Proverbs 5:1-14 Commentary

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Proverbs 5:1 My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding;

  • Give attention - Pr 2:1; 4:1,20; Mt 3:9; Mk 4:23; Re 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22
  • Incline - Pr 22:17; Jas 1:19

Note: All verbs in bold red indicate commands, not suggestions

MY SON, be attentive to my Wisdom [godly Wisdom learned by actual and costly experience], and incline your ear to my understanding [of what is becoming and prudent for you], (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Note that Solomon is speaking in his own voice as indicated by the repetition of the pronoun "my" in Proverbs 5-7. If there were a seminar this Saturday in your church and the advertised speaker was King Solomon of Israel and the subject was "Sex", they would be hanging from the rafters! With the miracle of divine revelation and inspiration, we in fact have that very opportunity to hear from the wisest man who lived (other than Jesus, cp Solomon's request of God in 1Ki 3:9, 10, 11, 12) and who also made some of the biggest mistakes in the area of sexual relations (1Ki 11:1, 2, 3, 4ff). We dare not miss what this "man of experience" has to share with us in a frank, uncensored, yet tasteful, man to man discussion!

Bridges - PONDER this chapter-ye that know not the poison and corruption of fleshly lusts. Perhaps painful experience (1Ki 11:1-8. Eccl 7:26) had given the wise man wisdom and understanding. Therefore attend to it with fear and trembling. (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

Sir Winston Churchill once said "I like to learn, but I do not like to be taught.

To be continually learning and benefiting from others without being resentful is a sign of maturity. Read through Proverbs 5-7 as one who trembles at His Word (Ezra 9:4, Is 66:2, 5) and has a teachable heart (cp David's heart in Ps 25:4-Spurgeon note, Ps 25:5-Spurgeon note, Ps 27:11-Spurgeon note, a great prayer of David in Ps 86:11-Spurgeon note; Ps 119:27-Spurgeon note; Ps 143:8-Spurgeon note).

Proverbs 5-7 deals with the subject of sexual impurity and how to avoid this powerful and deceptive sin and in his presentation Solomon repeatedly is seeking (and commanding) our attention as men because he knows full well the power of sexual sin (see below). Note Solomon's repetition of his call to hear what he is saying and to obey it without exception...

Proverbs 5:1 My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding;

Proverbs 5:7 Now then, my sons, listen to me, And do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 6:20 My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;

21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck.

Proverbs 7:1 My son, keep my words, And treasure my commandments within you.

2 Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye.

3 Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," And call understanding your intimate friend;

Proverbs 7:24 Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth.

Look again at the verbs which Solomon employs. Solomon realizes that in this moral area, young men (as well as "dirty old men" -- all of us in our old flesh nature) are prone to hear his instructions and warnings and either dismiss them as prudish or as "joy" stealers or as not relevant in a society with "liberated" moral values in the area sexual behavior (while thinking they are free, they are in fact in being subjected to greater and greater enslavement to sexual sin).

Solomon as alluded to above, gave wise counsel to his son, but he did not seem to follow his own advice as recorded in 1Kings 11, a sad chapter in the history of Israel.

But king Solomon loved many strange women (cp 1Ki 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

Moses writes this wise command directly from God...

Ex 20:14 You shall not commit adultery. (Note: God declares that sexual intimacy outside the bonds of marriage is wrong, even if between so called "consenting adults." Furthermore although this law specifically mentions adultery, the commandment clearly includes sexual sins prohibited elsewhere in Scripture (Lev 18; Ro 1:18-32; 1Co 6:9-20; Ep 5:1-14).

It is noteworthy that in Proverbs 5-7, each of the warnings against sexual impropriety is prefaced by an admonition to pay attention to the Word of God (Pr 5:1, 2; 7, 8, Pr 6:20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25; Pr 7:1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The Truth of God's Word heard and heeded keeps us from believing the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil that the "grass is always greener" on the other side of the fence. Remember "lust" begins with thoughts (and images that convey thoughts) and the best defense is a good offense, taking in Truth to counter and expose the Lie.

It makes me think of the shield the Word provides as mentioned in Proverbs 30...

Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. (Pr 30:5, cp Ps 119:9, 11)

Observe the two commands, both of which require us to make a personal choice to respond. Dear reader, are you listening up?

Give attention (see Pr 4:1, 20)

Incline your ear (see Pr 2:2, 4:20)

Our "modern" world is not giving attention nor inclining its ear but is making up the rules to suit it's lewd behavior. Here's what Wiersbe says that upon...

hearing the Seventh Commandment, many people in contemporary society smile nonchalantly and ask, "What's wrong with premarital or extramarital sex, or any other kind, for that matter?" After all, they argue, many people indulge in these things and seem to get away with it. Furthermore, these activities are more acceptable today than they were in Solomon's day; why make a big issue out of it? "Life is a game in which the rules are constantly changing," says a contemporary writer; "nothing spoils a game more than those who take it seriously."[ Quentin Crisp wrote this in Manners from Heaven, chapter 7]. So, the verdict's in: sex is fun, so don't take it too seriously... Sexual sin is one of the main themes of numerous movies, TV programs, novels, and short stories; yet popularity is no test of right and wrong. Many things that the law says are legal, the Bible says are evil, and there won't be a jury sitting at the White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11, 12, 13, 14, 15-notes; Rev 21:27-note; Rev 22:15-note).

Wisdom and understanding are mentioned together in the context of a God glorifying marriage...

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 And by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Pr 24:3,4)

My wisdom - Remember that you are giving ear to the one of whom God Himself said

Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. (1Ki 3:12)

Wisdom (02451) (chokmah - see word study or hokmah) as used in this context describes the ability to see something from God’s viewpoint. Wisdom is “God’s character in the many practical affairs of life.” We can get information "on line" but wisdom is from "on high" (through His Word)! God's wisdom is not theoretical knowledge but is that which is worked out in a proper discernment between good and evil or right and wrong. Fools may acquire encyclopedic information, but they cannot attain wisdom because they fail to take God into account. Wisdom is not acquired by a mechanical formula but in the final analysis through a right relationship with God (Pr 9:10, Jas 3:15, 16, 17, 18). In the present context, God's wisdom helps guard the heart and mind of a man against the wiles of an adulteress.

The preciousness of wisdom is seen in the following verses - Job 28:16, Ps 105:22 Pr 3:13, 14; 5:1; 7:4; 8:11; 14:24; 16:16; 19:8; 24:7; 24:14; Eccl 2:13; 7:11; 7:19; 8:1; 9:16; 9:18; 10:10.

Matthew Henry has this wise statement on wisdom...

It is better to get wisdom than gold. Gold is another's, wisdom is our own; gold is for the body and time, wisdom for the soul and eternity.

John Calvin said that...

Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.

Vance Havner - If you lack knowledge, go to school. If you lack wisdom, get on your knees! Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is the proper use of knowledge.

Wisdom from Wiersbe - God created sex not only for reproduction but also for enjoyment, and he didn't put the 'marriage wall' around sex to rob us of pleasure but to increase pleasure and protect it.

Understanding (08394)(tebunah from bin = to discern) refers to insight or knowledge which is superior to the mere gathering of data. Understanding is the capacity for discerning a right course of action when presented with various sources of input and various options.

Understanding in Baker's Evangelical Dictionary

There are 42 uses of tebuna/tebunah primarily in the "Wisdom" literature - Ex 31:3; 35:31; 36:1; Deut. 32:28; 1Ki 4:29; 7:14; Job 12:12, 13; 26:12; 32:11; Ps 49:3; 78:72; 136:5; 147:5; Pr. 2:2, 3, 6, 11; 3:13, 19; 5:1; 8:1; 10:23; 11:12; 14:29; 15:21; 17:27; 18:2; 19:8; 20:5; 21:30; 24:3; 28:16; Is 40:14, 28; 44:19; Je 10:12; 51:15; Ezek 28:4; Hos. 13:2; Ob 1:7, 8.

Here are all the uses on Proverbs...

(Prov 2:2) Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;

(Prov 2:3) For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding;

(Prov 2:6) For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

(Prov 2:11) Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you,

(Prov 3:13) How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding.

(Prov 3:19) The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.

(Prov 5:1) My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding;

(Prov 8:1) Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice?

(Prov 10:23) Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, And so is wisdom to a man of understanding.

(Prov 11:12) He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent.

(Prov 14:29) He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.

(Prov 15:21) Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, But a man of understanding walks straight.

(Prov 17:27) He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

(Prov 18:2) A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.

(Prov 19:8) He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.

(Prov 20:5) A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, But a man of understanding draws it out.

(Prov 21:30) There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD.

(Prov 24:3) By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established;

(Prov 28:16) A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.

Understanding implies a mental grasp of the nature and significance of something, along with discernment and good judgment. In short, it is common sense and not the mere accumulation and possession of knowledge ("head knowledge"). Think of understanding as the ability to "put the pieces together" and make sense out of it all!

Paul prays for the Colossian saints a prayer that relates to Solomon's words that we would all do well to pray for one another...

For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (why? what difference should this make in my Christian life?) 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (note how knowledge obeyed not only leads to fruit that endures but also leads to increasing knowledge of God! cp Ps 16:11 How great is that reward? cp similar thought on the relationship of knowing and doing in Jn 7:17) ; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Col 1:9-12 - see notes)

I like how the great British preacher and hymn writer (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross) Isaac Watts defined understanding...

By understanding I mean that faculty whereby we are enabled to apprehend the objects of knowledge, generals or particulars, absent or present, and to judge of their truth or falsehood, good or evil.

The 1828 Webster's Dictionary says that understanding is - The faculty of the human mind by which it apprehends the real state of things presented to it, or by which it receives or comprehends the ideas which others express and intend to communicate. The understanding is called also the intellectual faculty. It is the faculty by means of which we obtain a great part of our knowledge.

Today in the Word - The state of sexual morality in America is not good. The number of unmarried couples living together has increased at least tenfold since 1960. Casual sex, “hook-ups,” and “friends with benefits” are more popular than ever.

Against this background, the call of Proverbs 5 to faithfulness in marriage is more timely than ever! God has designed the marriage relationship to be exclusive and fulfilling (vv. 15–20). That is, marriage is one man and one woman, for life (Gen. 2:23–24). A man should be satisfied with his own wife and not led astray by the deceiving pleasures of adultery. The imagery in these verses is clearly sexual, as in the Song of Songs. Being satisfied with your wife’s breasts is as erotic as it sounds (Pr 5:19). The sexual intimacy described in these verses is ultimately relational intimacy, “never to be shared with strangers” (Pr 5:17; cf. 1 Cor. 7:3–5).

The temptation to sexual immorality promises much but is empty in the end (Pr 5:1–14). “The lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall” (Pr 5:3–4). A person of discretion is not fooled. The seductress’s path is crooked and leads only to ruin and destruction. To chase after her is to abandon wisdom and self-discipline. Self-control and a spirit open to correction are key to resisting this kind of temptation (Pr 5:12–14, 23).

The bottom line is that God sees all and is not deceived (Pr 5:21–23). Sinful ways are a snare and end in death. Foolishness and a lack of self-discipline lead one away from the path of life.

