Warnings Against Folly (6:1–19)
Warnings Against Adultery (6:20–35)
20–24 In verses 20–21, the writer repeats earlier admonitions to the young to carefully heed their parents’ teaching (see Proverbs 1:8; 3:3). In verses 22–23, he says that such parental teaching will serve as a constant guide, a lamp to light one’s path (see Psalm 119:105). A parent’s teaching and correction will guard a young man from immoral women and keep him on the way to life (verses 23–24)—as opposed to the way to death (Proverbs 2:18–19).
25–29 Do not lust in your heart after an immoral woman (verse 25). Momentary temptations come to all of us, but one must not nurture them, dwell on them, invite them into one’s heart: that is what lust is. Jesus said that to lust after a woman was the same as committing adultery with her (Matthew 5:28).
To become involved with a prostitute or adulteress will eventually reduce one to a loaf of bread—to poverty—and even put one’s life at risk (verse 26). No one will escape the consequences (verses 27–28); no one who sleeps with an adulteress will go unpunished (verses 29,33–34).
30–35 It is bad enough to steal food, even when one is starving; the thief must pay back sevenfold35 (verses 30–31). But it is inexcusable to “steal” another man’s wife. There is nothing the adulterer can “pay back”; there is no restitution possible (verse 35). The adulterer will face inevitable disgrace and ruin—and possibly death (Leviticus 20:10).