Proverbs 7:1-27 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. What is the scene described in Proverbs 7:6-10 (printed below?) What is a contemporary application of this scenario?

At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. (7) I noticed among the naïve, I observed among the young men, a youth who lacked sense. (8) Going down the street near her corner, he went in the direction of her house, (9) at twilight, in the evening, in the middle of the night, and in the darkness. (10) Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with a cunning heart. (Proverbs 7:6-10)

In Proverbs 7 the “eye witness camera” of Scripture shows us a “video” of a young man who goes out looking for trouble (verses 6-9). He passes through the streets near the home of an adulteress. He intentionally turns in the direction of her house. He passes that way in the twilight, the evening, the middle of the night. In contemporary terms: he is “hanging out” with men and women, guys and girls, who are “sexually active” (who engage in sexually immoral conduct); he is attending parties that feature a heavy emphasis on sexual activity; he is frequenting those night spots that feature immoral entertainment and guys and girls waiting to engage in sexually immoral conduct.

2. How is the adulterous woman described in verses 10-12 (printed below?)

Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with a cunning heart. (11) She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; (12) now she is in the streets, now in the public square, she lurks at every corner. (Proverbs 7:10-12)

The adulterous woman was “dressed like a prostitute” (dressed in a seductive, enticing way) with “a cunning (or, guarded) heart”—i.e.; she was devious, concealing her true intentions, not about to openly share her heart. She is further described as being “loud and defiant.” “Loud” (or, clamorous, turbulent) here means to be restless, discontented; as is evidenced by the fact that her feet do not remain in her own house. She is roaming the streets, looking for trouble (maybe she is neglected by her husband, note verse 19, where she tells the young man, “The man (her husband) is not at home; he has gone on a long journey.”) “Defiant” means to be resistant to authority; the Old Testament commentators, Keil & Delitzsch, render the Hebrew word, as “ungovernable.”

3. What does the adulterous woman testify to the young man in verses 13-14 (printed below?) What does this tell us about her view of religion?

So it was that she caught him and kissed him, and with a brazen face she said to him, (14) “I have my sacrifice of peace offerings with me, today I have fulfilled my vows.” (Proverbs 7:13-14)

According to verses 13b-14, with an expression of contemptuous boldness on her face, she explains that she has offered her sacrifices and paid her vows. The sacrifice of peace offerings was an expression of peace and fellowship between the worshiper and the Lord; but the adulteress interprets this as a peace to be sinfully exploited, a peace that leaves her free to practice sin without fear of retribution. God forbid that we should adopt her sinful reasoning and allow ourselves to view Christ’s saving sacrifice as a means of providing us with a license to practice safe sin!

4. What does the adulterous woman tell the gullible young man and how does she entice him? See Proverbs 7:15-18 (printed below)

Therefore, I came out to meet you. I was earnestly looking for you, and I have found you! (16) I have covered my bed with linens, with colorful linens from Egypt. (17) I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. (18) Come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning; let us enjoy ourselves with love! (Proverbs 7:15-18)

In verse 15 we learn that she tells this gullible young man that she has been looking especially for him: she makes him feel special, as though he were the special object of her desire. Verses 16-17 indicate that she entices the young man with a sensuous, romantic, exotic description of the bed they can share. She has spread upon her bed soft pillows and exquisite coverings imported from Egypt, and it is perfumed with sweet spices: there they can take their fill of love (literally, find ecstasy) “until the morning.” Note that the adulteress herself warns the young man that this is not a lasting love, but only a moment’s pleasure, it is only “until the morning.”

5. How does Proverbs 7:21-23 (printed below) describe the adulteress’s seduction and the young man’s response?

With her many persuasive words she causes him to yield; with her flattering lips she forces him along. (22) He follows her without question, like an ox going to the slaughter, or like a fool bound in chains goes to his appointed punishment—(23) until an arrow pierces his liver. He is like a bird darting into a snare; not realizing that it will cost him his life. (Proverbs 7:21-23)

Verse 21 reveals that “with her many persuasive words she causes (the Hebrew word has the meaning to stretch, to bend, to incline) him to yield; with her flattering lips she forces him along.” Note how the whole process of seduction picks up speed and intensity as it gets out of control: she begins by persuasively inclining the young man to commit immorality and eventually she forces him along. As verse 22 indicates, the young man is far from innocent, he allows himself to be swept along: He follows her without question, (i.e.; immediately, without resistance), “like an ox going to the slaughter.” This naïve young man is ignorant of his fate, “until an arrow pierces his liver” (verse 23).