Proverbs 7:1-27 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Warning Against the Adulteress
Comments for Study 7

Proverbs 7:1-27
Memory Verse: 21


I. They Keep You From the Wayward Wife (7:1-5)

Obedience to Parents

* The engraving from a book titled "Songs, divine and moral / By Isaac Watts; to which is prefixed a memoir of the author." is by Watts, Isaac (1674-1748). The title is "Obedience to Parents". A depiction of a child standing in front of his parents. The image is within a border with a cherub on either side and and open Bible above. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>1. What does the father instruct his child?

* Proverbs 7:1-2 "My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye."

* "My son" -Either a son or sons are directly addressed in 1:8, 10, 15, 2:1, 3:1, 11, 21, 4:1, 10, 20, 5:1, 7, 20, 6:1, 20, 7:1, 24, 8:32, and 23:19, 26.

* "keep my words" -Meaning more than do not forget. This also means apply what he is teaching to every day living.

* "store up my commands within you." -As if a person stores up grain and/or money for when they are needed. The point is prepare yourself for temptation will come that will be hard if not impossible to resist.

* "Keep my commands and you will live" -The promise is not only to avoid death, but also to have a good, happy, and prosperous life.

>What is "the apple of your eye" mean?

* "guard my teachings as the apple of your eye." -As one guards a valuable possession; coins, food, water, and other things necessary for a peaceful and happy long life.

* "apple of your eye" -The "apple of my eye" refers in English to something or someone that one cherishes above all others. The pupil is cared for and protected becvause of its great value. Originally, the phrase was simply an idiom referring to the pupil of the eye.

The original Hebrew for this idiom, in all but Zechariah 2:8, was "iyshown" and "ayin". The expression refers to the pupil, and probably simply means "dark part of the eye" (other biblical passages use "iyshown" with the meaning dark or obscure, and having nothing whatsoever to do with the eye). There is, however, a popular notion that "iyshown" is a diminutive of "man" ('iysh), so that the expression would literally mean "Little Man of the Eye"; if so, this would be consistent with a range of languages, in which the etymology of the word for pupil has this meaning.

Three different Hebrew words or phrases are rendered as the apple of the eye:

1) the word in Deuteronomy 32:10 and Proverbs 7:2 literally means "little man" and evidently refers to the reflection of a person in the eye of another
2) the word in Psalm 17:8 and Lamentations 2:18 (KJV) literally means "the daughter of the eye" with possibly the same significance as (1)
3) the word in Zechariah 2:8 literally means "gate."

The reference in Lamentations 2:18 is to the pupil of the eye as the source of tears; the other references are metaphorical of something that is precious.

* Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalm 17:8, Proverbs 7:2 Lamentations 2:18, and Zechariah 2:8 also use the term "apple of the eye".

* The point being stressed is that the son is to obey the words in this chapter for it will not be easy.

>2. How can we "bind them on our fingers"?

* Proverbs 7:3 "Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart."

* "Bind them on your fingers" -As a reminder. Similar to a ring that represents the commitment made to a spouse. The first wedding rings can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians when they exchanged rings made from braided reeds and hemp. They placed these rings on the fourth finger of the left-hand as they believed that there was a 'vein of love' that ran from this finger directly to your heart.

* Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ("Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

* The author is talking to his child about adultery. He uses allegory that would have been understood that marraige was a covenant similar to the covenant the Lord made with Israel. This is why adultery is consider such an evil in the Bible. Later the prophets would refer to Israel and Judah's idolatry as the same as the sin of adultery. (Ezekiel 16:15-19, 23:1-27; Hosea 4:10-19) Ancient idol worship practices included prostitution. Witchcraft and idolatry were the same in ancient cultures.

>How can we "write them on the tablet of your heart"? (Jeremiah 31:33; 2 Corinthians 3:3)

* "write them on the tablet of your heart" -The phrase points back to the covenant that the Lord made with Israel at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 24:12, 31:18; Deut. 5:22)

* Jeremiah 31:33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people."

* 2 Corinthians 3:3 "You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."

* Hebrews 9:4 confirms that the tablets of stone were in the arc of the covenant.

* The Father again instructs his child to keep his teaching and wisdom. How many times should a parent repeat such things? Doesn't it become "Same old, same old. Yeah, yeah, yeah. What ever."? Repetition to a child becomes boring. Yet repetition is important in learning and in perfection.

Repeating wise teachings is important for we are slow to learn. Practice does make perfect. My failure shows that I need to hear it again. That is how I "bind them on my fingers and write them on the tablet of my heart". (3)

Listen to the above comments on Proverbs 7:1-5.

