Proverbs 7



Warning Against the Adulteress (7:1–27)

1–5 The writer begins this warning about the adulteress with his usual call for attentiveness (see Proverbs 3:1–4 and comment). In verse 2, he says that if we keep his commands we will live (see Proverbs 4:4,22). He tells us to value his teaching as one values the apple (pupil) of one’s eye (verse 2); if the pupil is injured all vision is lost, and one cannot find his way.

6–23 In these verses the writer pictures a young man who has “lost his way”; in verse 7, he calls him one of the simple (see Proverbs 1:4), a youth who lacked judgment36 (see Proverbs 6:32). And the first thing the writer notices is that the youth is walking along in the direction of her house (verse 8). He is ignoring the writer’s earlier warning to stay away from an adulteress’s house (Proverbs 5:8); the youth is inviting temptation. And, of course, he falls.

The woman tempts the young man in every way; she even entices him with some fresh meat from a sacrifice offered that very day (verses 14–15). In the end, it is the young man who is “sacrificed”; he is like an ox going to the slaughter, totally oblivious of his fate (verse 22).

It is here that we see the young man’s lack of judgment (verse 7). Judgment (or wisdom) is what sets humans apart from animals. Animals live primarily by instinct, by passion; humans, made in God’s image, have the capacity to overrule their passions. Those who engage in sexual sins set aside their God-given nature and choose to act like animals instead.

24–27 The writer ends in verse 27 with a final warning: the adulteress’s house is a highway to the grave (see Proverbs 2:18–19). It is a broad way, and it leads to destruction and to death (Matthew 7:13; Romans 6:23).