APPLY THE WORD - One Christian book on marriage is The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller (Dutton, 2011). The introduction states that this book is for both married and unmarried people, because all Christians need to understand what the Bible teaches on this important subject.

Mark Copeland's Executable Outlines - Proverbs...

Proverbs 5:1-23


1. Earlier in his discourses on wisdom, Solomon warned of being delivered from an immoral woman...

a. The seductress who flatters with her words - Pr 2:16

b. Who forsakes her husband and forgets her covenant with God - Pr 2:17

c. Whose home and paths leads to death - Pr 2:18-19

2. Similar warnings are repeated in these discourses of Solomon ...

a. In chapters five, six, and seven

b. Such repetition implies that the danger is great

c. It was a serious problem in Solomon’s day, certainly no less today

[In chapter five, we read of “The Peril Of Adultery”. Beginning with a call to pay attention (Pr 5:1-

2), we are warned about...]



1. It sounds and feels good at first - Pr 5:3

2. For such enticement involves flattery - cf. Pr 2:16; 6:24; 7:21

3. And forbidden fruit is always tempting - e.g., Gen 3:6

-- Adultery promises much, but what does it deliver?



1. The end of adultery is sharp bitterness - Pr 5:4

2. The real promise is death followed by condemnation - Pr 5:5; cf. He 13:4

3. Thus the ways of adultery are unstable, unknowable - Pr 5:6-- Adultery delivers, but not what it promises!

[To appreciate what adultery really delivers, we are next told of...]



1. Solomon pleads with his children to stay away from the immoral woman - Pr 5:7-8

2. His first reason: “Lest you give your honor to others...” - Pr 5:9a

3. He reiterates: “Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, And your labors go to the house of a foreigner.” - Pr 5:10-- Alimony and child support can eat away at your finances


1. Solomon’s second reason: “...and your years to the cruel one.” - Pr 5:9b

2. He adds: “And you mourn at last, when your flesh and body are consumed.” - Pr 5:11

3. Bacterial STDs (e.g., Chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea) are often brought on by immorality

4. Viral STDs (e.g., genital herpes, Hepatitis B, AIDS) are incurable-- Sexually transmitted diseases can eat away at your body


1. You will be filled with self-recrimination: “How I hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!” - Pr 5:12-13

2. You will not forget what your parents, teachers, preachers, and true friends told you

3. As you recall the violent affects of divorce on your spouse (and on your children who will likely suffer the worst), you will berate your stupidity! - cf. Mal 2:16 -- Your conscience can eat away at your peace of mind


1. As suggested by these words: “I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation.” - Pr 5:14

2. People do not take lightly the sin of adultery - cf. Pr 6:27-35

3. Can a person be trusted who would lie to their spouse? -- Your unfaithfulness can eat away at your reputation [Adultery destroys one’s wealth, body, soul, and reputation. Forgiveness is possible (1 Co 6:9-11), but many affects of adultery continue throughout one’s life. Much better, therefore, to take to heart...]



1. Rejoice with the wife of your youth; be enraptured by her love - Pr 5:15-19; cf. Ecc 9:9

a. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church - Ep 5:25,28

b. Wives, learn to love your husbands - Ti 2:3-4

2. Why be enraptured by an adulteress (adulterer) and seductress (seducer)? - Pr 5:20

a. One’s true character is revealed by their immorality

b. If they commit adultery with you, they are likely to commit adultery against you! -- Enraptured love is commanded, which means it can be learned (and relearned)


1. The Lord is omniscient, and sins will have their effect - Pr 5:21-23

a. He sees all - Pr 15:3

b. God will judge fornicators and adulterers - He 13:4

c. When one sins against the Lord, their sins will be exposed - Num 32:23

2. How much better to love the Lord, and be loyal to Him

a. He looks for those loyal to Him - cf. 2 Chr 16:9; Mt 22:37

b. Joseph’s devotion to God prevented him from being tempted - cf. Gen 39:7-10

c. The Lord blessed Joseph because of his faithfulness - cf. Gen 39:21; 41:50-52 -- Those who love the Lord foremost, love their spouses forever!


1. The promise of adultery is deceptive...

a. It promises pleasure

b. It really promises death and condemnation

2. The price of adultery is terrible...

a. Which too many learn by sad experience

b. Which all can avoid by heeding God’s Word

3. The prevention of adultery is possible when our love is in the right place...

a. Loving the Lord with all our heart

b. Loving our spouses with God’s blessing

Heed the wisdom of Solomon regarding “The Peril Of Adultery”, and we will not destroy our lives with misdirected affection...!

Proverbs 5:2 That you may observe discretion and your lips may reserve knowledge.

  • Pr 10:21; 15:2,7; 16:23; 20:15; Psalms 45:2; 71:15; 119:13; Song of Solomon 4:11; Malachi 2:6,7

That you may exercise proper discrimination and discretion and your lips may guard and keep knowledge and the wise answer [to temptation]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Warren Wiersbe says God did not "put the "marriage wall" around sex to rob us of pleasure but to increase pleasure and protect it. In this chapter, Solomon explains the disappointments that come when people violate God's loving laws of sexual purity.

Bridges - Man's own strength, the restraint of education or self-discipline, is powerless, as the green withes to bind the giant. (Jdg 16:9.) Engrafted wisdom is the only effectual safe-guard. This heavenly influence teaches us, both to regard discretion for the covering of our souls, and to keep knowledge for the warning of our fellow-sinners. (Pr 2:10, 11, 16; 6:20, 24; 7:1-5. Ps 17:4; 119:9, 11.) (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

Discretion (04209) (mezimmah) is used 8 times in Proverbs and 4 times is used with the meaning of discretion or prudence (Pr 1:4, 2:11, 3:21, 5:2). Note especially Pr 2:11 ("discretion will watch over you") which pictures discretion as a guard who goes with us wherever we go to protect us from danger.

That you may observe discretion - The word "that" identifies this as an introduction by Solomon to the virtuous consequence of Pr 5:1. Solomon's point is that discretion, the ability to make responsible decisions and judge critically what is correct and proper, is intimately related to giving attention to Biblical wisdom and understanding.

As Matthew Henry reminds us...

Solomon's lectures are not designed to fill our heads with notions, with matters of nice speculation, or doubtful disputation, but to guide us in the government of ourselves, that we may act prudently, so as becomes us and so as will be for our true interest.

Steven Cole in a sermon I highly recommend writes that...

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “War is a terrible thing. But if you’re going to get into it, you’ve got to get into it all the way.” That’s true in the war against lust. You won’t win by being halfway into it. But if you’ll get into the battle all the way—God’s way, using His strategy—you can win! (Beloved, if you are a man you MUST read Pastor Cole's pithy and powerful personal testimony on Winning the War Against Lust)

Your lips may reserve knowledge - The ESV says that "your lips may guard knowledge". The idea is to protect like a watchman and so to preserve the Words of Truth and Life (for they alone are the source of true knowledge) and when we speak to others we speak words that will benefit them (especially in this area of proper sexual contact).

Reserve (05341) (natsar) means to keep, tend, guard, protect, conceal, observe, preserve, be as a watchman. The main idea is holding fast to something with which you have been been entrusted - see use of natsar in Proverbs 4:23 -- Exposition (cp Ps 119:100, 115, 69). To cause to be safe from danger (Ps 40:12). A study of the things kept or guarded or protected gives insight into the meaning of this Hebrew verb.

Here are the 62 OT uses - Ex 34:7; Deut. 32:10; 33:9; 2Ki. 17:9; 18:8; Job 7:20; 27:18; Note that most of the references in Psalms speak of us choosing to obey God and His Word! - Ps 12:7; 25:10, 21; 31:23; 32:7; 34:13; 40:11; 61:7; 64:1; 78:7; 105:45; 119:2, 22, 33, 34, 56, 69, 100, 115, 129, 145; 140:1, 4; 141:3; Pr 2:8, 11; 3:1, 21; 4:6, 13, 23; 5:2; 6:20; 7:10; 13:3, 6; 16:17; 20:28; 22:12; 23:26; 24:12; 27:18; 28:7; Is 1:8; 26:3; 27:3; 42:6; 48:6; 49:6, 8; 65:4; Je 4:16; 31:6; Ezek 6:12; Nah 2:1. All uses in Proverbs...

(Prov 2:8) Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones.

(Prov 2:11) Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you,

(Prov 3:1) My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments;

(Prov 3:21) My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion,

(Prov 4:6) “Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; Love her, and she will watch over you.

(Prov 4:13) Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.

(Prov 4:23) Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

(Prov 5:2) That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge.

(Prov 6:20) My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;

(Prov 7:10) And behold, a woman comes to meet him, Dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart.

(Prov 13:3) The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

(Prov 13:6) Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, But wickedness subverts the sinner.

(Prov 16:17) The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who watches his way preserves his life.

(Prov 20:28) Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness.

(Prov 22:12) The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

(Prov 23:26) Give me your heart, my son, And let your eyes delight in my ways.

(Prov 24:12) If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?

(Prov 27:18) He who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit, And he who cares for his master will be honored.

(Prov 28:7) He who keeps the law is a discerning son, But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.

If you are in need of reassurance of Who is guarding and protecting you, take a moment and hold your pointer over the following references and be still and ponder, knowing that He is God -- Ex 34:7, Deut 32:10, Ps 12:7, 31:23, 32:7, 40:11, 64:1, 140:1, 4, Pr 2:8.


Below are a number of Scriptural strategies for fighting the war against lust and for sexual impurity. Please read the Scriptures for they are the sword the Spirit will use (Ps 119:9, 11 - see Memorizing His Word) and as we ponder the Living Word (Ps 1:2, 3-note), Christ will increase and we will decrease (Jn 3:30). All of these suggestions are predicated on the most important "step" and that is our relationship with God. If we are slipping in our time in God's Word and prayer, praise and thanksgiving, then all the "rules" in the world won't be of any value in this battle. We must continually seek first His kingdom (and His King, Jesus) and His righteousness, and He will provide for our daily needs in this daily spiritual battle.

1. Depend on God's power not your own for the Victory, learning to walk by the Spirit (1Sa 17:47 contrast with 1Sa 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Gal 5:16, 17-note, Eph 5:18-note, Php 2:12, 13-note, Ezek 36:27, Zech 4:6, Ro 8:13-note, 2Cor 12:9-note, 2Co 12:10-note)

2. Recognize and affirm that sexuality is a good gift from God. (James 1:17, Ge 2:24, 25; Pr 5:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20-notes, 1Co 7:3, 4, 5, 1Ti 4:3)

3. Recognize that God gives us prohibitions not to deny us something good but that we might experience His good and acceptable and perfect will for our lives. (Ex 20:14, 1Co 6:18, 1Co 7:2, 1Th 4:3-note)

4. Believe that God is for you in this battle and desires for us to be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus (Deut 10:12, 13, Ps 84:11, Ro 8:31, 32-note)

5. Consider and meditate on the potential temporal and eternal loss for those who make lust a lifestyle (Mt 5:27, 28, 29-note, Pr 5:4, 5, Pr 7:27-notes, Eccl 7:26, Jdg 16:18, 19, 20, 21-notes)

6. Consider the truth that there is more joy in God's presence than in the presence of sin. (Ps 16:11, Ps 73:25, 26)

7. Recognize that lust weakens our soul and we must fight against it by abstaining (1Peter 2:11-note, cp Mark 4:19)

8. Cultivate a passion for God's Word and His glory (1Pe 2:2-note, 2Sa 12:9, 10, 14 - note what David in his sin with Bathsheba despised!)

