find myself tempted by the woman’s lure and could easily put myself in the place of the young man. There are plenty of escape opportunities in this story as there were in mine but the man does not exercise wisdom.
Verse 11 tells us, ‘she never stays at home’. The woman was looking for any man. To her, this was not a love story. Perhaps not even a story of attraction but was a story of manipulation and getting what she wanted whatever it took. The man was not her focus, she just wanted to have sex and use it as a method of control and manipulation.
The way that the man followed the woman into her house reminded Solomon of an animal that was soon to die. Like a bird in a trap, the young man had lost everything. Wisdom would have protected and even saved him.
This resonates so much in my story and triggers many visuals and moments. Now as the visuals appear I can see the attraction still but also the toxicity …the poison. In my story I was both sides of the fence. There were times I was the perpetrator and times the one in the snare.
Both scenarios are ugly and destructive. I even brandished myself as a benevolent predator at one point. There was not a benevolent bone in my body. I was a cruel, deceitful, manipulative thief. Sometimes the predator and sometimes the prey but always leaving behind a trail of carnage.
In the story, the woman offered love, but instead she caused great danger. She offered fun and life, but it was leading nowhere good. She delivered only destruction and death.
That is about the sum of it! Attractive? There’s nothing attractive about it.
I know it. I lived it. I was fortunate to survive but it wasn’t without it’s scars, wounds, hurt and fall out.