The Story of the Crafty Woman and Simple Man (Part 2) – On Proverbs 7:21-27

The story which we are following in a two part series has it’s conclusion here in verses 21-27. If you haven’t yet done so, may I encourage you to read the first part of the story (quite long) to get some insight into the full meaning, before you get into the conclusion here.

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This is a heavy story. We’ve read about seduction, blasphemy, and adultery. Surely this isn’t one for teaching your children at the dinner table! But surely it is. When are they going to learn to remain pure for their spouse if you don’t teach them when they are young? I’m not saying you are any more graphic than the passage itself is, though, as that isn’t so smart. All teaching needs to be done in wisdom and love.

In verses 6-20 the characters were introduced (the young man with no understanding and the crafty adulteress), and the woman revealed her nature, expressed her desires, and gave her preposition. In these last verses of chapter 7, we will see the end and conclusion to this sad tale.  

As in the first post we will read the story and then I’ll comment on it. Let’s read.

The Outcome.

21 With her enticing speech she caused him to yield, with her flattering lips she seduced him. 22 Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks, 23 till an arrow struck his liver. As a bird hastens to the snare, he did not know it would cost his life.  

The Author’s Conclusion.

24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth: 25 do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; 26 for she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men. 27 Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.

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Electric Bill (Flickr)

The woman’s forwardness rooted the man to the spot, and then her enticing words bound him tight. He didn’t so much as murmur, “No!”, before he took her bait. By going by her house at night, he had been asking for trouble and did more than half the work for her. She offered her steaming pie of lust, and he immediately went in to sup.

Biggest mistake ever. “Do whatever feels good or makes you happy,” is the dangerous call of evildoers. There is no guarantee that you will be making it out in one piece! The young man went into her house healthy and never got out again. As an ox to the slaughtering yards he went meekly and met his doom. Proverbs say he metaphorically took an arrow to the liver. That’ll drop you dead for sure.

Now this story seems to indicate he suffered death for his troubles, and I’m wondering if Solomon exaggerated the outcome to serve as a severe warning against adultery. It made me sit up; what about you? What sort of death is this if not physical? As I’ve pondered about other parts of Proverbs, I believe this is a spiritual murder. Simply put, you give up your morals for this woman, and she will give them back mutilated and unusable. Such is the outcome of giving into such an arrangement.

Solomon urges us not to turn aside to the adulteress’ house. Keep your heart from straying because of it’s desires and save yourself from this sin. The end has been shown to us. Pay attention to his words. We have been warned. Amen.

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Your turn: Is the Bible’s assessment lining up with yours when it comes to this issue of sexuality? If not, why not?

 

Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

The Story of the Crafty Woman and Simple Man (Part One) – On Proverbs 7:6-20

When you were younger did you like to listen to stories from your dad or mum? I fondly remember hearing silly stories from Dad at bedtime, and they were captivating. Stories help focus our minds, and that is why there are so many children’s books full of them. There is drama, suspense, and a build up and climax or two! A good story leaves us satisfied and thoughtful. Much of chapter seven is a narration of the interaction between a simple young man and a crafty adulterous. Some of you might be incredulously saying, “What?! More about sexual immorality?”

Why is there so much talk in Proverbs about adultery? Well that’s a good question and one  of the many reasons to study Proverbs even more deeply than I am in my posts. Suffice for my post to say, adultery is a sin that affects everyone involved very deeply, including the Holy Spirit (if there are believers acting sinfully), and so it is an important issue to deal with.

Now lets read the story of these two characters.

The Simple Youth. 

 

 

6 For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, 7 and saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, a young man devoid of understanding, 8 passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house 9 in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night.

The Crafty Woman.

10 And there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart. 11 She was loud and rebellious, her feet would not stay at home. 12 At times she was outside, at times in the open square, lurking at every corner.

Her Tasty Seduction.

 

13 So she caught him and kissed him; with an impudent face she said to him: 14 “I have peace offerings with me; today I have paid my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you, diligently to seek your face, and I  have found you. 16 I have spread my bed with tapestry, coloured coverings of Egyptian linen. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20 he has taken a bag of money with him, and will come home on the appointed day.”

There is more in this story to come, but we will pause the story and reflect on what has passed here. I will finish the story in Part 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solomon is the storyteller, and includes a mention of himself as the onlooker from above. He points out a youth who is without understanding. While angry youths may be the scary ones, a clueless man is a wrecking ball of all kinds of destruction! This youth is out at night for no good reason, and is passing by the woman’s house. We are not told if he is seeking her, but it’s clear he is asking for trouble! (See 8 and 9.) It’s indicated he knows who she is and is tempted by the opportunity.