9. Develop a mental grid that views everything in relation to God. (1Co 10:31, Col 3:17-note)

10. Recognize that God designed marriage to be a picture of His commitment to His Bridegroom, the church. (Ephesians 5:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32-notes)

11. Zealously guard your eyes, turning from anything that might give a provision to your lust (Job 31:1, Ro 13:14-note, 2Ti 2:22-note, Ps 101:3, see context Ps 101:1,2, 4)

12. Think often that Christ suffered to redeem you for purity, for His possession and for His purpose. (Titus 2:14-note, 1Pe 1:18-note; 1Pe 2:24-note, 1Co 5:15)

13. Beware of pride rising up making you think that past success guarantees future victory over lust (1Cor 10:12, Gal 2:13 contrasted with Acts 11:24, 1Pe 2:11-note wages war is present tense = continually until we die!)

14. Beware of feeling above accountability. (3 John 9 Diotrephes not submissive, James 4:6, 10, 1Pe 5:6-note, 2Chr 32:36, 33:12, 19, 23, Pr 18:12, 22:4, Is 57:15)

15. Seek a band of brothers where you wage war together encouraging one another daily in regard to the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb 3:12-note, Heb 3:13-note, 2Ti 2:22-note) (See Related Discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin)

16. Memorize and meditate on many scriptures. (Ps 119:9, 11, 1:2, Josh 1:8-note, Job 23:12-note , Jer 15:16, 1Jn 2:14, Php 4:8-note)

17. Take every pernicious, prurient thought captive to Christ and replace them with good thoughts (1Cor 10:3, 4, 5, Php 4:8-note)

18. Beware of the trap that you deserve relief through gratifying your sinful flesh, remembering that every test carries with it the potential of a temptation to sin (Acts 14:22, Luke 9:58, 2Ti 2:3-note, 2Ti 4:16, 17-note)

19. Pray at all times in the Spirit for God's protection and deliverance. (Ep 6:18-note, Lk 22:40, 46, Mt 26:40, 41, 1Chr 4:10, Ps 19:13, 119:116, 117, 133, Pr 30:8, 9, Mt 6:13-note)

20. Think often that God has given you even now many good things so how could you brazenly sin against Him! (Ge 39:7,8, 9)

Can I ask you a candid question? Is the seductive, deceptive lure of some sin such as anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, sexual immorality, etc, knocking at the door of your heart, dear saint? Are you getting ready to be captured by your own iniquities, bound by the cords of your own sin (Pr 5:22)? If so, than prayerfully, meditatively, take just a few moments (3' 43") and...


Click here to listen to Steve Green's soul piercing rendition of Guard Your Heart. Dear brother (or sister), if you are "toying" (an oxymoron for this is not "child's play"!) with and making provision for an "affair" (A euphemism which is far too kind! Cp Ro 13:14-note, Gal 5:16-note; Gal 5:17-note), then take just a few moments and please listen carefully to the words of Steve's song and as you listen ponder the consequences in David's life - notice especially the last 2 verses in the following passages! (David's sin with Bathsheba and some of the consequences = 2Sa 11:1,2, 3, 4, 5, 12:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 13:1, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 22, 28, 29, 30, 31). As Steve Green rightly and passionately sings

"As a payment for pleasure it is a high price to pay "!

Remember that when sin comes in at the door of a person’s life, it eventually moves to the inner chambers and takes over.

If King David could speak to us today (and of course he is in one sense for the word is living and active, Heb 4:12-note, 1Pe 1:23-note), I have no doubt he would say that he would gladly forgo that 15-30' of pleasure he had with Bathsheba on that fateful night, if the terrible consequences of his sin could be erased. O, dear beloved brother in Christ, if you are being tempted in this area, as you read this note, know that I have prayed for you that the Spirit would quicken your heart, renew your mind and empower your will to turn around and away from the potential devastation you are about to enter into to because of the deceitfulness (Heb 3:13-note)(See Related Discussion: The Deceitfulness of Sin) of this pleasurable (Heb 11:25-note) but tragic sin of porneia. Guard your heart --- for your God, for your wife and children, for your reputation, for the Lord's reputation, and remember that one day we will all stand before the Lord of Glory and give account for the deeds in the body (for believers at 2Cor 5:10 or unbelievers at Rev 20:11, 12, 13, 14, 15). See a related topic - Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage

George Lawson - THE wise man gives us this chapter, as an antidote against those youthful lusts by which so many are ensnared. Let such as are tempted by their own hearts, or by the agents of Satan, to sins of uncleanness, seriously consider its contents, and pray that God may bless them for their benefit. None of us are superior to all temptations of this nature; let us therefore give heed to the things that are spoken, in order to represent the danger and mischief of impurity, and to show us in what manner to avoid it.

Proverbs 5:1, 2. The wisdom which Solomon teaches in this chapter cost him dear; but if we attend to his instructions, we shall have them at an easy rate. It may save us much bitter repentance, and preserve us from some of the most dreadful dangers; for it will teach us that spiritual subtilty and discretion, by which, like David, we shall become wiser than our enemies, and be enabled to escape their snares.

Attention will enable us to keep knowledge in our hearts, for a wanton imagination, ever dictating corrupt conversation to the lips, proves the beginning of ruin to many of the sons of men. They accustom themselves to speak of things not fit to be named among Christians; and from foolish talking, and impure jesting, by which they corrupt themselves and their companions, they proceed to the works of darkness.

When the word of God enters into our hearts, it will banish all pollution from the tongue, and dispose us to entertain our companions with that discourse which is good for the use of edifying. Thus our own hearts will be more deeply impressed, God will be honored, and other men guarded against the snares of the destroyer.

Now it is of great importance for men, especially in their younger days, to furnish themselves with preservatives, from that word which is able to keep us, against the snares of the strange woman (Ed: See a sampling of the prayers in Psalms - this should tell us how great is our need when a godly man like David is inspired to repeatedly pray this way! Ps 25:15b, Ps 119:10b [not sure this was written by David], Ps 141:4, Ps 19:13). Solomon had already warned us against her; but he is directed by God to do it a second time at greater length. (George Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech;

  • Pr 2:16; 6:24; 7:21; Revelation 17:2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Ps 55:21

For - Always pause and ponder this strategic term of explanation - Ask (and attempt to answer) at least one simple question - "What is the writer explaining?" Remember that when you find a "for" at the beginning of a verse, it is usually (not 100% - check the context = Keep Context King) a term of explanation. In Proverbs 5-7 there a several "for's" for you to pause and ponder. (Pr 5:3, 20, 21, Pr 6:23, 26, 34, Pr 7:6, 19, 26). As an aside there are over 9000 occurrences of for in the NASB, which should give you many opportunities to practice (and make "perfect") the discipline of interrogating the Biblical text (See interrogate with the 5W/H questions).

Kenneth T. Aitken - There is an old saying, 'Honey is sweet, but the bee stings'; and this lady has a sting in her tail. (Proverbs)

The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery writes that "The Bible’s most graphic teachings against adultery come in Proverbs 5:1-23 and Pr 6:20ff, Pr 1-7:27, where images of injury, entrapment and death are used to underline the dangers and the sheer folly of adultery: “Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife” (Pr 6:28, 29 NIV). “He followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose.... Her house is a highway to the grave” (Pr 7:22, 27 NIV). Adultery in the wisdom literature comes to picture hidden deeds, which are done in secret because the perpetrator senses they are wrong, and which inevitably are found out: “The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk; he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’ and he keeps his face concealed” (Job 24:15 NIV).

Drip honey...smoother than oil - See note on the value of observing and accurately interpreting terms of comparison = metaphors. See also Guidelines for Figuring our Figurative Language

Matthew Henry introduces Solomon's strong cautions against sexual improprieties "The caution itself, and that is to abstain from fleshly lusts, from adultery, fornication, and all uncleanness. Some apply this figuratively, and by the adulterous woman here understand idolatry, or false doctrine, which tends to debauch men's minds and manners, or the sensual appetite, to which it may as fitly as any thing be applied; but the primary scope of it is plainly to warn us against seventh-commandment sins, which youth is so prone to, the temptations to which are so violent, the examples of which are so many, and which, where admitted, are so destructive to all the seeds of virtue in the soul that it is not strange that Solomon's cautions against it are so very pressing and so often repeated (cp Pr 5:1,2, 5:7, 8, 6:20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 7:1, 2, 3, 4, 24, 25). Solomon here, as a faithful watchman, gives fair warning to all, as they regard their lives and comforts, to dread this sin, for it will certainly be their ruin.

Observe carefully that this woman's number one "weapon" is not necessarily her beauty but her speech (cp Ge 39:10, Pr 2:16, 22:14, Jdg 16:16, 17, 18, 19, 20-note)! The message for men seeking to be godly (1Ti 4:7, 8 ,9, 10, 11, 12-notes) is that we have to use great discretion when as a men we speak with women other than our wives, specifically when the topic is "personal". Be careful! We have to guard against being counselors to other women (give that job to your wife). We have to refuse to hear negative comments or complaints about their husbands or their lack of happiness with their marriage. As 1Cor 6:18 says we should "flee" these situations. They harbor the potential for the beginnings of a crack in the damn of fidelity we cherish in our marital bond. There are now many women in business, and this is a setting in which the man made wise by Proverbs 5-7 would indeed be wise to exert special precautions. And obviously this applies to business trips that one must take with a woman business associate. Be very careful and remember that God never allows us to be tempted beyond what we are able to endure but with the temptation He is faithful to supply for us not "a" way of escape, but "the" way, the specific way, one which we should be alert to perceive, lest we miss the divine provision and begin a downward journey that can only end in a veritable sexual abyss! To reiterate, be careful in your communication with the opposite sex young men, husbands, fathers, old men!

The lips...speech - Solomon first warns us not to listen to the charms of the sin of sexual immorality, for the pleasures promised by the lust of the flesh in this area are very powerful and very tempting. Even as honey was the sweetest substance known in Israel, so could be the sensual, seductive words of a woman on the prowl! He says her persuasions are so good that they entice him (see Pr 7:21). Although Solomon does not say specifically "Don't listen to her", the command is clearly implied.

Adulteress (ESV = forbidden woman, Amp = Loose woman, NKJV = immoral woman) (02114) (zur) is a Hebrew verb which means to be a stranger (from literal meaning of to turn aside as for lodging, but also can mean to go astray). Although some see this as indicative only of a prostitute who hires out her body for sexual favors, others are more general and see it as including for example another man's wife. The Septuagint translates it with two Greek words that describe literally a "low grade, morally base and substandard, worthless woman"!

