Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom

Day 17: Adultery

If you’re just joining us, welcome. You’ll find a short introduction to the Proverbs reading plan on Day 1.

Section Three. Relationships: Wisdom concerning our interpersonal lives

This week’s proverbs are turning our attention outward to the relationships we have with others. We’re looking at the the wisdom God’s Word gives us concerning parents and children, adultery, correction, and the power of the tongue.

Day Seventeen: Adultery

Notice the way this topic, adultery, comes up in Scripture. It is included in the Ten Commandments as a clear statement of Law: “Don’t do this.” But the Book of Proverbs adds a layer of complexity to that law by discussing the sometimes hard-to-detect process often involved in committing this particular sin.

Few people wake up in the morning saying, “Today I am going to commit adultery.” Much of the time, the act of adultery is the product of walking a long and dangerous road of seduction. Sometimes the seductress described in this text is a particular person (man or woman) who tries to lure another person into infidelity. But sometimes the seductress in this passage can be the unchecked longings and unaddressed pains in our own hearts, calling to us from within to succumb to temptation with the promise that it will bring us happiness.

Keep both of these meanings in mind when reading these proverbs about adultery.

Proverbs 5:1-17
5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen closely to my understanding
2 so that you may maintain discretion
and your lips safeguard knowledge.
3 Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey

and her words are smoother than oil,
4 in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood
and as sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps head straight for Sheol.
6 She doesn’t consider the path of life;
she doesn’t know that her ways are unstable.
7 So now, my sons, listen to me,
and don’t turn away from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her.
Don’t go near the door of her house.
9 Otherwise, you will give up your vitality to others
and your years to someone cruel;
10 strangers will drain your resources,
and your earnings will end up in a foreigner’s house.
11 At the end of your life, you will lament
when your physical body has been consumed,
12 and you will say, “How I hated discipline,
and how my heart despised correction.
13 I didn’t obey my teachers
or listen closely to my mentors.
14 I am on the verge of complete ruin
before the entire community.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
water flowing from your own well.
16 Should your springs flow in the streets,
streams of water in the public squares?
17 They should be for you alone
and not for you to share with strangers.


Q. Why do you suppose this passage is so personalized and told like a vivid story, as opposed to being a list of reasons why adultery is wrong? 

Q. Describe the temptress wooing your heart in this season of your life. 

Q. It is interesting that a negative thing (an immoral woman) is compared to a sharp two-edged sword, when the Word of God is also compared to a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). What do they have in common? 

Q. What does “Keep your way far from her” mean in Proverbs 5:8? Practically, what are some ways you can do this as it relates to the particular temptation you are facing? 


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