1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. 2 Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned. 3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil. 4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. 6 For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it. 7 So now, my sons, listen to me. Never stray from what I am about to say: 8 Stay away from her! Don’t go near the door of her house! 9 If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved. 10 Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor. 11 In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body. 12 You will say, “How I hated discipline! If only I had not ignored all the warnings! 13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers? Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors? 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.” 15 Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. 16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? 17 You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers. 18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love. 20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman? 21 For the LORD sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes. 22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him. 23 He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.
My first impression was that the values and warnings outlined in this proverb are so removed from modern society, with its “open” marriages and high divorce rate. However, in fact when unfaithfulness is concerned, the warnings are just as vital today.
This proverb is a chance for a heart check-up. Unfaithfulness is a matter of the heart. The wisdom Solomon shares in this confronting proverb is really focused on the heart – the heart which is the source of the evil and the heart which leads us astray. In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality…” Lust takes control as the heart rules our actions.
The effects are the same as in Solomon’s day. Let’s not shy away from this truth. The result of unfaithfulness is damage – to our heart, to the lives and hearts of others, to trust in relationship, to families. The result is damage to our reputation and honour (Prov 5:9), and trouble in the house of God. (v 14.) All for the sake of some sexual gratification which was fleeting and meaningless.
No wonder faithfulness is included in the 10 commandments. It is a recognition that this will be an area of struggle for all of us. God cares about how we treat others. He cares because he made us to be in relationship and in his image. This is especially portrayed by marriage which is the joining of 2 people to become “one.” Each person is to treasure the other with all their being, just as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). Just as Solomon poetically describes in verses 15-19, this is a precious relationship to be cherished, to be characterised by love and respect on the part of both.
Unfaithfulness Solomon warns is an example of us trying to fool others when in fact we are fooling ourselves – but there is no fooling God. So, at the end of the day, unfaithfulness comes between us and God as well.
Holy Spirit – you alone can convict me of the need to repent lustful thoughts or actions. Help me to look into my heart and confront the corrupting influence of lust. Build up the love and respect in my marriage today as I listen to you. Amen
Written by Claire Moore