TWOT writes that the verb zur "is principally used in the participial form, zār, appearing sixty-nine times. It carries the force of a noun, and is so listed by KB. It is used for some action strange to the law (Lev 10:1), and for one who is a stranger to another household (Deut 25:5), to another person (Pr 14:10), and to another land (Ho 7:9). The basic thought is of non-acquaintance or non-relatedness. The feminine form, “The Strange Woman,” often in Prov is the adulteress. (Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Moody Press)

Here are the uses of zur in Proverbs - Pr. 2:16; 5:3, 10, 17, 20; 6:1; 7:5; 11:15; 14:10; 20:16; 22:14; 23:33; 27:2, 13

Drip honey - The initial encounter seems quite pleasant and desirable, but as Solomon describes in this section sexual sin is attractive in prospect (cp Heb 11:25) but hideous in retrospect. This metaphor gives the picture of a seductive, tempting woman.

The allure of a tryst (secret appointment, a private, romantic rendezvous between lovers, who if unfaithful is a rendezvous of two sinners!) may seem "sweet" but the ugly end will inevitably come as Solomon explains.

Smoother (02509) (chalaq -- see discussion of the root verb chalaq - 02505 also in the context of sexual immorality) is an adjective is used to describe the smooth skin of Jacob as opposed to hairy Esau (Ge 27:11), and the smooth stones in a wadi (Is 57:6). Chalaq is used figuratively by Solomon to describe the mouth of the flatterer (here in Pr 5:3; cp Pr 26:28). Chalaq is used 5 times in the OT - Ge 27:11; Pr. 5:3; 26:28; Is 57:6; Ezek 12:24.

Smoother than oil is her speech - The NET says "her seductive words are smoother than olive oil." She flatters with smooth alluring words that excite the man’s lustful desires.

Bridges - The extreme plausibility of the temptation is our call to attention. The deluded victim only sees the present gratification; only tastes, or expects to taste, the honeycomb; only hears the wily smoothness of the charmer’s voice. (Pr 2:16; 6:24; 7:21.) (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

George Lawson - Pr 5:3. She talks of nothing but love, and pleasure, and perpetual delights. To hear her, one would suppose that she possessed the most generous and disinterested spirit. Her tongue is taught by him who betrayed Eve to paint the vilest sin with the most beautiful colours, and to conceal all its deformity and danger; but it is the part of a reasonable creature to look beyond the present moment, and to consider the end of things, as well as their beginning. There is sweetness indeed in the mouth of this strange woman (George Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

  • Pr 6:24-35; 7:22,23; 9:18; 23:27,28; Eccl 7:26; Heb 12:15,16
  • Judges 16:4, 5, 6,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; Ps 55:21; Hebrews 4:12

But - (See notes on value of observing and interrogating terms of contrast) Bitter and sharp present a striking contrast with honey and smooth...oil (Pr 5:3)! Here's the point in the context of sexual temptations - the payoff of passing pleasure is bitter and painful! Do not keep being deceived by the siren song of this present evil (and growing daily more so) age that you can taste a bit of forbidden (stolen) honey and get away with it. This is a lie straight from the father of lies (Jn 8:44), who seeks to cloak his "product" in the "skin" of relative values (no absolutes or constraints re sexual behavior) so that the unwary, naive or foolish bite into this "apple of deception" (cp Satan's schemes - Rev 12:9, 10, 2Co 11:3) and in the end are devoured and destroyed (cp 1Pe 5:8, Job 1:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, Job 2:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; King David - 2Sa 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15!)

Bridges - But never is the beginning so sweet, as the end is bitter. God shows the wormwood; the two-edged sword (Ps 55:21) (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

Bitter as Wormwood - See note on the value of observing and accurately interpreting terms of comparison = metaphors and similes. See also Guidelines for Figuring our Figurative Language

Wormwood is a plant from which a bitter-tasting juice is made and used as a medicine. In short, what at first appears pleasant like honey ends up like a bitter tasting medicine. You can mark it down that sexual temptation, like many other forms of enticement, is thoroughly deceptive in nature for it is never in reality (and consequence) what it appears to be at the outset. As King David and Samson found out, Sexual temptation, represented by the adulteress, promises one thing yet delivers quite another. The painful consequences of the violation of God’s will are lost in the excitement of the moment. However, the reality of judgment, and even death, is just around the corner for those who give in to her seductive voice.

A two edged sword (literally sword of edges) - This phrase pictures sexual impropriety as causing wounds and pain.

Matthew Henry writes "that fruit will the sinner have of his honey and oil when the end will be (1) the terrors of the conscience: It is bitter as wormwood. What was luscious in the mouth rises in the stomach and turns sour there; it cuts, in the reflection, like a two-edged sword; take it which way you will, it wounds. Solomon could speak by experience, Ecclesiastes 7:26. (2) The torments of hell. If some that have been guilty of this sin have repented and been saved, yet the direct tendency of the sin is to destruction of body and soul; the feet of it go down to death, nay, they take hold on hell, to pull it to the sinner, as if the damnations slumbered too long, Pr 5:5. Those that are entangled in this sin should be reminded that there is but a step between them and hell, and that they are ready to drop into it.

As William MacDonald reminds us "The price of going to bed with her is enormous—guilty conscience, remorse, scandal, venereal disease, wrecked marriage, broken home, mental disturbance, and a host of other ills. (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

George Lawson - Pr 5:4. The venom and sting of a serpent is concealed under the honey of her lips. Those who repent of their uncleanness will experience far more bitterness than ever they tasted pleasure, in their unlawful gratifications. But few get so well off, and if persons continue hardened, the end is more bitter than death. It is like a sharp two-edged sword, which wounds and destroys both soul and body at once. (Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:5 Her feet go down to death, Her steps take hold of Sheol.

  • Pr 2:18,19; 7:27

Earlier Solomon had described the strange woman and the adulteress that left her husband and their covenant of marriage, warning that...

her house sinks down to death, and her tracks lead to the dead. None who go to her return again, Nor do they reach the paths of life. (Pr 2:18, 19)

And in chapter 7 Solomon again emphasizes that...

Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death. (Pr 7:27)

Bridges - her path of death; every step taking hold of hell, as if invading it with a high hand, grasping it as her home. (Pr 2:18, 7:27, 9:18, 1Cor 6:9, 18, Rev 21:8) (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

Feet go down to death...Sheol - Solomon's strong warning is that the morally loose woman will lead her unwitting (foolish) male consort straight to the place of the dead! (See dictionary discussion of Sheol which is a noun meaning the world of the dead, the realm under the earth in which the dead reside. Vine calls Sheol "the netherworld or the underground cavern to which all buried dead go")

Warren Wiersbe makes an excellent point that "The book of Proverbs emphasizes the importance of looking ahead to see where your actions will lead you (see Pr 5:11; 14:12, 13, 14; 16:25; 19:20; 20:21; 23:17, 18, 32; 24:14, 20; 25:8 - see these verses below). The wise person checks on the destination before buying a ticket (Pr 4:26), but modern society thinks that people can violate God's laws and escape the consequences. They're sure that whatever has happened to others will never happen to them. Sad to say, their ignorance and insolence can never neutralize the tragic aftermath that comes when people break the laws of God. "Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deut 32:29, cp Nu 32:33)

(Prov 5:11) And you groan at your final end, When your flesh and your body are consumed;

(Prov 14:12) There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

(Prov 14:13) Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.

(Prov 14:14) The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied with his.

(Prov 16:25) There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

(Prov 19:20) Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.

(Prov 20:21) An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning Will not be blessed in the end.

(Prov 23:17) Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the LORD always.

(Prov 23:18) Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off.

(Prov 23:32) At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.

(Prov 24:14) Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off.

(Prov 24:20) For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

(Prov 25:8) Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end, When your neighbor humiliates you?

David Watson writes that "The expression 'free love' is a contradiction in terms. If it's free, it's not love; if it's love, it's not free. (Ed: The end of the deadly deception of "free love" is death! See James 1:15, 16- note)

George Lawson - Pr 5:5. She is on the highway to eternal ruin, and thither she is carrying those that listen to her bewitching voice. Her house is in the suburbs of the place of destruction, and her steps take hold of hell. David was in great fear when he said to his friend, “As the Lord liveth, there is but a step between me and death.” But there is not even this small interval between the steps of the strange woman and hell. They already take hold of it. But may not persons, when they see this danger before their eyes, make a timely retreat to the paths of life? No. In must cases this is not to be expected. (Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:6 She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it.

  • Ponder - Pr 4:26; Psalms 119:59
  • Path - Pr 11:19; Psalms 16:11
  • Her ways - Pr 6:12,13; 7:10-21; 2Th 2:9,10

For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn't realize it. (NLT - Tyndale House)

The high road of Life is not for her, shifty and slippery are her tracks. (Moffatt).

She loses sight of and walks not in the path of life; her ways wind about aimlessly, and you cannot know them. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Bridges - One feature of the tempter’s wiliness is most remarkable. She winds herself in a thousand moveable ways, to meet the varying humors and circumstances (Pr 6:12, 13, 7:12). She works upon every weakness; seizes every unguarded moment—all this with one deeply hidden object—lest thou should ponder the path of life. The checks of conscience must be diverted. No time must be given for reflection. The intrusion of one serious thought might break the spell, and open the way of escape. (Ps 119:59, Ezek 18:28, Lk 15:17) (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

She does not ponder the path of life - If she did, surely she would avoid the stairway to death and hades!

Ponder (06424) (palac) means to weigh out, to make level, to calculate the weight of something. Here palac is used figuratively of "weighing out" the value of pursuing righteousness on the path of life. Such a lifestyle does not interest the adulteress. Her attitude is "Life is short. Grab all the gusto you can while you can!" In not walking in God's prescribed path of life (life to the full as God intended), she completely misses the real purpose of life, true pleasure forevermore and fullness of joy found only in His presence (see Ps 16:11 - Spurgeon's note). There are 6 uses in the OT - Ps. 58:2; 78:50; Pr 4:26; 5:6, 21; Is 26:7.

The adulteress does the exact opposite that wisdom commands...

Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of your feet; then (when?) all your ways will be sure. (ESV) (Ed: Proverbs are not necessarily promises, but nevertheless are generally true statements. Here we see a condition coupled with a true statement that has the ring of a "promise".)

Unstable (KJV - moveable, ESV - her ways wander) (05128) (nuac) is a verb which conveys the picture of a repetitive movement (cp 1Sa 1:13 Hannah's lips), to and fro, and thus literally means to shake (eg, out of fear, Ex 20:18), stagger or to wander. There are 36 uses of nuac in the OT - Ge 4:12, 14; Ex 20:18; Nu 32:13; Jdg. 9:9, 11, 13; 1Sa 1:13; 2Sa 15:20; 2Ki 19:21; 23:18; Job 16:4; 28:4; Ps 22:7; 59:11, 15; 107:27; 109:10, 25; Pr 5:6; Is 6:4; 7:2; 19:1; 24:20; 29:9; 37:22; Je 14:10; Lam. 2:15; 4:14, 15; Da 10:10; Amos 4:8; 8:12; 9:9; Nah. 3:12; Zeph. 2:15.

Matthew Henry has an interesting insight on her ways are unstable writing that "Her ways are movable, that thou canst not know them; she often changes her disguise, and puts on a great variety of false colours, because, if she be rightly known, she is certainly hated. Proteus-like, she puts on many shapes, that she may keep in with those whom she has a design upon. And what does she aim at with all this art and management? Nothing but to keep them from pondering the path of life, for she knows that, if they once come to do that, she shall certainly lose them.

