1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
Interestingly enough the first characteristic of the forbidden woman is the way she communicates. This happens in each section where she is brought up: 2:16 she is the adulteress with her smooth words; 6:24 the smooth tongue of the adulteress; 7:5 the adulteress with her smooth words. We can see then the contrast being set up. It is between vying ways of life that offered by wisdom and the other offered by sensuality, or rather, folly. What seems to be a choice between stoicism and sensual pleasure is really between deeper, lasting pleasure and bitter delusion. The forbidden womans speech seems sweet and smooth, and for awhile she may seem to deliver on her promises; but in the end her taste is bitter and even deadly. Why? Because she herself is a fool, and as Proverbs 10:10 notes, a babbling fool will come to ruin. Unlike the wise and the righteous, she does not ponder the path of life. She does not contemplate what is truth and what does bring real life. Indeed, she is oblivious to where her life choices are taking her. And as Proverbs 13:20 warns, the companion of fools will suffer harm. Join up with the forbidden woman, and you will join in with her destruction.
Who is the forbidden woman? She may well be a woman tempting you to adultery. She is also the sex industry trying to draw you in so your money will be taken. She is the secular society trying to lure you into her world. She lures both men and women. And she is effective because of her smooth words.
Do not underestimate her persuasiveness; nor overestimate your willpower to resist. Seek the wisdom of Scripture; appeal to the Holy Spirit for understanding and strength to obey God’s commands. Follow your Lord Jesus Christ.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org