Proverbs 7

In Proverbs 5 and 6 Solomon warns his son against adultery. He describes the evil woman, the adulteress, as deceptive and dangerous. While this is valid in a literal sense, it also serves as a general warning about the seductive nature of sin. In this chapter he continues his counsel about adultery, stressing the tactics used in temptation and how falling to them leads to death. The following chapter will return to the personification of wisdom as a woman, begging to be honored.
As in his previous lessons, Solomon begins Proverbs 7 with a plea to his "son," which may also be a reference to students. His request is that they pay close attention to his instruction and value his counsel highly. He commends valuing wisdom the way a man ought to cherish his own sister. This parallels other depictions of wisdom as a woman in this book (Proverbs 1:20–21; 4:7–9; 8:1–3). The passage makes yet another reference to adultery, and warns about "the adulteress." While the literal language cautions a man about a predatory woman, the principles apply to both sexes. Adultery is a common metaphor for all sin, as something which is tempting but leads to ruin (Proverbs 7:1–5).

Solomon's wisdom was based not only in God-given insights, but also in experience. The tale he relates in the rest of this chapter is one he claims to have seen from his own window. Most likely, this is a summation of many such events which Solomon observed during his lifetime. Those who lack sense are more easily led astray; likewise, those who fall to temptation often do so because they make unwise decisions (Proverbs 7:6–7).

The woman depicted here is aggressive and stalks the young man like a predator. She applies seductive clothing, surprise, flattery, boldness, and the promise of consequence-free sex. Using deliberate tactics, she wins the young man over and convinces him to engage in sin. These strategies are not only literal, when it comes to sexual temptation, they also echo the various ways other temptations present themselves. Being warned of such dangers helps us recognize and avoid them (Proverbs 7:8–21).

By succumbing to the adulteress' tricks, the reckless youth falls into a trap, like livestock being led to slaughter or a wild animal being snared by a hunter. Solomon warns his son—and, by extension, all men and women—that yielding to evil's temptation leads inevitably to death (Proverbs 7:22–27).

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