She does not know it - One of the greatest traps and tragedies of one who is deceived by their own lust (James 1:14) is that they are not even aware of the deadly self deception (cp 2Ti 3:13, of sin = Heb 3:13). The "other woman" may appear beautiful and desirable person, but her life is empty and void of any spiritual vitality. She does not ponder the path of life or seriously consider the consequences of her actions. Sadly, she does not love God and is destined for destruction though she does not know it. The warning is that those who pursue her are likewise on the pathway of judgment and death. Solomon is saying in essence, don't walk down her path and destroy your health, your family, your finances, your eternal destiny (either in loss of rewards if you are genuinely saved or loss of your soul in the lake of fire [Re 19:20, 20:10, 14, 15] [References or here] which burns forever and ever if you are not genuinely saved!). As discussed more fully below, sin in general and sexual sin in particular is is always a costly thing: you can lose your reputation (Pr 5:9), your possessions (Pr 5:10), your health (Pr 5:11), and your very life (Pr 5:22, 23). The “cords of sins” bind slowly, but they bind surely, until one day the sinner discovers escape is impossible.

George Lawson - Pr 5:6. When men enter into a course of sin, they have no intention to be damned. They intend only to indulge themselves in the pleasures of sin for a time, and then to return to the paths of life. Millions of souls have been seduced to everlasting destruction by this one temptation of the old serpent,—“Ye shall not die although you eat; grace is free, and there is abundance of time to repent.” The wise man gives what may repel this temptation, by letting us know how foolish it is for men to flatter themselves with the hope, that they shall be truly disposed and enabled to repent of their sin.

“Her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” She can form her mode of behaviour into a hundred different shapes, to entangle the heart of the lover. She spreads a thousand snares, and if you escape one of them, you will find yourself held fast by another. She knows well how to suit her words and behaviour to your present humour, to lull conscience asleep, and to spread before your eyes such a mist, as shall prevent you from being able to descry the paths of life. If you ever think of the danger of your course, and feel the necessity of changing it, she will urge you to spend a little time longer in the pleasures of sin. If her solicitations prevail, if you linger within the precincts of guilt, your resolutions are weakened, and your passions gain new strength. What is the awful result? The devil obtains more influence; conscience; forcibly repressed, ceases to reclaim with so loud a voice; God gives you up to the lusts of your own heart, and leaves you to chuse your own delusions. Attend, then, to the wisest of men, who instructs you to keep free of these dangerous temptations. (Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")


Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily - On Pr 5:6, 21 - It is a remarkable expression, “the level path of life”; and there is great comfort in knowing that God is ever before us, leveling our pathway, taking insurmountable obstacles out of the way, so that our feet do not stumble.

It may be that you are facing a great mountain range of difficulty. Before you, obstacles, apparently insuperable, rear themselves like a giant wall to heaven. When you cross the Jordan there is always a Jericho which appears to bar all further advance, and your heart fails. But you are bidden to believe that there is a level path right through those mighty barriers; a pass, as it is called, in mountainous districts. The walking there is easy and pleasant if only you will let yourself be led to it. God has made it, but you must take it. How we dread the thought of those steep cliffs! It seems as though we could never climb them; but if we would only look at the Lord instead of at the hills, if we would look above the hills to Jehovah, we should be able to rest in sure faith that He will show us the level path of life.

Your path is not level, but full of boulders which have rolled down upon and choked it. But may this not be partly due to your mistakes or sins-to your willfulness and self-dependence? There are sorrows and trials in all lives; but these need not obstruct our progress. The text surely refers to those difficulties which threaten us with their arrest, putting barriers in our way. When Peter reached the iron gate he found it open; when the women reached the sepulchre door they found the stone gone. What an awful indictment against the child of sensual pleasure, “She findeth not the level path of life!”

Proverbs 5:7 Now then, my sons, listen to me and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

  • Listen - Pr 4:1; 8:32, 33, 34, 35, 36; 22:17, 18, 19, 20, 21; Hebrews 12:25
  • Do not depart - Pr 3:21; 4:21


In this and the following verse Solomon gives the reader a series of solemn warnings, two of which are overt commands - listen, do not depart, keep, do not go near.

Bridges - Can we wonder then at the earnestness of parental anxiety, forcing back the children playing on the brink of a precipice. Hear now—O ye children? We mean no austere restraint upon youthful pleasures. Only avoid the tempter’s touch—her word—even her look. (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

Now then - Because of the background Solomon has just presented regarding the deceptive snares and torrid temptations in the area of sexual immorality and its certain harvest of fruit which is rotten to the core (Pr 5:3, 4, 5). Instead of listening to the honey coated lips of the adulteress, the wise son will listen to Solomon's warnings. Matthew Henry paraphrases Solomon's words...

"Hear me now therefore, O you children! whoever you are that read or hear these lines, take notice of what I say, and mix faith with it, treasure it up, and depart not from the words of my mouth, as those will do that hearken to the words of the strange woman. Do not only receive what I say, for the present merely, but cleave to it, and let it be ready to thee, and of force with thee, when thou art most violently assaulted by the temptation."

Depart (05493) (sur) means to turn aside, to desert, to quit, to keep far away, to stop, to take away (literally as Moses turned aside in Ex 3:3, 4). Here sur is used in a figurative sense, to describe turning away from the wise, instructive, discretion producing warnings of Solomon regarding sexual impropriety.

Matthew Henry comments....

This caution is introduced with a solemn preface: "Hear me now therefore, O you children! whoever you are that read or hear these lines, take notice of what I say, and mix faith with it, treasure it up, and depart not from the words of my mouth, as those will do that hearken to the words of the strange woman. Do not only receive what I say, for the present merely, but cleave to it, and let it be ready to thee, and of force with thee, when thou art most violently assaulted by the temptation."

(2.) The caution itself is very pressing: "Remove thy way far from her; if thy way should happen to lie near her, and thou shouldst have a fair pretence of being led by business within the reach of her charms, yet change thy way, and alter the course of it, rather than expose thyself to danger; come not nigh the door of her house; go on the other side of the street, nay, go through some other street, though it be about." This intimates,

[1.] That we ought to have a very great dread and detestation of the sin. We must fear it as we would a place infected with the plague; we must loathe it as the odour of carrion, that we will not come near. Then we are likely to preserve our purity when we conceive a rooted antipathy to all fleshly lusts.

[2.] That we ought industriously to avoid every thing that may be an occasion of this sin or a step towards it. Those that would be kept from harm must keep out of harm's way. Such tinder there is in the corrupt nature that it is madness, upon any pretence whatsoever, to come near the sparks. If we thrust ourselves into temptation, we mocked God when we prayed, Lead us not into temptation.

[3.] That we ought to be jealous over ourselves with a godly jealousy, and not to be so confident of the strength of our own resolutions as to venture upon the brink of sin, with a promise to ourselves that hitherto we will come and no further.

[4.] That whatever has become a snare to us and an occasion of sin, though it be as a right eye and a right hand, we must pluck it out, cut it off, and cast it from us, must part with that which is dearest to us rather than hazard our own souls; this is our Saviour's command, Matthew 5:28, 29, 30.

George Lawson - Pr 5:7. If a father saw his son walking on the edge of a precipice, how greatly would he be alarmed! how loud would be his cries! And if the adventurous youth Still kept his dangerous post, he would fly to him, and try to force him from the brink of destruction. No less earnest is this kind instructor to save us from impending ruin. His words are cries; they have life and power in them. He is deaf who will not attend; he is stubborn who will not comply. (Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:8 Keep your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house,

  • Pr 4:15; 6:27,28; Mt 6:13; Ep 5:11

Let your way in life be far from her, and come not near the door of her house [avoid the very scenes of temptation], (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Take a moment to watch and listen to the well done 5'26'' video of the rock song "Slow Fade" that deals with the issue adultery. As you read through Solomon's "Men's Manual for A Healthy Marriage" in Proverbs 5-7 you will note that this song picks up a number of his themes...


Slow Fade — by Casting Crowns — (Play)

Be careful little eyes what you see

It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings

Be careful little feet where you go

For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear

When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near

Be careful little lips what you say

For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands

Is shorter than you're thinking

Be careful if you think you stand

You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

Daddies never crumble in a day

Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above is looking down in love

Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Bridges - Remove thy way far from her. Not only go not into her—but—such is the contagion—come not near the door. (Pr 4:14, 15, 6:27, 28) To thrust ourselves into temptation, is to throw ourselves out of God’s protection. The snare as one approaches becomes more enticing. The voice of wisdom therefore is—"Flee youthful lusts." (2Ti 2:22) The loss of honor (Pr 6:32, 33, Ge 38:23-26), taking the crown from the victim’s head (2Sa 12:14; 13:13, Neh 13:26); years given to the cruel mockers of his misery (Pr 6:26, 30:3, Jdg 16:18-20); the waste of the family wealth; (Pr 6:26, 35, Job 31:12, Hos 7:9, Lk 15:13, 30) servitude in a stranger’s house (Lk 15:15-16); consumption—slowly bringing the body to the grave (1Cor 6:18)—all is the bitter fruit of the neglected warning. Add to this the voice of conscience at the last, telling of slighted privileges, stifled convictions, abused knowledge. And will not this be the sting of thousands instructed in our schools, or the children of godly parents—now despising the reproofs of God, and the voice of these teachers, proclaiming their shame openly; perhaps making Christian assemblies the scenes of almost all evil? (Nu 25:6, Ezek 8:5-16) (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

Solomon makes it clear that the best way to avoid the temptation of sexual immorality is to avoid the company of a temptress ("Don't surf that web!" "Don't click that mouse!") (cf. Ge 39:10; 2Ti 2:22-note ; Mt 5:28-29-note).

Keep your way far from her - This command (Hiphil imperative = not a suggestion) could not be much clearer beloved! Stay away from the adulteress, as far away as you can! Temptation (James 1:14) is by its nature so powerfully tempting that one must stay as far removed from it as possible. Don't be deceived by thinking that you can knowingly walk into a tempting situation and "handle it" (1Co 10:12) or can then ask God to deliver you. To do so is presumptuous and is in fact testing the Lord. Do not test the Lord! Practically speaking the practical application of this verse may call for some difficult decisions. For example, if you are working in an office where you are continuously tempted, you may have to give prayerful consideration to even changing jobs. I know a man who not only changed jobs but changed cities because he realized it was going to cost him his family, his reputation and his life! Now that is wisdom put into practice!

D. G. Kehl rightly says that immorality is never a sudden fall but can be traced to prior thoughts and decisions (some of which we might have deceptively thought were harmless)...