>3. What is the parent try to say to their child in verse 4?

* Proverbs 7:4 "Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call understanding your kinsman"

* "Say to wisdom" -Wisdom as embodied in the instructions of the wisdom teacher.

* "You are my sister" -Make wisdom your most intimate companion. The Hebrew word here for "sister" is "ahot" (an irregular of sister) may be used in the sense of "bride". (Song of Solomon 4:9-10, 12, 5:1-2)

* "call understanding your kinsman" -The Hebrew word here for "kinswoman" is "moda" is from the Hebrew word "yada" meaning "know".

* The parent is having a important life conversation with his or her child. The child is to take what they saying a serious. A parent's responsibility of love is to have these types of conversations with their children. A parent that is only a friend to their child will not have the important life challenging conversations with their child. A parent that seperates themself from their child denies them of a very important part of parenting. We cannot and should not let important life conversations with our children be ingnored nor turn it into exasperation.

>Why do that? (5)

* Proverbs 7:5 "they will keep you from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words."

* "they will keep you from the adulteress" -The Hebrew for "adulteress" is "zur" meaning "stranger" and "strange woman". The term (along with ward wife) occurs in 2:16, 5:20, and 7:5. They mean anyone other than one's owm wife is off limits, like a foreigner who live and worship in another land to another god. (1 Kings 11:1)

* "the wayward wife" -The Hebrew word "norki" translated "wayward wife" and "stranger" is parallel to "immoral woman" in 6:24 and "prostitute" in 23:27.

* "with her seductive words" -The Hebrew words "halaq emer" translated "seductive words" and "divided sayings" is equal to the "smooth tongue" of 6:24 and "smoother talk" of 2:16.

* Many forms of sexual temptation abound in life. Most at least once are meet with deductive words that are hard to resist. We must be prepared if we mean to keep the covenant of marraige.

* Hebrews 13:4 " Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

II. The Trap (7:6-20)

The Fool

* The engraving from a book titled "Les Images de la mort [de H. Holbein] : avx quelles sont adioustées douze figures ... La medecine de l'ame. La consolation des malades. Vn sermon de mortalité, par sainct Cyprian. Vn sermon de patience, par sainct Iehan Chrysostome ..." by Holbein, Hans (1497-1543) Totentanz is now in public domain. The title is "The Fool". A skeleton, representing death, plays the bagpipes as he pulls a fool. The 54 images of Hans Holbein's "The Dance of Death" (Lyon, 1538) were cut by Hans Luetzelburger and appear in the 1547 Latin edition of the work. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>4. What did the parent notice that they decided to tell their child? (6-7)

* Proverbs 7:6-7 "At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment."

* "the lattice" -A lattice is a structure consisting of strips of wood or metal crossed and fastened together with square or diamond-shaped spaces left between. They are used as protection of a valuable person in a room, keeping out theives and predatores. They often support climbing plants.

* "to the simple" -"Simple" translated from the Hebrew word "pethiy" is a key word in Proverbs, occurring fifteen times. It denotes those who are easily persuaded and who "lack judgment" (9:4, 16), who are immature, inexperienced and naive (19:0). The simple is akin to the mocker.

* "among the young men, a youth" -The Hebrew words mean son and youth almost everywhere it is used in the Old Testament.

* "a youth who lacked judgment." -Meaning that they make wrong choices in day to day life. Judgment here is coming to a place in life where a decision needs to be made that will affect the future in either a good way or bad depending on what is decided.

* See 1:2-6.

>What does the simple's direction and timing tell us about the young man?

* Proverbs 7:8-9 "He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in."

* "He was going down the street near her corner"

* "walking along in the direction of her house"

* "at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in."


>5. What did it mean in those days to be "dressed like a prostitute?

* Proverbs 7:10 "Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent."

* "out came a woman to meet him"

* "dressed like a prostitute"

* "with crafty intent."


>What does this say about her intent towards the young man?

* Proverbs 7:11-12 "(She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.)"

* "She is loud and defiant"

* "her feet never stay at home"

* "now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks."


>What is the spiritual equivalent to allowing ourselves to be seduced away from the love of God? (2 Peter 2:13-15)

* 2 Peter 2:13-15 "They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed--an accursed brood! 15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness."


>6. What does her brazen face say about her heart? (13)

* Proverbs 7:13 "She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said:"

* "She took hold of him"

* "kissed him"

* "with a brazen face she said:"


>What is a fellowship offering in the Law of Moses? (14, Leviticus 7:12-15)

* Proverbs 7:14-15 "I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you!"

