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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Proverbs 7--The Woman on the Corner

"Warning: these enemies are still lurking...Image via WikipediaThe first five verses of Proverbs 7 records a father's urging to his son to remain virtuous and avoid foolish behavior and cherish wisdom as a sister.  The father is insistent in his charge to his son to rehearse the teachings and commands that will spare him much trouble and distress.

The father then tells a story of the young men he saw in the street from his window.  Among them was one who lacked good judgment.  Perhaps he had not been taught to avoid foolish choices, but, in any case, he allowed himself to be influenced by a sinful woman. 

He seems to have known where she would be and how to find her.  He knew the corner she frequented, and he knew where her house was.  As night fell, he made his way there.

She came to meet him dressed to allure him.  She was crafty, and her intent was to seduce him.  She went to the town square and the shops advertising herself in a brazen manner, and she had no modesty or virtue about her.  Her intent was to sell herself for money.  This simple, foolish young man would be easy for her.

She assured him that she had performed her duties of fellowship offerings.  It is strange to think that she had taken pains to obey the law in this matter, but she felt no pang of guilt for her adultery or for destroying his honor.  She described her husband's trip and absence which gave her leave to behave in a scandalous manner.  It is not clear whether she desired sexual experience in her husband's absence or money for her service, but all her motives are equally disgusting and destructive.

The writer offers many metaphors to describe her violation of the foolish young man:  She pursuaded him with smooth talk and flattery; she led him like an ox to the slaughter; like a deer stepping in a noose; like an arrow piercing his liver; like a bird in a snare, and he doesn't even realize that it will lead him to death.

The deadly consequence of his yielding to her call is not explained in the text.  Perhaps it indicats the prevelance of disease in sexual contact with many partners.  Perhaps it refers to the death of the soul in sin.  Perhaps it means the loss of honor that would make him unacceptable for marriage.

The final four verses are an appeal to the son to prevent this from happening to him.  He had been taught righteousness, and his father had shown him the result of the sinful path.  It is true that experience is the best teacher, but it is possible to learn from the experience of those around us.  We don't have to experience everything.  Others had been slain by association with her and her sin. 

How much easier would life be if we learned from the wisdom of parents?

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