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Proverbs 7:6-27 – A Story about Seduction

Summary

Illicit sex has severe consequences.

Analysis

Once again the wisdom teachers provide a lesson dealing with sexual behavior. This time the instruction takes the form of a story, clearly and dramatically told. Note that the seduction takes place in the evening (v. 9). The woman is "loud" (v. 11; also 9:13) and thus quite the opposite of the ideal woman portrayed in chapter 31 (note vv. 25-26). She piously claims to be returning from worship services (v. 14). She is married and her husband is away on a long business trip (vv. 19-20). The willing young man is pictured as a pitiful creature unwittingly headed for a trap (vv. 22-23). And the penalty? "It will cost him his life" (v. 23; see also v. 27).

Proverbs 7:6-27


6 For at the window of my house
   I looked out through my lattice,
7 and I saw among the simple ones,
   I observed among the youths,
   a young man without sense,
8 passing along the street near her corner,
   taking the road to her house
9 in the twilight, in the evening,
   at the time of night and darkness.


10 Then a woman comes towards him,
   decked out like a prostitute, wily of heart.*
11 She is loud and wayward;
   her feet do not stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
   and at every corner she lies in wait.
13 She seizes him and kisses him,
   and with impudent face she says to him:
14 ‘I had to offer sacrifices,
   and today I have paid my vows;
15 so now I have come out to meet you,
   to seek you eagerly, and I have found you!
16 I have decked my couch with coverings,
   coloured spreads of Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
   aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until morning;
   let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For my husband is not at home;
   he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took a bag of money with him;
   he will not come home until full moon.’


21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
   with her smooth talk she compels him.
22 Right away he follows her,
   and goes like an ox to the slaughter,
or bounds like a stag towards the trap*
23   until an arrow pierces its entrails.
He is like a bird rushing into a snare,
   not knowing that it will cost him his life.


24 And now, my children, listen to me,
   and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Do not let your hearts turn aside to her ways;
   do not stray into her paths.
26 for many are those she has laid low,
   and numerous are her victims.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
   going down to the chambers of death.

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

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