Proverbs 7

The book reviews will be posted intermittently over the next month.

Having just concluded a research chapter on the culture’s attitude toward sex, I found Proverbs 7:6-27 striking. The chapter is a unique one, for the author uses a dramatic scene to make his point in place of a more, well, proverbial tone. The power in these words is palpable. It is made all the more so because we slowly observe the young man destroying himself. Do you ever feel this way as you observe American culture slowly twisting a knife into itself?

For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.

And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.”

With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter,or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver;as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

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2 responses to “Proverbs 7

  1. ja

    A passage familiar to me from my High School Sunday School Class. I read it very differently now than I did then. In particular, I empathise with the young man and I think the reader is meant to do so as well. He may be “lacking sense” but he is not especially stupid or evil. He could stand in for almost any one of us. We are given a hint of his normalcy when we read “many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.” This indeed is wisdom literature but it is wisdom literature that underscores a more general truth about the extent of human depravity and fallenness. Reason fails. We sometimes find that we cannot discriminate right from wrong. In many more instances, however, we know exactly what actions are wrong and yet choose them anyway. As Augustine writes about sin: “It was bitter and foul and detestable–and I loved it.” And Augustine was even a saint! :) In all seriousness though, I find it far easier to follow the path of the young man than to heed the exhortation to the contrary.

  2. Dad

    I’m glad to find out that your reading of a 700+ page book was probably part of an assignment and not because you had loads of free time on your hands.

    I was getting concerned about the quality of the school you were attending and whether you would be fit for anything afterwards, but I guess those concerns can be laid aside.

    As a general response how many of us do ‘sin’ even though we know better? Oh, as Paul writes, who shall deliver us for this body of death?

    Yes, the world is sexually orinantated, but what about the church? Isaiah 56 is interesting, last’s weeks study passage, so I am a sort of expert on that chapter for a couple of days, speaks of people whom God is saving, from around the world, and the supposed ‘prophets’ of Israel. It is interesing to examine what the interests (where the heart is) of each of these groups.

    And even if we have not literally followed this lady to her bed, what about the heart and mind, are we clean/holy there? We are without hope?

    May God’s grace abound even greater than our sins.

    Al

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