1My 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.
Solomon now spends a significant amount of time on one particular area where wisdom is of paramount importance, especially given that he is focusing his attention on young men. But women have much to learn also as they consider who not to be and how they should not behave. Wisdom, understanding, and discretion tell a person to avoid the adulteress at all costs. The seductress seeks to draw the unmarried into fornication and the married into adultery. Both are forbidden in God’s sight because God knows how damaging both are (Matthew 15:19). There is baggage, memories, and great deception that come with sexual immorality, and it will make future healthy relationships that much more challenging. The best path is to do things God’s way, being a virgin until marriage and always enjoying only the wife of your youth.
God is not against sexual pleasure, for He invented it. He just knows that maximum joy is found when two people love Him and love each other for life. Any other way is selfish and incomplete, leading to emptiness, sorrow, and always needing more, searching for something more or somebody else, and confusion.
If we want to hold to knowledge and not become numbed into fools who make ruin of their lives, we must recognize the nature of the temptation. The adulteress manipulates her prey by the movements of her lips and the words of her mouth. Through lies, flattery, rationalizations, and distractions, she convinces her prey that she will satisfy and bring happiness (Proverbs 7:13-21) when in reality bitterness will be the only result. She cannot deliver what she promises because she is going against the way God has designed. She leads a life leading to eternal destruction, she pulls others that direction, and she doesn’t even consider the relevance of Christ and eternity (Proverbs 7:22-27). She is unstable because her life is dangerous and volatile without commitment, peace, and security. Yet, she is so blind in her selfish passion that she doesn’t even realize how lost and empty she is. She is in danger, on earth and certainly after this life. There is just nothing positive going on here.
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."
Solomon is adamant that young men stay far away from such women and that they remain sexually pure before marriage and committed to their marriage partner after marriage. Failure to do things God’s way and falling into adultery is so devastating to everybody involved. Its effects endure, strength is removed, and so much is lost. Spiritually, though God is willing and faithful to forgive if we ask, we will still have many consequences to suffer as our years are given to the cruel one (Proverbs 6:32). Because of the pain, hurt, and poor testimony that sin carries with it, we must understand just how big of a mistake sexual immorality is (Proverbs 6:24-29). Yes, God can restore and still use people who have sinned as He did Solomon’s father David after his sin with Bathsheba, but David’s family was a disaster. His own son Absalom almost killed him, and he lost another as a divine punishment for his sin. Even his son Solomon who wrote these verses struggled with many sins, including sexual immorality to a huge extent. Sin has consequences that tend to linger, and we cannot forget that. Though consequences may be many and diverse, they could include relational, financial, emotional, physical, and just about any other realm. Disease is just one aspect that is associated with immorality, some even leading to death. Whether disease happens or not, what is sure is that there will be a lifelong regret, particularly when we reach the end of our lives as we consider what could have been and what we wish we had done differently.
Solomon’s purpose is to warn people to not traverse the same road of sexual immorality that he and his father did but to rather learn ahead of time what is right, what is wise, and what will avoid so many regrets, harm, and hurt. Wisdom gives a jump start to young people so that they can accomplish so much more for Christ’s sake than if they had not known the truth so early. What is sad is that some who have heard wisdom still refuse to practice it, and they will groan and loathe their decisions. Sin always brings with it ruin and destruction, and sexual immorality is certainly no exception.
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.
19As 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?
Solomon’s message is God’s message to God’s people to stay away from foreign cisterns, that is, the adulteress. In addition, married persons should enjoy one another sexually and be faithful to “drink” of one another by being regularly intimate (Song of Solomon 7:8). Temptation seeps in when spouses stop enjoying one another except for a mutually agreed upon time for prayer (1 Corinthians 7:5). But special times of prayer are the rare exception and not the rule, and intimacy is the rule. The health of a marriage has a strong correlation to the degree to which spouses enjoy themselves sexually with one another. Life can make us busy, worn out, tired, and stressed out, but God has given us a spouse as our reward in this life (Ecclesiastes 9:9). The commands of God are not burdensome (1 John 5:3), for we will do well if we enjoy Him and enjoy the good gifts that He has given us, particularly our spouse. We should rejoice in God’s genius in creating male and female and the opportunity to express love to one another sexually. Christians are not to be cold and distant with their marriage partner, but there ought to be passion, ecstasy, and utter exhilaration. There is no need to seek exhilaration from some other person. That is dumb, foolish, and horrifically dangerous. At all times, young men must seek satisfaction with their wives, enjoying their bodies as God has so wonderfully made them. Actually, sexual intimacy in marriage can be an act by which God is worshipped because it is an act of obedience and because God enjoys seeing His people enjoy the good gifts He has given them. We should never be able to get enough of our spouse, and we should long to be physically close. Exhilaration within marriage is what we should seek, but exhilaration with some other person is self-destructive.
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.
We should always remember that God sees all that we do, for the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Those who fear God then learn to love Him all the more (1 John 4:17-18) because they realize that choosing to do things such as marriage His way brings incredible enjoyment even to the extent that it is surprising and endlessly beyond our expectation. The wicked, on the other hand, store up God’s wrath for themselves as God must hold all of their wickedness to their accounts. Sin is a like a slow suffocation, and it leads to death (Romans 6:23), not to wonder upon wonder of God’s grace upon grace (John 1:16). Sin always has consequences, and wisdom is our best protection from needless pain and self-inflicted suffering. Eternal life is knowing Christ (John 17:3), and those who know Christ will enjoy Him now by obeying Him and keeping His principles of wisdom.