We do not fall in a moment; the predisposition to yield to sin has been forming, building, germinating—but not necessarily consciously so. Sin has both a cumulative and a domino effect. Satan plants subtle stimuli, often subliminal ones; he influences an attitude; he wins a "minor" victory—always in preparation for the "big" fall, the iron-bound habit. (D. J. Kehl, "Sneaky Stimuli and How to Resist Them," Christianity Today, Jan. 31, 1975)


Comment: One take home point from Kehl's comment is that we need to be very careful as men regarding our thought life. Remember, a "secret thought life" is not secret, for God knows. Furthermore, it is not harmless, because evil actions always proceed from evil thoughts. We may deceptively think, we can look and lust and as long as we don't touch, we are just fine, forgetting all the while that lust corrupts and sin kills. That is the lie of the Devil, the snare of our flesh and the lure of the evil world system. We cannot prevent the thoughts from coming into our mind. However we are not helpless. We need to learn the discipline of taking these thoughts captive before they "inseminate" and sin is brought forth and then death (see 2Co 10:5-note, Jas 1:14, 15-note). As In Martin Luther's said "You can't keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair."

Sow a thought, reap an action.
Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny

Keep (07368) (rahaq) conveys the primary meaning (in the Qal stem) of a person being positioned “far” from someone or something. Here Solomon paints a clear picture charging his son to put some distance between his senses and the sensual signals of a seductive siren!

The Greek translation, the Septuagint (LXX), is even more emphatic, with the first word being "far away" or "far off" (makran) which describes something or someone being at a relatively great distance from something or someone! Literally the Septuagint reads something like this - "Far away keep (aorist imperative = a command to not hesitate. This is urgent!) from (apo = marker of dissociation) her" so that this is not a suggestion but a command and has two words (makran = far away and apo = dissociation) that speak of putting (or keeping) distance between a man and the potential adulteress! It reminds one of God's will for us as expressed by Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians and specifically the picture of "putting some distance between us and porneia...

For this is the will of God, your sanctification (word study); that is, that you abstain (more literally apechomai means to To hold oneself [middle voice conveys this reflexive intent = you initiate this action & participate in the results thereof] away from) from sexual immorality (word study on porneia; English = pornography) (see note 1Th 4:3)

Comment: Paul's point amplifies that of Solomon -- A key step on the highway of holiness (cp Is 35:8) is abstinence from any and all sexual impropriety! Not only are young men (cp 2Ti 2:22-note; and old men! -- the expression "dirty old man"!) to stay far from a physical encounter with an adulteress, but also to stay far away from all sensual images of such seductive women (cp Ep 5:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 -notes; 1Th 5:22-note), whether this means not going to PG-13 movies (which in the 21st century have devolved to the base level of now routinely depicting relatively graphic sexual images or suggestive language heavily laden with sexual innuendo), not looking at the covers of the magazines placed near every grocery checkout stand (don't say this is going too far - read Jesus' serious warnings again - Mt 5:28, 29, 30 - see notes), not looking at sensual billboards as you are driving home, not looking at improperly dressed young ladies at church [keep your eyes straight ahead and do not let allow your glance to turn into a gaze, for the gaze will inevitably lead to a lustful thought - don't even go there!], not ogling the Victoria Secret commercials that come on even in prime, family time television (or when the camera pans to the sidelines, don't let your eyes fix on the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, whose outfits are far removed from the acceptable guidelines of Phil 4:8-note, cp Ps 101:3), not staying up late at night and secretly peeking (cp Pr 5:21, 15:3!) at scantily clad adulteresses on the internet (if you are addicted, then [1] confess it to God [1Jn 1:9] and then to a man you consider godly and who would be willing to hold you accountable [remember - Nu 32:23, Pr 28:13] and [2] get Covenant Eyes, which is not a filter, but a "monitor" which tracks and "grades" every site you visit and sends a report to your accountability partner. If you attempt to remove it from your computer, an email is sent immediately to your accountability partner and [3] learn to walk by the Spirit [Gal 5:16-note; Ro 8:13-note; Eph 5:18-note; 2Cor 10:3, 4, 5-note] and as you do you will be empowered to not carry out the desires of your flesh to gratify this addiction.) Let Proverbs 5:21, 22 [notes] motivate you to begin this liberating journey today, for as Jesus said "When the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed" [Jn 8:36]. In other words, although the enemy of your soul accuses you and says you can never be free, God's only Son states emphatically and dogmatically that you can be free indeed.

Do not go near - In case we missed Solomon's command, he rephrases the warning. Unfortunately, the naive youth did just the opposite (Pr 7:8, 9, 10). Why? Because he did not listen to the truth, but instead turned aside from truth and turned to deadly deception and lies (every deception has an element of a lie).

Matthew Henry - Such tinder (Ed: Something very inflammable used for kindling fire from just a spark!) there is in the corrupt nature (Ed: flesh -- the evil disposition - still present even in believers and forever incorrigible!) that it is madness, upon any pretence whatsoever, to come near the sparks. If we thrust ourselves into temptation, we mocked God when we prayed, Lead us not into temptation (Mt 6:13 - see explanation).

As Thomas Watson said "A wandering heart needs a watchful eye. (Ed: And a wandering heart will inevitably lead to wandering feet! cp warnings Pr 1:15, 7:7, 8, 9) Reminds me of "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten (Hebrew verb for glue! Also used to translate "joined" in Ge 2:24) its grip on me." (Ps 101:3)


Watch (command in Lxx in present tense = only possible as we yield daily,continually to the control of the Holy Spirit!) over your heart with all diligence, (why is vigilance so critical?) for from it flow the springs of life. (Pr 4:23-Proverbs 4:23 Exposition)

Compare Solomon's words in Proverbs 2...

10 For wisdom (Pr 5:1, 7:4) will enter your heart and knowledge (Pr 5:2) will be pleasant to your soul;

11 Discretion (Pr 5:2) will guard you, understanding (Pr 7:4) will watch over you (Pr 6:22), (What is the purpose of wisdom, knowledge and discretion? Deliverance from the clutches of sin!)

12 To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things;

13 From those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness;

14 Who delight in doing evil and rejoice in the perversity of evil;

15 Whose paths are crooked, And who are devious in their ways;

16 To deliver you from the strange woman, from the adulteress who flatters with her words;

17 That leaves the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;

18 For her house sinks down to death and her tracks lead to the dead; (Pr 5:5, 23, 6:27, 7:23, 26, 27)

19 None who go to her return again, nor do they reach the paths of life.


Do not go near - Don't even go near to the threshold of the house of an adulteress. Or as some might say "Don't even pass near the shadow of her house!" In the next verse Solomon explains why we should be motivated to hear and heed his warnings.

Wiersbe comments that "Temptation always includes hopeful promises; otherwise, people would never take the devil's bait. For a time, it seems like these promises have been fulfilled, and sinners bask in the sunshine of pleasant experiences and false assurances. This is what family counselor J. Allan Petersen calls, "the myth of the greener grass." [from The Myth of the Greener Grass, by J. Allan Petersen (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1983), is one of the best books from a biblical point of view on understanding and preventing extramarital affairs and healing marriages that have been violated by them. As every pastor knows, more of this kind of sin goes on in local churches than we dare openly admit.] People who commit sexual sins think their problems are solved ("She understands me so much better than my wife does!") and that life will get better and better. But disobedience to God's laws always brings sad consequences and sinners eventually pay dearly for their brief moments of pleasure.

George Lawson - Pr 5:8. But what need is there for so much preciseness? May not a man be permitted to talk with her, merely by way of amusement? Is it unlawful to drink a glass in her house, and to satisfy our curiosity by observing what passes in it, and by what arts she contrives to seduce those who are less established in virtue than ourselves? Yes; it is unlawful to have the least correspondence with her. By the requirements of the ceremonial law, no man was to be in the same house with a leper. The moral law forbids us to enter into a house full of the leprosy of sin. Her house is full of snares, and her hands are as bands (that which binds or confines!). The devil glances in her smiles, and lurks in her dress and in her motions. He is there, ready to discharge at you his fiery darts of temptation (Eph 6:16, cf Ge 4:5-7); and to aid his efforts, you have much combustible matter about you. Dare you then promise yourself that the fire of licentious passion shall not be kindled, and blown up into a flame that you cannot quench (James 1:15-17). The devil will tempt you enough without your own help. To tempt is his business. As you love your life and your own soul, give him no assistance in the work of destruction. (Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:9 Or you will give your vigor to others and your years to the cruel one;

  • Pr 6:29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35; Ge 38:23, 24, 25, 26; Jdg 16:19, 20, 21; Neh 13:26; Ho 4:13,14

The Amplified renders it = Pr 5:9 Lest you give your honor (ESV) to others and your years to those without mercy.

Bridges - (Pr 5:9-14) Such is the picture of sin—its "pleasure but for a season," "its wages death eternal." (Heb 11:25, Ro 6:23) Every sin unrepented here will bring its perpetual torment in eternity. Impenitence does not put away its sorrow. It only delays it to mourn at the last, when mercy shall have fled away forever (Pr 1:24-30), and nothing will remain, but the piercing cry of the accusing conscience—"Son! remember." (Lk 16:25) There are no infidels in eternity, and but few on a death-bed. Sinner—the path of life is now open to thee. Ponder it anxiously—prayerfully. The light of the word, and the teaching of the Spirit guide thee to it. (Proverbs 5 Exposition)

What happens if you go near the fires of temptation (the door of her house)? Solomon says it will cost you vigor in your life and take years off your life.

Vigor (01935) (hod) means splendor, majesty, dignity or vigor. These meanings lead to different translations of the one who fails to heed the warning, one translation stating that this person will lose honor, reputation and respect (certainly true in the evangelical community when a pastor falls) or that one gives away his active strength of body and mind (which is also certainly the experience of those who fall prey to an adulteress.)

Pastor Steven Cole relates the sad saga of a pastor friend who experienced loss of vigor and how God used this tragedy to awaken him (Pastor Cole) to the dangers of sexual immorality. Cole writes that...

I was scared by the devastation wreaked in the life of a friend who was ruined by sexual sin. When I graduated from seminary, I checked out several ministry situations. One opportunity involved working as an associate with a man I’ll call Bob who is about eight years older than I. He had founded a thriving church in Southern California and needed help with the growing demands. I was attracted to working with him because he seemed to be a deeply spiritual man. He would often get away by himself for times of meditation and prayer. His family life seemed solid. He had been married for almost twenty years and had four children, the oldest in his teens. I thought I could learn a lot about ministry working with him. I finally decided to accept another pastorate which allowed me to preach regularly. About a year later, I had not heard from Bob, in spite of a letter or two on my part. When I mentioned it to a mutual friend, he said, “Haven’t you heard? Bob left his wife and family and moved in with a woman from his church.” I was dumbfounded! A few months later I was at a Francis Schaeffer conference. I rounded a corner in that crowd of over 2,000 and came face to face with Bob. His countenance reflected his agony. We went out for coffee and he recounted the whole mess to me. It had started when he and his wife went too far as teenagers. She got pregnant and they married under pressure. He had always harbored doubts in his mind as to whether she was God’s best for him. Satan used those thoughts as the crack to drive in his wedge—another woman who was “more attractive.” About three years later I saw Bob at another conference in another part of the state. He was there to counsel with one of the speakers, a well-known pastor. I’ll never forget the continuing look of devastation on his face. He looked haggard and much older. I hung the memory of his face in the gallery of my mind. I stop and gaze at it whenever I’m tempted to pursue the sin of lust. (Beloved, if you are a man you MUST read this pithy and powerful testimony on Winning the War Against Lust ) (Bolding added to emphasize the loss of "vigor" the fallen pastor experienced.)

