No other chapter of Proverbs harps on about the ‘loose woman’ and not falling for her flattery and deceit like Proverbs 7 does. Only the opening four verses (of 27) and verse 24 do not discuss her; they instead dose the son up with an urgent call to Wisdom.
A threefold hinge structure appears:
1. Fervent Warning to “Love Wisdom like a Sister” (Proverbs 7:4a NLT)
The imagery couldn’t be more vivid. As in previous chapters, we’re to ‘guard our parents’ instructions as the apple (pupil) of our eye.’ (Verse 2) We’re to ‘bind the commands we receive on our fingers and write them (deeply) as a tablet on our hearts.’ (Verse 3)
As in previous chapters on adultery, in the contemporary setting, we’re to consider the subject in a gender inclusive way. The character and risk of the opposite seduction (of a young woman) at the hand of an immoral older man is only slightly different and no less real.
2. Images of an Ox going to the Slaughter (the Young Man’s Deception)
The deceiver (woman or man) is veiled as salubrious. They observe for a naive young man or woman ‘void of good sense.’ They paint a dreamy picture of something almost too good to be true--everything, it seems, has been prepared for a dream-filled interlude.
She’s dressed gorgeously, the husband’s gone away for a long time, the bed is perfumed and adorned, and she is ready, having supposedly fulfilled some vows. And, she has apparently ‘handpicked’ the target of her advances! (Verses 14-20)
Even with such silken words she struggles to entice the younger man, but she’s not done yet; she pulls out all stops to trap him with her flattery and engaging sensual looks. Suddenly, without warning, he capitulates, and is led ignorantly like an ox off to slaughter. (Verses 21-22)
Just as suddenly as the capitulation comes a dart--an arrow--into his heart, his vitals. The dart of passion slays him. Like a bird flown straight into a fowler’s snare, his life as he knew it is over. (Verse 23)
3. Final Warning to Embrace Wisdom
The only valid defence against this ‘brash, rebellious type’ of woman is to embrace Wisdom. We’re told not to even make the first move down her alleyway. “Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death.” (Verse 27)
The only thing that saves us in these circumstances is the fear of the LORD (Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10) and to turn hard, fast and quickly in the opposite direction. It (the fear of the LORD) is the most basic and effective premise for sustaining spiritual life.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.