Friday, August 17, 2012

Women of Proverbs:The Adulteress

In our examination of the women of Proverbs, we've taken a close look at the contentious wife.  There's another type of woman in this book, and at first I was hesitant to write about her. But when I skimmed the book again, I realized that the authors spend a lot of time describing her.  The adulteress.

I'm going to assume that our readers don't have a problem with being an adulteress.  If I'm wrong, I hope that any women leaning toward adultery will be convicted.  I do think it is important that we understand what the adulteress looks like and how she acts so we can know how to counteract her influence over the men and boys in our lives.  The Proverbs were written in large part to sons or other young men who needed instruction in how to live.  The writers describe the adulteress to warn these young men to avoid her.  So what does this woman look like?

First of all, she is enticing (Proverbs 7:21), and not just in her looks.  This woman doesn't just stand on the street corner and hope men will come to her.  She uses her words to flatter men and lure them in (2:16).  "For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech" (5:3).  She is described as cunning (7:10), deliberately ensnaring unwary men to join her in sin.  If you don't think women act this way today, think again.  I did a search for adulteress and found this article in Women's Health Magazine online.  Listen to this statistic: "Though 79 percent of respondents said that having an affair with a taken man was never acceptable, a surprising 46 percent admitted to having done it--and more than half of you said they felt no regrets. Even more intriguing, when asked whether you'd rather be a mistress or a deceived wife, more than 62 percent of you opted for the former." (Read more at Women's Health:  I'll admit this is not a scientific poll.  But it does demonstrate that the adulteress is alive and well in today's society.

According to Proverbs, she engages in this sin because she has become godless.  She has forgotten the covenant with her God (2:17).  This "forgetting" seems to indicate that the adulteress may have once feared the Lord and followed His commandments. These verses alone are a powerful incentive to me to keep close to my Savior!  Because the adulteress has forgotten Him, she has become boisterous and rebellious (7:11), and she claims she is not even sinning (30:20).   Have you ever heard someone justify sexual sin? The above article lists several excuses, including the man's troubled marriage. "He was unhappy, and I was able to make him happy." It seems the justifications are as old as Solomon.  The worst result of her becoming godless is that she no longer cares where her path leads (5:6).

But the author warns the reader over and over that her path leads to death.  "For her house sinks down to death. And her tracks lead to the dead" (2:18). "Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol" (5:5). "Her house is the way to Sheol, Descending to the chambers of death" (7:27). Perhaps the most ominous: "Stolen water is sweet; And bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he doesn't know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol" (9:17-18).  In the context of the Proverbs, death often came in the form of the jealous husband.  Today, we know there are many ways that sexual sin can lead to death.  STDs can lead to death or lifelong sickness.  An unwanted pregnancy leads to death in the form of abortion.  A broken marriage may lead to suicide.

To recap: The adulteress doesn't care where her deadly paths lead, but she is the master of enticement.  She makes sure the men she tempts have a good time.  She goes out of her way to trap them. I believe this type of woman exists today.  In Solomon's day, she was a married woman.  Now, there are women out there every day, married and single, trying to ensnare our husbands, our brothers, our sons.  Does this scare you?  It does me.  What can we as Christian women do about it?

One thing a married woman can do is to keep her husband satisfied.  Please understand that I am in no way suggesting that a woman who is cheated on "got what she deserved."  In fact, very little makes me angrier than infidelity; there is NO excuse for it.  But the Bible is pretty clear when it tells us not to deprive our husbands of sexual relations (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).  Indeed, one of the solutions for avoiding the adulteress given in Proverbs is "Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love.  For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?" (Proverbs 5:18-20).  If my breasts are satisfying my husband (hey, these are Bible words!), he will have less reason to seek out the bosom of another.

How can we help protect the other males in our lives, most particularly our sons?  Next week I'll be discussing another woman of Proverbs, the Mother, in partial answer to this question.


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission

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