Cruel one (0394) (akzar) is an adjective and means cruel or merciless as it relates to ruthless behavior of one to another. In one use akzar refers to the Day of the Lord, and there although the day is "cruel", it is a day of judgment which is deserved by Israel specifically and mankind in general. And even then in the midst of wrath, God will remember mercy (cp great harvest of souls in this time Rev 7:9, 14). There are 8 uses of akzar in the OT - Pr 5:9; 11:17; 12:10; 17:11; Is 13:9; Jer. 6:23; 30:14; 50:42. All uses in Proverbs...

(Prov 5:9) Or you will give your vigor to others And your years to the cruel one;

(Prov 11:17) The merciful man does himself good, But the cruel man does himself harm.

(Prov 12:10) A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.

(Prov 17:11) A rebellious man seeks only evil, So a cruel messenger will be sent against him.

Who is the cruel one? Some think this refers to the adulteress, "who though she pretends ardent love and kindness to thee, yet in truth is one of the most cruel creatures in the world, wasting thy estate and, body without the least pity, and then casting thee off with scorn. and contempt; and when her interest requires it, taking away thy very life, of which there are innumerable examples, and damning thy soul for ever." (Matthew Poole)

Others think that in context it could also be the husband of the adulteress woman. The German Common Language version translates it...

Otherwise you will be without honor and her cruel husband will kill you to get what you have acquired over many years.

Adam Clarke explains cruel one this way - Though all the blandishments of love dwell on the tongue, and the excess of fondness appear in the whole demeanor of the harlot and the prostitute; yet cruelty has its throne in their hearts; and they will rob and murder (when it appears to answer their ends) those who give their strength, their wealth, and their years to them. The unfaithful wife has often murdered her own husband for the sake of her paramour, and has given him over to justice in order to save herself. Murders have often taken place in brothels, as well as robberies; for the vice of prostitution is one of the parents of cruelty.

Warren Wiersbe writes that the man who fails to heed Solomon's advice "discovers that the woman's husband is a cruel man who demands that he pay for what he's done, so the adulterer ends up giving his strength to others and toiling away to pay his debt. Instead of luxury, the sinner has misery; instead of riches, poverty; instead of success, ruin; and instead of a good reputation, the name of an adulterer. He looks back and wishes he had listened to his parents and his spiritual instructors, but his wishes can't change his wretched situation. Yes, God in His grace will forgive his sins if he repents, but God in His government sees to it that he reaps what he sows.

Matthew Henry comments that...

The arguments which Solomon here uses to enforce this caution are taken from the same topic with those before, the many mischiefs which attend this sin.

[1.] It blasts the reputation. "Thou wilt give thy honour unto others (v. 9); thou wilt lose it thyself; thou wilt put into the hand of each of thy neighbours a stone to throw at thee, for they will all, with good reason, cry shame on thee, will despise thee, and trample on thee, as a foolish men." Whoredom is a sin that makes men contemptible and base, and no man of sense or virtue will care to keep company with one that keeps company with harlots.

[2.] It wastes the time, gives the years, the years of youth, the flower of men's time, unto the cruel, "that base lust of thine, which with the utmost cruelty wars against the soul, that base harlot which pretends an affection for thee, but really hunts for the precious life." Those years that should be given to the honour of a gracious God are spent in the service of a cruel sin.

George Lawson - Pr 5:9–11. A good name is better than precious ointment, but of a good name this abominable sin is the ruin. The credit of David and of Solomon was greatly sunk by it. By it has the honour of thousands been irrecoverably lost.

Life is a great blessing, and may be regarded as the foundation of every earthly blessing. But unclean persons part with every thing that renders life worthy of the name, and in a literal sense, they often give their years unto the cruel. Their lives are lost in the pursuit of this sin by the just vengeance of God, by its native consequences, or by the accidents to which it exposes those who practise it.

And for what are these years given away? Did men generously part with their lives in the defence of their country, or for the sake of a generous friend, the loss would be amply compensated by honour, and by the pleasure of a good conscience. But how infatuated are they who give their years unto the cruel, who conceal a selfish and malignant heart under the mask of love! All unlawful love is hatred, and all tempters to it are cruel enemies to our happiness. Shall we then gratify inhuman enemies, at the expense of honour and life, and every thing dear to us?

These false friends and malicious enemies rob you of your honour and life, with as much eagerness as if they could enjoy these precious blessings of which you are deprived. Their real views, however, are directed to your money or estate, and why should men give away the fruits of their own labour and toil? or if they wish to be rid of them, why should strangers be filled with them, rather than friends?

Some are so foolish, as to live in the lust of uncleanness, to save the necessary expences of a family. But observation, as well as Scripture, might convince them of their error. The followers of vice are often attacked by poverty, that comes upon them like an armed man; and how distressing is poverty to those who have indulged themselves in lewd courses, contracted insatiable desires after carnal pleasure, deprived themselves of their friends, and disqualified themselves for any business that might retrieve their circumstances, or supply their wants!

Poverty is still more distressing when it is attended by weakness and disease, the natural consequences which Providence has annexed to those courses by which men dishonour God and themselves.

When the body is tortured, and the spirits dejected by the loathsome distempers which sin brings in its train, their conscience, which was formerly trampled under foot, rises up and regains its power, and inflicts severe vengeance for the injuries it has received. Then, O profligate sinner! thou wilt mourn—(Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:10 And strangers will be filled with your strength and your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien;

  • Strangers - Pr 6:35; Hosea 7:9; Luke 15:30
  • Strength - Pr 31:3

Strength (03581)(koach) refers to strength, power, force, ability and conveys the basic meaning of the ability to do something. For example, the strength of Samson (who fell prey to the wiles of a strange woman) was in his long hair (Jdg 16:5). Koach in some contexts can convey the special sense of one's property, in the sense that the results of one abilities and/or the manifestation of one's strength often led to prosperity and riches. Other uses of koach in Proverbs are Pr 14:4, 20:29.

In context strength could refer to either one's ability in sense of one's power or could also refer to one's wealth. In a sense, both are adversely affected by sexual immorality.

Your hard-earned goods - Solomon's emphasizes the inestimable "cost" of sexual immorality. Blackmail in these situations is not uncommon and can deplete you of your hard earned goods! As has been well said the most expensive thing in the world is sin.

Proverbs 5:11 And you groan at your final end, when your flesh and your body are consumed;

  • Pr 7:23; Deut 32:29; Jer 5:31; Ro 6:21; Heb 13:4; Rev 21:8; 22:15
  • When - Nu 5:27; 1Co 5:4,5


Groan (05098) (naham) refers to the roar of a lion (Pr 28:15), but in this context it describes a deep moan or mournful sound uttered out of pain, sorrow, anguish or grief, for not having heeded the warnings against sexual immorality and now for having to pay the price of the various losses.

Next time you are tempted to gaze at a finely formed female with an attitude of lust, take that tempting thought captive (2Cor 10:3, 4, 5-see notes) and (enabled by divinely powerful weapons, including sufficient grace [Titus 2:11, 12 - note] and the Spirit of holiness, (cp Ro 8:13-note, Gal 5:16, 18, 25 - notes) replace that incendiary idea immediately with the thought that it will ultimately lead to deep groaning in light of the heavy cost. Why? Because it a promise that will be reaped "for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Heb 13:4-note)

'Gaming, Women and Wine,
While they laugh, they make a man pine.'

Naham - 5v - Usage: groan(2), growl(1), growls(1), roaring(1).

Proverbs 5:11 And you groan (Lxx = metamelomai = feel remorse, regret in future tense = predicts fate of this behavior) at your final end, When your flesh and your body are consumed;

Proverbs 28:15 Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

Isaiah 5:29 Its roaring is like a lioness, and it roars like young lions; It growls as it seizes the prey And carries it off with no one to deliver it. 30 And it will growl (Lxx = boao = cry aloud, shout)) over it in that day like the roaring of the sea. If one looks to the land, behold, there is darkness and distress; Even the light is darkened by its clouds.

Ezekiel 24:23 'Your turbans will be on your heads and your shoes on your feet. You will not mourn and you will not weep, but you will rot away in your iniquities and you will groan (Lxx = parakaleo - not sure of the sense of this usually positive word in this context) to one another.

At your final end - At the end of your life. As you look back over the wasted years and ruined lives strewn across the landscape wrought by sexual immorality, you can only groan with the Septuagint (LXX) conveying the sense of having remorse or regret!

Consumed (03615) (kalah) means to complete, accomplish. The Septuagint (LXX) translates this Hebrew word with a rare verb katatribo (kata = down or intensifies meaning of + tribo = rub, wear away, break in pieces) not even found in the NT (Only in Lxx -Deut 8:4; 29:4; Pr 5:11; Da 7:25) and literally means rubbed or pressed down (eg used of clothes that are worn out). In Proverbs 5:11, katatribo gives us the picture of a life which is worn out, consumed, exhausted, spent. It speaks of a life that has been squandered in the dregs of immorality. Little wonder this individual groans and regrets (next verse)

William MacDonald is quite graphic (but not inaccurate) observing that "The end of such a life is punctuated with a protracted groan, as the body is racked with gonorrhea, syphilis, blindness, locomotor ataxia, AIDS, and emotional disturbances. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Mary Whitehouse was correct when she concluded that "What a man or woman does with his or her sexual energy will decide not only the quality of their own lives, but the kind of world in which they live."

As Harold P. Wells said "sex involves the entire life and personality, and to misuse sex is to abuse oneself as well as one's partner.

Proverbs 5:12 And you say, "How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof!

  • Pr 1:7,22,29,30; 15:5; Psalms 50:17; 73:22; Zech 7:11, 12, 13, 14; Jn 3:19,20
  • My heart - Pr 1:25; 6:23; 12:1; 13:18; Ge 19:9; Ex 2:13,14; 2Chr 24:20, 21, 22; 25:16; 2Chr 33:10,11; 36:16; Je 44:4; Zech 1:4, 5, 6

Regret and remorse fill this man's memories for not having listened to Solomon's wise counsel in the area of sexual purity/impurity. Young man, young husband, father of four, elder, pastor, old man... imagine yourself for a moment in this man's position and let the Spirit of God burn the negative image into your cerebral cortex so that ever after you would rather die than fall into the pit of such moral decay and despondency!

Hated instruction...spurned reproof - Indeed, spiritual hindsight often gives us "20/20" vision. May God grant us mercy and grace to have such clarity of spiritual vision prospectively by reading and heeding His instruction manual, the Bible.

