Warning Against Adultery
5 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”
Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD,
and he ponders all his paths.
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray.
Proverbs 5 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well.”Proverbs 5:15
The imagery from this statement are Solomon’s words against adultery. He warns his son to stay faithful to his wife. Of all people, Solomon knew the hardship and even spiritual upheaval unfaithfulness in his marriage bed would bring, specifically alienation from God. His own conception had come through the failure of his father with Bathsheba and loss of that child. Although David upon his confession of his sin with her and consequent murder of Uriah he was forgiven by God; in time, Solomon was born between David and Bathsheba but the price had been high for David personally on many levels.
Temptations of any kind bring difficulty if we follow through. This is where the roadblocks in our own minds need to be set up before the temptation comes. This is why our relationship with God needs to be actively pursued. At the end of our lives, it will be too late to ask for advice as many times the choices we made in the heat of the moment, (and it doesn’t matter what that heat may be), will already have dictated where we landed.
Resisting temptation is easier if the decision has already been made. Sin may look great but does bring destruction. We should all be proactive in our relationship with God so when the temptations come, He helps us recognize them and also enables us to stand against and choose wisely.
Proverbs 5 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Upon an initial read of this chapter, it seems as if Solomon is painting a negative picture of women in general. But when we consider the instruction within the context of Solomon’s life, we gain a greater understanding. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He willingly chose this path of lust and adultery despite God’s warnings. Knowing this helps put in perspective the instruction given. Notice how he first describes this temptation as the sweet lips of “forbidden women.”
Forbidden women in Solomon’s day would have been Gentiles and prostitutes and we know for a fact Solomon took the former to be his wife. He is instructing from his own experiences and this carries a lot of weight. But I believe he is speaking to an even higher standard. Proverbs 5 gives a strong warning against adultery of any kind, no matter who the “forbidden woman” may be.
“Drink water from your own cistern, water flowing from your own well. 16 Should your springs flow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares? 17 They should be for you alone and not for you to share with strangers.”Proverbs 5:15-17 HCSB
Take a moment and consider what Solomon is writing. A married man must draw his physical, emotional, and spiritual satisfaction from his wife alone. Again, this means a lot coming from the wisest man to ever live, however, it means even more coming from a man who willfully chased after every woman he desired. I think many men would expect Solomon to write, “My life has been filled with any and every woman I desired, and it was everything I hoped for!” But his advice goes against the grain of his life experiences.
“Then he turns the tables a bit. How would it be, the teacher asks, if his own wife were to become the “strange woman” for other men? Should his springs flow down the streets? his waters be in the public squares? “No!” the teacher says. Let these waters be yours alone, not something you share with strangers.”Nelson’s Commentary