  

The woman enters the scene and much more is said about her. (See 10-12.)

 

 

Immediately we smell trouble, as she is dressed up in the clothes one would associate with a p rostitute and is said to have a crafty heart. The woman is a schemer and dresses up to attract attention from certain men who would desire her. She cannot sit still at home with her rebellious scheming and is out about in the city looking for men to seduce. She has a rehearsed script all ready for this simple man but hardly needs to use it. Easy prey, one might say.

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This woman is described as an opportunity seeker and doesn’t hesitate to catch hold of him. Breaking boundaries that should well be left unbroken, she flirts outrageously with the man by grabbing and kissing him (vs. 13). That would be a truly shocking display of rebellion in that culture, but perhaps even nowadays we would be uncomfortable with such a display by a stranger.

She attempts to sooth his anxiety of this sin by saying she had gone to the temple that day and is all clear with God(!)

This woman is impudent in her actions and doesn’t care she is sinning with her actions.

 

She makes what is a horrific sin sound like paradise in verses 15-18. When she should have her bed prepared for her husband, she is doing it for a complete stranger. Such a betrayal. As we see in in verses 19 and 20 she executed her plans with him out of the picture. She twists this to her advantage as a further tempting factor for the young simpleton.

By now she has him well and truly in her grasps. A wise man would have fled on the first sign of temptation. He most obviously stays and hears out all her words of silver. Such a fool.

 

What is happening here? An Israelite woman is betraying her husband by seducing a foolish Israelite man. This is such an offensive image to imagine. God is not being honoured in any way here. Not a silly story at all. Not even a bedtime story in any way. It’s a story that is compelling and repulsive at the same time. There is more to come. Stick around. Move on to Part 2.

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Your turn: What is your impression about this woman? This man? Am I fair in my assessment?

Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

His laws are for keeps – On Proverbs 7:1-5

Have you ever found by experimentation that if you repeat yourself enough, you get something through to a slow learner? Solomon uses this tactic in Proverbs. His intention is to impress upon ‘his son’ (who could be his real son, or just a close student) the importance of following what is right. Let us read.

1 My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. 3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

 

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Flood

 Hebrews is an interesting language and one I have not studied but encourage you to do so. Scholars notice that, particularly in songs and proverbs, instead of using rhymes to emphasis a point (which would be lost in translation anyway), the writers use similar or contrasting ideas to achieve a flow of reason. We see this in effect here in the first few verses. Notice the same idea is being presented, but in different ways. The basic call is for the reader to keep what Solomon teaches. But why should we treat what he has to say as very important? The basic answer is that he has God’s wisdom to impart to us. While he did fall from grace in later life, King Solomon had much good to say in his early years.

The language in verse three is very similar to wording in the law of Moses, so he seems to want to parallel his words and God’s words. That is bold for sure, and we definitely need to be examining whether his words do line up with God’s.

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your nearest kin,”

If you have been reading my Proverbs posts since I had a look at chapter one, you might recall this personification of wisdom as a woman. Such is her importance, we are to call her sister, bonding with her and learning all about her. She needs to be on our minds and in our hearts. Understanding needs to be close to our hearts as well, in order for us to discern what is right or wrong at a moments notice. We have to be on our toes when it come to sin, especially sexual sin. Solomon teaches this repeatedly.

5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words.”

Is this idea sinking in for you? It seems Solomon will not let go of this idea of the immoral woman. I doubt he is actually against pleasure, since we saw in chapter 5 a rather visual explanation of enjoyment with one’s wife. Also try out the Bible book of ‘Song of Solomon’ for a full exploration of the sexual joy to be found in marriage. So he is not out against pleasure. Rather, he is ensuring that his son enjoys it within the confines that God commands. We are allowed to enjoy wine, but are not get drunk. We are allowed to eat all manner of good things, but are not to be a glutton. We are allowed to enjoy sex, but it is to be shared within marriage alone. Our pleasure for things needs to be confined lest we destroy ourselves in the process. The woman who flatters with her words wants something from you. What she wants is worth much to your (possibly future) wife, and it shows one’s lack of understanding when they give in to such a woman. “Keep [Soloman’s] law and live.” Live and be wise. Keep yourself from impurity. Surely God knows best. Amen.

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Your turn for pondering: Is God right about this? Is there room for fun outside of marriage? If yes, what grounding do you have for that?

 

Note: All scripture is taken from Biblestudytools.com and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.