16 I have spread my couch with coverings,
colored linens from Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till 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;
at full moon he will come home.”
21 With much seductive speech she persuades him;
with her smooth talk she compels him.
22 All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast
23 till an arrow pierces its liver;
as a bird rushes into a snare;
he does not know that it will cost him his life.
24 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and be attentive to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;
do not stray into her paths,
26 for many a victim has she laid low,
and all her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is the way to Sheol,
going down to the chambers of death.
The smooth talker lures her victim in with promises of exotic and erotic adventure (16-17), of love (18), and of safety (19-20). However exciting the adventure may be to the fool, love certainly has nothing to do with her designs. It is a momentary illusion that leads to devastation.
The assurance that the husband is away is not only a comforting thought for one’s safety, but adds to the pleasure of the fool thinking that he is making a fool of another man. At no other instance is a fool’s folly so evident as when he thinks he is outwitting another person. As 21-23 make clear, he is merely setting himself up for his own entrapment.
The answer for us all is not to become wise enough to outwit the forbidden woman. The teacher does not counsel his sons how to debate the woman nor how to instruct her. He tells them to turn away from her altogether. The simpleton in this chapter walked into his own trap by knowingly walking to where the forbidden women lived. Walk away from smooth talk. Do not answer it; do not try to reason with it. Walk away.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2021 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org