William J. Stewart | Lessons from the Book of Proverbs
Last week, we said that there are some things so vitally important that they are worth repeating. The wise king has now warned his son about sexual immorality in 2:16-19; 5:3-23; & 6:24-35. He is not done. Again in chapter 7, Solomon will extol the virtue of wisdom, and plead with his son to pursue her, that he might not fall prey to the immoral woman.
THE COMMAND & THE LAW
My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. (7:1-2)
Imagine what the world would be like if children always paid attention to what their parents say. It would be a very different world than what we live in. No less than 15 times now, Solomon has specifically asked his son to listen to his words.
I heard the story years ago of a man whose children were taught to obey immediately. It is the norm in some homes for the parents to give the same command multiple times before the child does anything. Not so in this home. One day they were riding in the truck when a strange noise from the engine concerned him. He stopped the truck and told the kids to get out right away. Had his children been prone to ignore or question his words, they well could have perished that day. Moments after they exited the truck it was engulfed in flames. They kept his command and lived (v 2).
It was important to Solomon that his son keep his word; it is equally important to God that we keep His word. They ought to have a place in our day to day actions and upon our hearts (v 3).
Before speaking of the immoral woman, Solomon focuses his son’s attention on another woman—wisdom. He personifies wisdom. Treat her like a sister, like a close relative. Hold wisdom with honour and respect; for doing so will help him overcome temptations to do wrong.
A STORY WITH A TRAGIC END
…I looked through my lattice, and saw among the simple, I perceived among the youth, a young man devoid of understanding, passing along the street near her corner, and he took the path to her house… (7:6-8)
Did Solomon really see this young man fall prey to a seductress or is it a story? We don’t know, nor does it matter. It pictures something that happens; something that has the potential to destroy lives.
This young man did not cling to wisdom and understanding, but was moved by flattery, seduction, and lust. The woman described in the text is obviously guilty. She clothed herself with the attire of a harlot (v 10), she was rebellious (v 11), she had a habit of “lurking” about (v 12), she enticed him with a kiss (v 13), she had prepared to commit adultery (v 17-18), since her husband was away (v 19-20). However, though Solomon describes all of this, he does not let the young man off the hook. He didn’t just stumble into the sin of adultery. He knew where he could find this woman, and went there (v 8-9). Her enticing speech and flattering lips (v 21) would have had no audience if he hadn’t gone looking for her. It takes two to commit adultery. He may not have taken the time and thought to prepare for this sin as she did, but he pursued it nonetheless.
Look at the outcome:
Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life. (7:22-23)
Recall in verse 2, Solomon said that keeping his command would result in life for his son. He just gave a very pointed illustration in which a young man did not listen to the voice of wisdom, but followed after passion, and it cost his life.
He doesn’t tell us exactly how—did his seductress have an STD? Did her husband come home and find them or discover their affair at a later time? There are numerous scenarios we might consider which would negatively affect his life. The most important is the spiritual end of his conduct. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 reveals that fornicators and adulterers do not have the hope of heaven.