* "fellowship offerings at home"

* "fulfilled my vows."

* "I came out to meet you"

* "I looked for you and have found you!"


>How does the introduction of religion and worship shed new light on this teaching? (Ezekiel 14:3-5, 23:48-49; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; Colossians 3:5)

* Ezekiel 14:3-5 ("Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? 4 Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the LORD will answer him myself in keeping with his great idolatry. 5 I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.'"

* Ezekiel 23:48-49 "So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you. 49 You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD."

* 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 "Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?"

* Colossians 3:5 "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry."


>7. What does she tell him that she had prepared for him? (16-17)

* Proverbs 7:16-17 "I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon."

* "colored linens from Egypt."

* "perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon."


>Is sexual union always love as she proposes to the young man?

* Proverbs 7:18 "Come, let's drink deep of love till morning; let's enjoy ourselves with love!"

* "drink deep of love till morning"

* "let's enjoy ourselves with love!"


>What is she promising when she says her husband will be gone and never know of their night of sexual encounters?

* Proverbs 7:19-20 "My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon."

* "My husband is not at home"

* "he has gone on a long journey."

* "He took his purse filled with money"

* "will not be home till full moon."


>How is this the same as spirutual adultery?


III. The Slaughter (7:21-27)

The Butcher The Butcher

* The engraving from a book "Spiegel van het menselyk bedryf : vertoonende honderd verscheiden ambachten, konstig afgebeeld en met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen verryke / door Jan en Kasper Luiken" now in public domain is titled "The Butcherer". In the butcher shop, one butcher is in the process of slaughtering a cow while a second sharpens his knife; a cow waits outside and slaughtered pigs hang from a pole just outside the shop. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing this emblem and for creating the motto and poem that follow. Jan Luiken and/or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708) were responsible for its etching. The attendant scripture text is Proverbs 7:22. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

The motto is "Unthinking Pays no heed". The accompanying poem is:

The beast steps in his mate's blood,
And doesn't know to fear nor avoid:
Like the unthinking mind,
Although its nearest dies at its side,
And it sees an evil fruit,
It still does not take flight.

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)

>8. What does it mean that she led the young man astray?

* Proverbs 7:21 "With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk."

* "With persuasive words she led him astray"

* "she seduced him with her smooth talk."


>How are we led astray from a covenant with God? (1 Peter 4:1-6)

* 1 Peter 4:1-6 "Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit."


>9. Why is the young man's decision equated with the ox going to the slaughter?

* Proverbs 7:22 "All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose"

* "All at once he followed her"

* "like an ox going to the slaughter"

* "like a deer stepping into a noose"


>What happens when an arrow pierces the liver?

* Proverbs 7:23 "till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life."

* "till an arrow pierces his liver"

* "like a bird darting into a snare"

* "little knowing it will cost him his life."


* Can one have a covenant with God while breaking the covenant with a spouse? The woman witnessed had made a fellowship offering. A fellowship offering according to the law of Moses was offering to God part of the meat to God while being allowed to keep the rest to be eaten later by the offerer and their family (14; Lev. 7:12-15) She had made a vow to God (14). The adulterous offered to God and then offered a young man, not her husband to eat with her and then sleep with her.

Is anyone truly always faithful to God? Religion is the disguise and make-up of many. We paint ourselves to hide the shame that we carry with us. To others, religion is profit and gain. We dress lavishly to impress others for control, prestige, and influence.

If that is the way we treat our covenant with God it should not surprise us that that is the way we treat our covenant with our spouse. The simple young man enjoyed being incised and seduced. Deep in his heart, he wanted to step into the noose (22) till an arrow pieced his liver (23). Similarly, we go to religious gatherings while our hearts are far from God. We say, "Lord, Lord!" with the same mouth that we defame our covenant with our Lord.

"Going a little farther, Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." (Matthew 26:39-42)

Listen to the above comments on Proverbs 7:6-27.

>10. How is the heart the source of decisions? (24-25)

* Proverbs 7:24-25 "Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths."

* "pay attention to what I say"

* "Do not let your heart turn to her ways"

* "stray into her paths."


>When we decide in our heart to sin what happens to us? (26)

* Proverbs 7:26 "Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng."

* "Many are the victims she has brought down"

* "her slain are a mighty throng."




>What happens to all when we decide to follow evil sudduction of the heart? (27)

* Proverbs 7:27 "Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death."

* "Her house is a highway to the grave"

* "leading down to the chambers of death."