Bitter tasting honey

Proverbs 5. Often our media and films portray the attraction of adultery as physical or somehow fated. In Proverbs 5:3, however, it the woman’s words, not her looks that first attract the man. Often it is the flattery of a member of the opposite sex that that first leads people into improper relationships. We all love it when somebody pays attention to us. A similar pattern seems to take place in Proverbs 7. We should be wise to this. We need to watch our egos as well as our hormones. 

In the early chapters of Proverbs, the honey-lipped figure seeking to lure somebody into adultery is always cast as a woman. Is this sexist? There are clearly also sexually predatory men in the world who speak with smooth words. These verses could equally be applied to such men, but remember that the context of Proverbs chapters 1-9 is that of a father addressing his son (see the repeated phrase “my son” at the beginning of the chapters). 

The early chapters of Proverbs place a great deal of emphasis on the dangers of adultery. Adultery as a theme appears in chapters 2, 5, 6 and 7. Proverbs is not a step-by-step logical argument but a collection of wisdom. At times the book therefore appears to repeat its themes. Rather than skip over the repeated themes we do well to allow our minds to dwell on them, as these are clearly important. The Proverbs warn strongly of the dangers and lure of adultery, these are not warnings to be complacent about. 

Richard Dryer, 04/03/2015

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