Seduction and The Simple (Proverbs 7)
Proverbs is a corpus of wisdom you can rely on, but unless and until it’s internalized, at best, it’s a discipline. That discipline has to move from checking the box to being a reflex you do because you want to. When you have the word of God, and you get up in the morning and open your scripture, you move beyond discipline to where it becomes a reflex. You don’t have to think about it. Proverbs 7 is the fourth and last lecture on the adulterous, seductress, harlot woman that the father is teaching the son. This chapter is outlined as Seduction and The Simple: Without Wisdom. Without wisdom, we see three things. Temptation always wins, the immature lose, and catastrophe awaits. That’s the chapter in a nutshell.
Without Wisdom, Temptation Wins (Proverbs 7: 1-5)
We’ve seen this language again and again. The casual reader will connect this back to Deuteronomy 6:8, where we read, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.”
Later, Jesus will speak to the scribes and remind them that they look religious but overlook weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy. What God meant, symbolic or metaphorical, they turned literal to the point that the phylactery meant more than what was intended. Derek Kidner says, “It is shown once more that the best advice is useless against strong temptation unless it is thoroughly taken to heart and translated into habits.” Repetition is hard won and must move from information to knowledge to internalization.
What was the point of wrapping leather around your head, hand, and arm? The point was to put God’s word in your mind and your hand when you work. Keep God’s word in front of you in the three dimensions of life. Wisdom is not only academic. It is not merely information. It is to be treasured, written on the tablet of your heart, and given the intimate love like that of a sister, closest friend, because then, and only then, will it have the result to keep you from the adulteress, the one who flatters with her words. We need deep, mature Christian friends. Their words, friendship, and camaraderie keep us on track.
Without Wisdom, The Immature Will Lose (Proverbs 7:6-23)
In Proverbs 7:6-13, we see the father’s observations. Proverbs 7:14-20 contains the woman’s seductions. Proverbs 7:21-23 includes the father’s concluding warning. Derek Kidner describes these verses as targeting the young, inexperienced, and feather-brained. The fool and the mocker tend to be too far gone. The simple and naive are like a whiteboard. They aren’t wise or out of the woods. They must want this information.
Youth is aimless; the temptress is not. Present-day aimlessness, lack of direction, indecision, “hanging out,” “putting off,” and waiting for some opportunity to drop in your lap is foolishness. Evil does not sleep. Temptation never draws you closer to Christ. Temptation always pulls you away from God’s word, God’s Spirit, and God’s people.
You cannot live in sin and find yourself loving to read the Bible. You cannot be apathetic about the things of God and want to pray. You cannot be indifferent and want to be part of a church.
When you come up against the seductress, it is ill-advantaged and an unequal contest, and you will lose. You cannot put yourself in a situation where the seductress gets her tentacles into you. Solomon had no idea that the internet would open portals of good and evil like never before. There is no more lurking behind every corner, now it is out in the open, and we have vilified shame and worshiped sin in its ever-twisting perverting versions.
“Don’t ask; don’t tell” seems like godly wisdom when considering what we have devolved into. Younger men and women have been beaten into submission to not merely accept that their friends were born this way but conclude it is something to be celebrated when a person declares their new identity. Without the wisdom of Christ, we are outmatched.
Notice the unbelievable tactics of the woman in this section, how she’s dressed, and her rebellion. She grabs and kisses him. She’s brazen and flatters him beyond his ability to resist.
The kill comes in Proverbs 7:22-23. The hook is set; he is on his way to the slaughter; he cannot turn back because he has yielded to temptation and sin. The gullible has become the fool. It is too late. Compared to an ox or bird, they cannot see the trap that is their death. When your children are old enough, study with them the reason deer hunting season coincides with rutting season. It is a remarkable parallel. These very smart bucks lose their minds from mid-October to December.
Without Wisdom, Catastrophe Awaits (Proverbs 7:24-27)
The father’s concluding admonition restates what has been said with fear, and sober warning, the victims and slain are real; Sheol and death await. She is now depicted as a predator, not just a temptress. Her house descending to the chambers is a euphemism for the gate to her womb. Her womb, in this case, is death. That which God designed to bring forth life is misused and brings forth death. What smelled like a delightful, pleasurable romp resulted in the stench of death.
Berend Gemser writes, “Her bedroom is no ballroom, but a battlefield where corpses lie about. From where many are sent to the Netherworld, even to the most inner chambers of the fortress of death, destined for the most disrespected among the dead.”
The Main Lessons of The Text
- No matter what the culture or so-called church does, what your friends do, and what people tell you, God’s word does not change. He is very serious about His word. He made one man for one woman for life. Heterosexual monogamy for life and sexual intimacy within that relationship’s confines is holy, delightful, and wonderful. Anything outside that is an insult to God’s design. We live in a culture that is entirely the opposite. Don’t let the world teach you theology.
- Derek Kidner concludes with a threefold defense. #1 Guard your mind and heart as we are in danger when our thoughts wander in a fatal direction. #2 Stay away from all that seduces, literally and mentally. #3 Look past the seduction to the chambers of death. Seek Christ’s wisdom. Don’t be seduced by a world that’s lost Its mind and perverted everything God has meant good.
Check out all of Michael’s recommended Proverbs resources here.