The Word Made Fresh
1Always keep these words of mine
with you – store them up as treasures.
2Obey my rules and live by them,
and let them be the path you walk.
3Wrap them around your finger so that they will be
constantly written on your heart.
4Call wisdom your sister
and understanding your closest friend.
5They will protect you from the wayward woman,
the adulteress with her enticements.
6From the latticework outside my window I watched the people.
7I saw among them a careless young man
8walking along the street leading to her door
9after sundown as nighttime was descending.
10I saw a woman coming towards him
dressed as a prostitute, stalking him.
11Loud and promiscuous she wandered from her home,
12first along the street, then in the public squares,
then at every corner she waited.
13She took hold of him and kissed him
and brazenly declared to him,
14“I made peace offerings to fulfill all my promises today.
15I looked for you, and now I’ve found you!
16My bed is covered with Egyptian linen,
17and perfumed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18So come, let us make love until morning
and delight ourselves with one another.
19My husband is not at home.
He is away on a long journey.
20He took a bag of money with him,
so, he won’t be back at least until full moon.”
21That is how she seduces him.
That is how she persuades him with smooth talk.
22He follows her like an ox to the slaughter,
or a wild beast to the trap
23where an arrow will pierce its heart,
or like the bird that walks into a snare
not realizing it will die.
24Listen to me! Pay attention to what I’m telling you!
25Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded down her wicked paths.
26She has wooed many victims,
27but her house is the grave, leading down to death.
1-5: More warnings against adultery, a subject that gets what seems more than its share as if it is the primary temptation and danger awaiting a youth arriving in the world of adults.
6-9: There follows an eyewitness account of a gullible youth being lured into the bed of a married woman. First the young man is spotted, sneaking along the darkened streets of the city.
10-20: He is accosted by a brazen adulteress who lures him into her house. She appears at first to be a prostitute, but we learn in verse 19 that she is in fact a married woman deceiving her absent husband.
21-23: He enters her house “like an ox to the slaughter,” “like a wild beast to the trap,” “like the bird that rushes into a snare not realizing it will die.”
24-27: The book began as an address to children, but more and more the subject matter seems to have attracted a larger audience with special emphasis on youth and young adults. The teacher minces no words; giving in to the allure of a married woman bent on adultery is a life-threatening mistake. That is probably meant literally, since according to the Law of Moses the penalty for adultery is death for both parties.
Unfaithfulness destroys relationships. In a society that was based on passing a family’s wealth to the next generation, adultery was the ultimate act of sabotage.