See word study on Discipline (instruction) (04148) musar

John MacArthur comments that "Involvement in illicit sex leads to loss of health, loss of possessions, and loss of honor and respect. Every person who continues in such sins does not necessarily suffer all of those losses, but those are the types of loss that persistent sexual sin produces. The sex indulger will come to discover that he has lost his "years to the cruel one," that his "hard-earned goods" have gone "to the house of an alien," and that he will "groan" in his latter years and find his "flesh and [his] body are consumed" (Pr 5:9, 10, 11). The "stolen water" of sexual relations outside of marriage "is sweet; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant"; but "the dead are there" (Pr 9:17, 18). Sexual sin is a "no win" situation. It is never profitable and always harmful. (Commentary on 1Corinthians)

Reproof (08433) (tokeha) is derived from yakach which denotes education and discipline as a result of God's judicial actions. This embraces all aspects of education from the conviction of the sinner to chastisement and punishment, from the instruction of the righteous by severe tests, to His direction by teaching and admonition. There are 28 uses of tokechah in the OT - 2 Ki. 19:3; Job 13:6; 23:4; Ps. 38:14; 39:11; 73:14; 149:7; Pr 1:23, 25, 30; 3:11; 5:12; 6:23; 10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:5, 10, 31, 32; 27:5; 29:1, 15; Is 37:3; Ezek. 5:15; 25:17; Hos. 5:9; Hab. 2:1

All uses in Proverbs...

(Prov 1:23) “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

(Prov 1:25) And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof;

(Prov 1:30) “They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof.

(Prov 3:11) My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof,

(Prov 5:12) And you say, “How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof!

(Prov 6:23) For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life

(Prov 10:17) He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

(Prov 12:1) Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.

(Prov 13:18) Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored.

(Prov 15:5) A fool rejects his father’s discipline, But he who regards reproof is sensible.

(Prov 15:10) Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die.

(Prov 15:31) He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise.

(Prov 15:32) He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.

(Prov 27:5) Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed.

(Prov 29:1) A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

(Prov 29:15) The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

The idea of reproof is to rebuke, correct, convince and/or convict not only implying exposure of one's sin but also calling one to repentance.

I love the first occurrence of tokechah in Proverbs

Proverbs 1:23 Turn to my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make my words known to you.

Matthew Henry has a lengthy note on Pr 1:23: The precept is plain: Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of the reproofs that are given us for that which is evil if we do not turn from it to that which is good; for for this end the reproof was given. Turn, that is, return to your right mind, turn to God, turn to your duty, turn and live.

The promises are very encouraging. Those that love simplicity find themselves under a moral impotency to change their own mind and way; they cannot turn by any power of their own. To this God answers, "Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you; set yourselves to do what you can, and the grace of God (Titus 2:11, 12-note) shall set in with you, and work in you both to will and to do (Php 2:12, 13, cp Heb 13:20, 21) that good which, without that grace, you could not do.'' Help thyself, and God will help thee; stretch forth thy withered hand, and Christ will strengthen and heal it.

{1.} The author of this grace is the Spirit, and that is promised: I will pour out my Spirit unto you, as oil, as water; you shall have the Spirit in abundance, rivers of living water, Jn 7:37, 38, 39, cp Jn 4:14.

{2.} The means of this grace is the Word (Word of grace, Acts 20:32, 24, 14:3, cp Titus 2:11, 12-note, 1Th 2:13-note, 1Pe 2:2-note, 2Ti 3:16,17-note), which, if we take it aright, will turn us; it is therefore promised, "I will make known my words unto you, not only speak them to you, but make them known, give you to understand them.'' (cp Jn 14:21, 23) Note, Special grace is necessary to a sincere conversion. But that grace shall never be denied to any that honestly seek it and submit to it.

Sadly Solomon records these words after the gracious offer of Pr 1:23 - Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; and you neglected all my counsel, and did not want my reproof 26 I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 When your dread comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you. 28 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer. They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me, 29 because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD (cp Job 1:1). 30 "They would not accept my counsel. They spurned all my reproof. 31 So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices. 32 For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them. 33 But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil. (Pr 1:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33-see commentary)

George Lawson - Pr 5:9–11. A good name is better than precious ointment, but of a good name this abominable sin is the ruin. The credit of David and of Solomon was greatly sunk by it. By it has the honour of thousands been irrecoverably lost.

Life is a great blessing, and may be regarded as the foundation of every earthly blessing. But unclean persons part with every thing that renders life worthy of the name, and in a literal sense, they often give their years unto the cruel. Their lives are lost in the pursuit of this sin by the just vengeance of God, by its native consequences, or by the accidents to which it exposes those who practise it.

And for what are these years given away? Did men generously part with their lives in the defence of their country, or for the sake of a generous friend, the loss would be amply compensated by honour, and by the pleasure of a good conscience. But how infatuated are they who give their years unto the cruel, who conceal a selfish and malignant heart under the mask of love! All unlawful love is hatred, and all tempters to it are cruel enemies to our happiness. Shall we then gratify inhuman enemies, at the expense of honour and life, and every thing dear to us?

These false friends and malicious enemies rob you of your honour and life, with as much eagerness as if they could enjoy these precious blessings of which you are deprived. Their real views, however, are directed to your money or estate, and why should men give away the fruits of their own labour and toil? or if they wish to be rid of them, why should strangers be filled with them, rather than friends?

Some are so foolish, as to live in the lust of uncleanness, to save the necessary expences of a family. But observation, as well as Scripture, might convince them of their error. The followers of vice are often attacked by poverty, that comes upon them like an armed man; and how distressing is poverty to those who have indulged themselves in lewd courses, contracted insatiable desires after carnal pleasure, deprived themselves of their friends, and disqualified themselves for any business that might retrieve their circumstances, or supply their wants!

Poverty is still more distressing when it is attended by weakness and disease, the natural consequences which Providence has annexed to those courses by which men dishonour God and themselves.

When the body is tortured, and the spirits dejected by the loathsome distempers which sin brings in its train, their conscience, which was formerly trampled under foot, rises up and regains its power, and inflicts severe vengeance for the injuries it has received. Then, O profligate sinner! thou wilt mourn—

Pr 5:12–14. Religion has received many testimonies in its favour from enemies, whose hearts have at last forced them to curse the day when they were so mad, as to turn a deaf ear to its friendly voice.

The word of God read and preached, is God’s appointed means of keeping or reclaiming men from sin, and in a Christian land the votaries of vice are rebels against the light. They are, to their own loss, fatally successful in fighting against that God who opposes their wickedness by the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, written by prophets and apostles, and preached by the ministers of God.

It is not in vain for ministers, and parents, and tutors, to use means for acquainting young persons with the Scripture, and imprinting it upon their hearts. The confession of profligates, when arrived at the end of their career, makes it evident, that if any thing would have proved effectual to preserve them from ruin, it would have been the instructions and reproofs of teachers. Such means have no doubt been the instruments of preserving many, and reclaiming some.

The confession of the wretch tortured by his conscience, is not introduced by the inspired sage as the humble confession of a penitent, who looks for pardon through the merits of Christ. How greatly are they deluded who think that misery can produce true repentance, or that sorrow pressed out of the soul by distress of body and anguish of conscience, are signs of real grace! Persons may cry out of their folly, and warn others, and beg others to pray for them; and yet, like Simon Magus, remain all the while in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.

Sinners who will not comply with the calls of God, may now make them the object of their scorn; but at the latter end, when conscience shall preach with a voice louder than any minister, sorrow shall be their inevitable portion. Then, in the breasts of desperate sinners, despised admonitions shall burn like raging fire. Then shall multitudes of iniquities, once overlooked, present themselves like so many dismal apparitions to the eyes of the sinner, and make him a terror to himself.

The pleasure derived from the present moment is nothing. Our enjoyment is derived from the recollection of the past, or from the prospect of what is to come. Sensualists cannot flatter themselves so grossly, as to fetch any pleasure from that part of life which they have already spent, but their hopes are ever on the wing to seize on anticipated pleasure. It frequently happens, that when their course is run, and hope can no longer be indulged, their attention is forced back on the scenes of life, through which they have already passed. When in this manner they are brought to recollect the numberless sins, to the commission of which their various dispositions have led them, and to forebode the punishments that await them, their souls are convulsed with remorse, and horror takes full possession of them: “Wretched creatures that we are! Our impetuous passions have hurried us into all wickednesses, those only excepted which our powers were too feeble and narrow to add to the rest. Would to God we had been brutes, or could yet have our portion with them, to be turned for ever into earth and rottenness! O that we had been heathens, and had never heard the gospel of Christ, and the law of the Most Holy! Our abominable iniquities are dreadfully aggravated by the opportunities we have had of being present in the assemblies of Zion, and receiving the instructions and reproofs of life. Instead of deriving benefit from the ordinances of God’s worship and the communion of saints, we have exposed ourselves to the reproach of the whole assembly of the pious. By our example we have grieved some, and caused others to stumble. Our hell must be heated seven times more than the hell of heathens!”

The words in the 14th verse may be translated, In a moment I am in all evil, &c. ‘I am suddenly punished with all the plagues threatened by the ministers of God, and made a spectacle of misery and horror to the whole congregation.’ It is an aggravation of that misery which is the fruit of a man’s own ways, when publicity is one of its attendant circumstances*.

They who will not believe the threatenings of God shall feel them. There are no free-thinkers in hell, and but few on a death-bed. How happy are they who are preserved by the grace of God from laying up treasures of wrath against the last days, and planting thorns to line their death-bed pillows!

To avoid uncleanness, let every man have his own wife, and let him love her as himself. This remedy against such a vice Solomon illustrates in a beautiful allegory. (Lawson's Exposition of Proverbs - Spurgeon said "A thoroughly sound and useful commentary. Lawson wrote popularly and vigorously.")

Proverbs 5:13 "I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to my instructors!

  • Luke 15:18; 1Th 4:8; 5:12,13; Heb 13:7

In context (Pr 5:12, 13), Solomon pictures the victim of his own insatiable cravings for sexual gratification expressing the grief of regret and remorse (cp 2Co 7:10 which contrast godly sorrow that leads to true repentance), even reproaching himself for not have listened to those who warned him to repent from his "sexual insanity".

This reminds me of the radical contrast between real repentance and simple remorse - "For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death." (2Cor 7:10)

Proverbs 5:14 "I was almost in utter ruin In the midst of the assembly and congregation ."

  • Pr 13:20; Nu 25:1-6; Hosea 4:11, 12, 13, 14; 1Co 10:6, 7, 8; 2Pe 2:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; Jude 1:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Utter (03605) (kol) means all, every, everything. It depicts the entirety of something, in this case the entirety of one's ruin! Woe!

Ruin (07451) (raah) describes evil with varying shades of meaning.

Utter ruin - This is another potential consequence of sexual immorality if one does not repent.

Ryrie feels that "The adulterer nearly lost his life as punishment for his sin (cf. Deut. 22:22)."

In the midst of the assembly - Solomon warns of the possibility that the man guilty of sexual immorality may experience public disgrace.

Pastors, elders, church leaders, men of godly reputation are at great risk of sexual immorality. The Puritan Richard Baxter writes...

Take heed to yourselves, because the tempter will more ply you with his temptations than other men. If you will be the leaders against the prince of darkness, he will spare you no further than God restraineth him... As wise and learned as you are, take heed to yourselves, lest he outwit you. The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler disputant... Take heed to yourselves, because there are many eyes upon you, and there will be many to observe your falls. (Baxter, Richard. The Reformed Pastor. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, reprinted, 1974. First published, 1656)

Comment: Read the sad saga of Pastor Steven Cole's ministerial friend name "Bob" - click here.