An earlier devotion from Proverbs 7 presented insight into the subtlety of an adulteress and the fool beguiled by her. Because we are in the midst of a narrative told by Solomon to his son and meant to warn him of the tragic path of immorality, it behooves us to review the verses prior to today’s proverb.
So far we have noted the appearance, attitude and actions of an adulteress (Proverbs 7:10-12).
Proverbs 7:10-12 – “And, behold, there met him [a naïve, foolish man] a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)”
The appearance of an adulteress is the subject of verse 10–her dress is “the attire of an harlot” (7:10a). Like the styles in our day, her dress draws attention away from her character to her physical appearance. Her attitude is “subtil of heart” (sly and cunning) and “loud and stubborn” (7:11a). She has a rebel’s heart, vents and rages at those who warn her of the consequences of her ways. Her wayward actions define her: “her feet abide not in her house” (7:11b-12)—she is unsettled, focused on her carnal desires at the sacrifice of her marital vows and home.
Solomon continues in Proverbs 7:13-14 and defines the character of an adulteress.
Proverbs 7:13-14 – “So she caught [restrained; prevailed upon] him, and kissed him, and with an impudent [hardened; strong] face said unto him, 14 I have peace [thank-offering; voluntary] offerings [sacrifices] with me; this day have I payed [made my peace; made restitution] my vows [promise to God].”
Solomon brings to his son’s attention three character qualities of the adulteress.
The first is she is Forward (7:13). She is bold and brazen. Whatever restraint or modesty she might have had in her youth has been cast aside. Rather than a kind face and gentle spirit, her face is hard and her will is unbridled.
The adulteress is not only forward; she is also a Fake—a religious hypocrite piously boasting she has made peace with God by sacrificial offerings (7:14). Having desensitized her conscience, she beguiles the foolish man to her lair of iniquity.
The third and final characteristic of the adulteress is she is a Flatterer (7:15-18, 21). I will wait to next month to amplify that negative quality from Proverbs 7.
A brief, summary challenge is in order: Like Solomon, fathers bear a great responsibility to warn and instruct their sons concerning the destructive and beguiling ways of an immoral woman. By contrast, mothers should impress on their daughters that character is more important than style and purity once lost can never be restored.
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith